Bare Minimum Electronics...?

Dinklimit

Yo Ho, Yo Ho a pirate's life for me...
Jun 25, 2012
295
27
Long Beach CA
Name
Chew Bear
Boat
The Black Pearl
Confused on boating basics...

Besides general and safety equipment like life jackets, first aid kit, mooring lines/ropes, anchor, gas etc...

What are the bare minimum electronics that a small boat needs in order to operate safely/effectively on the water for navigation and communication...?

From what I can gather/understand...all you need is a GPS unit / Chart Plotter (Navigation) and a UHF / VHF Radio (Communication)...correct...?

Therefore any other electronics or third party electrical equipment you decide to have on board...would be classified as a luxury item and/or recreational equipment and is not needed for proper basic boat functions...correct...?
 

Bigeasy

yeah, yeah!
Jun 18, 2008
1,542
285
Vallejo, CA
Name
Eric W.
Boat
Tunacious 238 Coastal Twin 150-E
not really! GPS tell you were you are at currently! It doesn't show the 700ft Container ship headed straight towards you in a dense fog with that low moan and sulfur spewing! Besides that, you are just about correct!
 

Cheech

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 11, 2008
378
215
Tustin, CA
Name
Jeff Cheechov
Boat
Skipjack 24FB, AD41P diesel
I would add a boat-mounted marine compass to your safety/nav gear list. If your plotter/GPS packs it in, a chart & compass and some common sense will get you back in the general zone. I would consider a depth sounder/FF a good investment. It can be a huge help when the fog rolls in. I can confirm that firsthand. :) And check your navigation lights.

Jeff
 
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Lundalakan

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 29, 2016
361
375
62
Socal, Poway
Name
Lou
Boat
Lund alaskan
Handheld waterproof vhf in addition to your mounted radio. And EPIRB is also a good idea if your going outside very far. If things go south quickly you'll wish you had them
 

Day0ne

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 24, 2004
980
390
73
Texas
Name
David
Boat
233 Formula Shadowdancer
"Sexton and a compass. Time to go very old school"

You want him to take a person who maintains church buildings along? Personally, I'd rather have a sextant.
 

Fisha

skipper
Aug 3, 2006
689
128
Orange
Name
Dave
Boat
24' sea ray flybridge, 12' w/outboard
GPS
VHF
Nav lights
FF/bottom sounder
Compass
Radar not necessary, but definitely preferred
 

gonzo25

GOT A BIG ONE
Nov 20, 2008
3,379
1,664
san diego calif. usa
Name
george
Boat
18' Invader CC 15' bayliner son of a beach
Just remember it doesn't matter what you have if you don't know how to use it. the compass and a chart should be on the top of the list, there is a reason all gps contain a statement, not to be relied upon for navigation . of course that's just my opinion
 
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Walker Inc.

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 24, 2013
2,857
6,517
Gig Harbor, WA
Name
Patrick Walker
Boat
33 ft. Coldwater Walkaround
Just remember it doesn't matter what you have if you don't know how to use it. the compass and a chart should be on the top of the list, there is a reason all gps contain a statement, not to be relied upon for navigation . of course that's just my opinion
Agree totally. A working compass, and more importantly an understanding of the area around you. What is a general heading to where you are going, the back azimuth to come home, predominant current direction to adjust heading home. A paper chart is essential. Try going fishing someday with out your electronics barring any fog. Can you safely get from point A to B and back? A VHF is essential. Most of the places I fish offshore have marginal cell service at best. I think the art of navigation is slowly being replaced by tablets, hold your hand electronics, apps and cellphones. It's all great until it doesn't work!
 
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drumford

gotta go babe!
Sep 20, 2010
2,471
565
C.M. CA
Name
Dondo
Boat
Cory's Rig
Ok. Quick quiz.
Leaving Sunset in HB to west end cat and
back. Compass only.
Your headings? Not your fishing spots!
Just to get there and back:♧
 

MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
3,450
3,204
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
Boat
Yes
It depends an awful lot on where you are going and the conditions. If you know the waters and won't leave sight of land, and won't fish at night or in fog (and are close enough to head in if the fog starts to roll in), then in my opinion you don't need anything more than a compass.

I hate to date myself, but about 40 years ago, when my boat was a 13-1/2 foot 35hp outboard powered modified v runabout, no one had gps and few had loran, and only "big" boats had room for radar. And I made it back and forth to Catalina numerous times. But I was cautious to avoid fog and rarely traveled at night.
 

Kwohlers8

Anchor Point
Dec 1, 2012
334
216
Fortuna CA
Name
Kris
Boat
25' Skipjack Fisherman "Anchor Point"
I'm gps and vhf heavy. Chart plotter, handheld gps, navionics on my phone and iPad. Two mobile vhf (icom and a link8) and a hand held icom for the ditch bag with an epirb. We have lots of fog here out of Humboldt, so radar is in the near future. Knowing how to use your compass and charts is essential even with the newest, latest and greatest electronics. I always keep a dry erase pen at the helm and use my windows as a note pad. Use it to write down your location every once and a while so you have an idea of where you are if your electronics go down.
 

