Ocean-Ready Tech: The Top 7 Handheld Marine GPS Systems for the Year 2024

Discover the latest in marine technology with our curated list of the best handheld Marine GPS Systems for 2024. Whether you’re a sailor, fisherman, or adventurer, stay on course and explore the seas safely with these cutting-edge marine GPS devices.

The advent of technology has caused a vast improvement in navigation technology used at the sea. In the marine industry, one technological development that has led the way in navigation is the Global Positioning System (GPS). Even though conventional Marine GPS Systems are connected to computers, increase in the technology has led to the innovation of handheld marine GPS.

Many Marine GPS Systems manufacturing companies create and market such as portable marine GPS. However, then there are those few great ones that not only market a convenient GPS navigator but make sure that these navigators are the best amongst their technological peers.

What is a handheld marine GPS and what are its uses?

A GPS handheld device is very much needed at sea to locate your exact place and in events of some crisis.

A marine GPS handheld technology can help seafarers guide their ships in coastal parts as well as the high seas. It also lets both commercial and recreational fishermen to track and find fishes as many GPS devices some with fish finder feature.

So, what are the best GPS mobile devices in the market? You would see that Garmin devices are ruling the list, but that is also because they are the epitome of the field and make reliable devices you can rely on.

Pros and cons of marine handheld GPS 

Pros –

  • You can carry maps in a mobile device
  • You can even check your altitude
  • Handheld GPS is easy to utilize. You don’t need to be tech-savvy.
  • Help you enhance your tracking skills
  • Helps prevent dangers and in time of trouble.

Cons –

  • These are sometimes not rugged and can be damaged easily when dropped
  • Some require upkeep
  • Battery life can sometimes be an issue
  • Costly devices

Main Features of a GPS device

  • Realtime tracking
  • Trip records
  • Alerts
  • Anytime anywhere, access
  • Geo-fencing
  • Documenting of historical events
  • User-friendly interface

Mentioned in here some of best portable handheld marine GPS in the market today:

1. Garmin eTrex 20x

The epid Garmin eTrex 20 x 65k has 240×320 pixels with a great display that guarantees awesome pictures in direct daylight and stormy climate conditions.

The preloaded base rule book is an additional feature that is super useful.

It has 3.7 GB of capacity to hold your extra maps and sort out the maps any way you require. It is easy to find, and the GLONASS backing provides high-accuracy and fast find in any event of an emergency


  • Sunlight readable 240×320 pixels screen
  • A decent size (up to 4 GBs of internal memory + microSD opening)
  • Preloaded overall maps
  • HotFix Satellite expectation and GLONASS support


  • Not all subtleties of maps are accessible
  • Lack of manuals
  • Does not accompany an extra SD card
  • UPGRADED DISPLAY – Comes with a 2.2” 65K color sunglight worthy display giving increased resolution (240 x 320 pixels)
  • LOAD MORE MAPS – Large 3.7 GB of inside memory and microSD card slot enables you to load a variety of maps.
  • PRELOADED BASEMAP – Includes a global basemap with shaded relief. Show size:1.4 x 1.7 inches
  • KEEP YOUR FIX – With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-allowed GPS receiver, HotFix satellite modelling and GLONASS support, eTrex finds your position quickly and exaclty and maintains its location even in great cover and deep canyons
  • Included Components: Documentation

2. The Garmin Inreach Explorer+

These mobile GPS units are must to adventures such as boaters, mountain dweller etc. The data from this powerful device enables clients to decide their area, altitude, and great significant data that are valuable in wayfinding. The Garmin Inreach Explorer+ has international Iridium satellite inclusion, which lets 2-way informing utilizing content from virtually anywhere on the planet.

The device is enabled with an original SOS work. This can be activated to send message to round the clock search and rescue monitoring centre. The unit enables your family members to keep a track of you. The device can be combined with mobile phones, for example, mobile phones and PCs, making use of the Earthmate application, which comes free with the device. This lets you to download maps, outlines, also aerial pictures.

