What Is The Best Handheld GPS for Marine Use?

What Is The Best Handheld GPS for Marine Use - Merchant Navy Info - News

If you’re a navigator, an adventurer, or a lover of the sea, listen up! Have you ever been stuck in the vast ocean and longed for a reliable, portable GPS guide to get you back on track? Say no more! We take you on a journey through the oceans of marine electronics through a comparative analysis of the best portable marine GPS. From pinpoint precision to rugged durability, we explore what separates the good from the truly great. So buckle up, plot your course,  navigate the digital waves, and find your perfect companion at sea. Let’s start the journey!

Expert Insight: 

Why you can trust our marine GPS reviews At Trakkit GPS, we provide our readers with accurate and reliable information about GPS technology. For this reason, we ensure that our experts possess certain important qualities that contribute to the quality of their reviews.

Extensive Field Experience: 

Our experts have years of experience in this field and are, therefore, well-versed in understanding the complex nuances. We offer the best GPS trackers, marine GPS chart plotters, saltwater fish finders, and other portable GPS technology.

Comprehensive Product Knowledge: 

Our expert reviewers have a deep understanding of a variety of technology products, allowing us to analyze each product in detail and make recommendations based on their experience.

Rigorous Testing Process: 

Every product we evaluate undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its performance, durability, and reliability.

Unbiased Reviews: 

The reviews we publish are completely unbiased. Our goal is to provide honest reviews that our readers can trust. When evaluating products, we also consider customer feedback and experiences to provide a comprehensive overview of each product’s performance.

Commitment To Quality: 

At the heart of everything we do is an unwavering commitment to excellence. We maintain the highest standards and continually strive to provide valuable, comprehensive, and trustworthy reviews to help our readers make informed purchasing decisions. With these principles in mind, let’s explore the basic principles of the best marine GPS handhelds. Next, we’ll thoroughly analyse the top five options currently on the market.

Marine GPS Decoding: 

Navigation Using the Basics The Marine GPS handheld device is a compact, portable tool designed to help users navigate ocean waters with accurate satellite signals. These devices receive signals from satellite networks, allowing them to provide accurate and up-to-date location information. To learn more about  GPS features, see 

How GPS works

Marine GPS handheld devices provide more than just location information. It offers a wide range of important features for marine enthusiasts. These features include but are not limited to: 

Electronic Mapping: 

This feature allows users to access a detailed electronic map that visually represents their current location and surroundings. It can prove especially valuable when navigating uncharted waters.

Marking waypoints: 

This feature allows users to mark specific locations and set them as waypoints to facilitate navigation back to those locations.

Track Recording: 

users can conveniently record their travel routes using this feature, making it easier to track their steps when needed.

Weather Information Updates: 

Many portable marine GPS devices are equipped with weather forecasting capabilities, providing users with real-time updates on weather conditions and potential hazards. Considering these features, a portable marine GPS is very useful for boating and fishing trips. Additionally, advances in wearable technology have led to the emergence of GPS watches with map display capabilities that include map drawing capabilities.

Navigation Challenges: 

Understanding the Limitations of Marine GPS  Although portable GPS devices have a variety of features and benefits, there are some limitations that you should consider.

Screen size: 

Due to their compact size, portable marine GPS devices often have small screens. Therefore, this can be difficult if you are trying to display complex maps or charts.

Battery Life: 

Another problem is that these devices have limited battery life due to their compact design. If you use it frequently or travel for long periods of time, you may need access to additional batteries or power sources.


Portable marine GPS devices are generally accurate, but their accuracy can be affected by atmospheric conditions, satellite visibility, and obstructions. Despite its limitations, portable marine GPS units with maps remain essential tools for marine activities. Now, let’s look at the important aspects that you need to consider when making a purchase.

Introducing the Top Marine GPS Models Garmin 


The  Garmin 79s sets a high standard for marine GPS devices. Its robust features and user-friendly design provide a clear and crisp display with a screen resolution of 240 x 400. Key features include a buoyancy design that provides safety in the event of accidentally falling overboard.

The  GPSMAP 79 utilizes multiple satellite constellations, including GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, and SBAS, to ensure accurate and reliable global navigation capabilities. This device can store and monitor up to 10,000 waypoints, demonstrating its outstanding storage capacity. A built-in 3-axis  electronic compass with tilt correction and barometric altimeter also provides valuable information about bearing and pressure changes. The Garmin 79s combines innovative technology with practical design to be a reliable and versatile tool for marine activities.

Performance and Overall Experience: 

The GPSMAP 79 is a valuable companion for your marine adventures. Achieve consistent and accurate tracking even in difficult conditions. The high-resolution display is clear even in sunlight, and the rugged construction is durable enough to withstand impacts. The intuitive interface allows for easy navigation. Additionally, the buoyant design increases safety during underwater activities. Although the manual provides more details, the GPSMAP 79s is a reliable and versatile tool for portable marine navigation.

Features tested: 

  1. Floatable design 
  2. High-resolution display 
  3. Precise tracking 
  4. Generous memory capacity 
  5. Chart plotting 

Garmin GPSMAP 86SC, Floating Handheld GPS Check 

Garmin GPSMAP 86SC offers a wide range of features. The floating design ensures that the device remains afloat, reducing the risk of loss during marine activities. The 3-inch display is easy to read in sunlight and provides accurate, detailed images even in bright lighting conditions. Preloaded with BlueChart G3 coast maps, this device combines the best of Garmin and Navionics data to provide comprehensive and accurate navigation information. 

Additionally, you can stream your boat’s data from a compatible chartplotter and integrate marine system information for a more effective marine experience. Robust construction and intuitive button operation exude reliability at first glance, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Performance and Overall Experience: 

The  GPSMAP 86SC provides accurate real-time location data, even in difficult ocean conditions. Its high-sensitivity receiver ensures strong signal reception for reliable navigation. The built-in rechargeable lithium battery provides an incredible run time of up to 50 hours, making it ideal for long trips on the water. The Garmin 86SC provides an integrated view of marine system information by streaming data from compatible chart plotters. Overall, the GPSMAP 86SC is a reliable companion with a robust design, intuitive operation, and a wide range of features for marine activities.

Tested Features: 

  1. Garmin Autopilot 
  2. Remote Control Features 
  3. Chartplotter Data Streaming 
  4. BlueChart G3 Chart Usage 
  5. Battery Life Garmin GPSMAP 86i, Handheld Floating  GPS.
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