Reel hip

Meet my "Well known Member"
Feb 19, 2008
4,876
1,539
60
San Diego
Name
Doug
Boat
25ft Skipjack fly
It depends an awful lot on where you are going and the conditions. If you know the waters and won't leave sight of land, and won't fish at night or in fog (and are close enough to head in if the fog starts to roll in), then in my opinion you don't need anything more than a compass.

I hate to date myself, but about 40 years ago, when my boat was a 13-1/2 foot 35hp outboard powered modified v runabout, no one had gps and few had loran, and only "big" boats had room for radar. And I made it back and forth to Catalina numerous times. But I was cautious to avoid fog and rarely traveled at night.
And I also dont want to date myself. (Unless the wife cant hear me and it's late at night) haha

The question the poster asks is really broad. I also went to San Clemente island with nothing but a compass. Back then my diving partner and I never knew anything else. We always made it there and back.

Would I do it now? No ! Why, when I have electronics!

In my youth fishing La Jolla I always would out run the fog. This comes from someone that has been on the water for years and have been caught in it and scared shit less by it. Thats why I have radar.
If the poster is only fishing local then limited is required but if he is running long then he needs it all.
 

Bigeasy

yeah, yeah!
Jun 18, 2008
1,542
285
Vallejo, CA
Name
Eric W.
Boat
Tunacious 238 Coastal Twin 150-E
Nor Cal can be socked in the fog for days and no wind!!!! It's fishing time, just have to figure how to get 30 miles out without getting run over by a container ship. Yes radar is a good thing even in the bay! It pops up in no time flat and you need to get home because the super bowl is coming on, but you can't cause you can't see crap and have no idea which way you are going and who's that coming towards you!
Paranoia turns into out right stupid shit! and a fish finder is a good thing! You can fish while waiting for the container ship to mow your ass down! 20 years ago in a 22 Bayrunner sitting in the middle of the damn shipping channel waiting for the inevitable! It's a miracle I'm still here! And the back problems from that tin can cost me a lot! rant over!
 
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hucklongfin

Deep release specialist
Jul 3, 2003
8,390
5,533
64
Mission Viejo
Name
MarkT
Boat
Blazer Bay 1860
A Navionics app on your phone and a compass app on your phone are good to have. Of course you have your electronics on the boat as a backup too!
 

sandiegosteve

Fish nerd
Feb 5, 2007
399
29
San Diego
Name
Steve
Boat
Lil' Defiance Pilothouse
Good information here. I'd add a horn. Fog does and will happen in southern cal. I've had it in the kelp beds and 30 miles out. You want to be heard when the pea soup comes in.

Emphasizing what others have said about the compass (very important), have the paper charts too. Not everyone knows Pt. Loma runs nearly due south. I've heard people guess that you just head east to go home... sure, you'll get to Ensenada.

Some may not consider working lights to be electronics, but I'll add those too. When I added Radar, my mast light was partially obscured, so I went higher and brighter with sealed LEDs. Went sealed LED for running lights too; have lasted a lot longer than any conventional lights and no noticeable battery drain. Never once complained that my lights work.

Last obvious point, learn how to use the stuff. A few beers sitting in the boat learning what the chart means, or how to plot a course to where you want to go can save you. And never plot a course to land. If you feel you need the waypoint on land, make it the skull and crossbones. Trying to go through rocks has taken lives. Electronics don't make you smarter.
 

rdrrm8e

Fucking Stan
Nov 19, 2003
6,632
2,033
116
Anaheim
bdoutdoors.com
Name
chuck
Boat
No
1n 1989.....who boy!!!.....I drove a 55' Hunter double headsail racing sloop from MDR to Honolulu. We had a compass, charts, a parallell ruler, a watch and a pencil.

Loran only worked twice a day and was not reliable to much less than a mile.

We nailed the Molokai channel first time. I will never forget that day. 22.7 knots in a monohull reaching for the Beejeezuz. Recently ( a few years back) I drove a 40 trawler from La Salinas to Cedros with the same tools. Everyone who goes to sea needs to have and know how to use the local charts for your area. Period
 

Steve Dee

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 5, 2015
234
54
San Diego
Name
Steve D
Boat
Grady White 180 - "Running with Scissors"
I used to go from San Diego to Catalina and back with just a compass back in the 70's and 80's. Not anymore.
 

MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
3,450
3,204
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
Boat
Yes
I used to go from San Diego to Catalina and back with just a compass back in the 70's and 80's. Not anymore.

Not any more because you have electronics or because you consider it to be too risky? Although I am a firm believer in using electronics to enhance safety, if I was at Catalina and lost all my electronics, leaving me only with a VHF, a compass and charts (which I wouldn't need anyway), I would not hesitate to cross back during daylight and decent weather.
 

Steve Dee

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 5, 2015
234
54
San Diego
Name
Steve D
Boat
Grady White 180 - "Running with Scissors"
Both. Now I have electronics. Back in the day I didn't even have VHF. But I always traveled in daylight and good weather.