Pros –

  • The overall inclusion comes with the device’s Iridium satellite system association provides clients a chance to keep in contact with dear ones from anyplace.
  • A barometric altimeter figures out altitude just as scope and longitude.

Cons –

  • The vast majority of this present device’s preloaded maps are US-based so that it would not be as helpful outside of the nation.


  • 100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage allows for two way text messaging from any place on the planet (satellite subscription required)
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the round the clock search and rescue monitoring center
  • Track and share your ordinance with family and friends. Water rating: IPX7. Battery: Chargeable internal lithium ion
  • Pair with mobile tools using the free earthmate app to get access to downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA images and, color aerial imagery.

3. Garmin GPSMAP 64st

  • The daylight Readable 2.6 display allows with reading clear information, pay as little respect as possible to the hour of the day. Be it sunlight, and weather conditions. It also comes with internal memory to hold numerous maps in the internal memory of the device, without demanding a microSD card. The dual battery framework guarantees longer working days, utilizing two batteries where you can change one while the device is working and 

4. Garmin GPSMAP 78sc

This marine handheld device is an absolute demand have device for any individual who needs to control courses while surfing water. The unit incorporates a splendid 2.6-inch display having great high affectability GPS recipient and implicit basic guide. Other significant highlights are 1.7 GB internal memory, information gathering, and microSD card space.

A good quality marine GPS tracker, GPSMAP 78sc is super convenient when at sea. Great quality and sturdiness are excellent advantages provided by this GPS tracker.

5. Garmin GPSMAP 78S

The Garmin GPSMAP 78S brings with it a high sensitivity GPS receiver having a 2.6 inch color screen. This device floats in water in case gone overboard and thus is perfect for sailors.

With built-in BlueChart g2 U.S./Bahamas beach charts with shorelines, depth contours, navaids, docks, marinas, and more, it is a great part of smooth navigation.

6. Garmin GPSMAP 86Sci

The Garmin GPS 86Sci though a super pricey is one of the nicer marine handheld devices in the commerical area. It is a water-resistant and floating device, has a sunlight-readable 3-inch display.

Enabled with satellite communication, it brings with it two-way text messaging via the entirely Global Iridium satellite network.

It also comes with a round the clock SOS service.


  • Brilliant menu arrangement; quick access to highlights
  • Splendid screen


  • Doesn’t work with standard mounts
  • Water-resistant, floating make, sunlight-visible 3” display and button operation gives ease of use on the water
  • Stream boat data from the right kind of chartplotters and instruments to consolidate any and all marine system information
  • Preloaded bluechart G3 coastal diagrams include the best of Garmin also Navionics data
  • Stay in touch with in grasp satellite communication and two-way text messaging via the entirely Global Iridium satellite network (satellite subscription needed)
  • Functions as a remote control for grat operation of your Garmin autopilot and Fusion Marine goods.

7. Garmin GPSMAP 86i

This awesome marine handheld GPS device comes with 3″ sunlight-readable display along with very nice battery backup. It is a water-resistant and floating gadget with two-way text messaging usong the 100% Global Iridium satellite network.

With worked in inReach satellite technology and extra assistance options¹, GPSMAP 86i lets you to keep in contact with your loved ones universally.


  • Water-safe, floating make
  • Keep in contact with two-way constantly informing using the 100% international Iridium® satellite system (satellite membership needed)


  • Pricey
  • Water-resistant, floating make up, sunlight-visible 3” display. Also, it has a button operation provide ease of working on the water
  • Stream boat data from relevant chartplotters and instruments to consolidate the marine system information
  • Stay in touch from all over the world with in reach satellite connections and two-way text messge via the 100% Global Iridium satellite network
  • Works as a remote control for smooth operation of your Garmin autopilot also Fusion Marine products. This in order to activate, download free apps from our Connect IQ store
  • Works for optional bluechart G3 charts

Each of these great portable marine handheld GPS devices provide the ultimate user a great experience and features for a safe journey, unlike any other portable marine GPS.

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