In this day and age, you would be hard pressed to find a fishing boat without some sort of fish finding device. GPS devices have become the latest in technology and water safety when it comes to fishing. They are used as a means of navigation and a way to mark your spot so that you can find it again in the future.
A GPS is a Global Positioning System that is made primarily for navigational purposes. They work off a network of satellites that are placed into orbit by the United States Government. The best part about a GPS system is that because they operate off satellite, they can be used in any weather conditions at any hour of the day.
The satellites will circle the earth twice during the day and transmit signal information to Earth. The signals can then be used to calculate the user’s exact location by implementing triangulation and pinpointing exact spots. Triangulation means that the GPS receiver must be locked into three spots before a calculation of longitude and latitude can be displayed. After the satellites have mapped the location, the GPS can narrow in on other satellites for useful information such as speed, track, trip distance, destination distance and sunrise or sunset times.
The accuracy of the GPS system is very acute because of the multi-channel designs that are available. A GPS will lock onto a satellite and maintain that lock through one of their channels. A GPS fish finder is accurate up to fifteen meters while the newer models increase in accuracy up to three meters.
There are many benefits to investing in a GPS and people are using GPS more regularly and relying on them more than the more traditional ways of navigation such as maps and charts. If you have plot points that you have saved on a GPS, you may be able to save time and frustration on the open seas by going directly to the location that had the fish the last time you went out. Another advantage to the GPS is that it can detect hot fishing spots that may not be detected by older maps or charts. In addition, if you find a perfect fishing spot, you can share it with a friend when you go fishing on another boat.
GPS systems are also a great safety tool when you are out on the water. Many times, especially if there are many people socializing on a boat, it can be easy to lose concentration. People will easily be turned around or lost and a GPS is an easy tool to use to find your way back home. You can also use a GPS system if there is unexpected bad weather such as fog or heavy rain. GPS systems are also equipped with mapping software that makes it easier to find a dock. The GPS is so accurate that it is able to communicate exact positions to the Coast Guard or rescue crew if an emergency arises.
You can purchase a handheld GPS online or at your local marine or boating store. Ask a salesperson to help explain the different features and costs for the varying models. If you decide to purchase your boat from a dealer, you will need a built-in GPS. Your local boat supplier will be able to give you a reference to someone who can properly install your electronics.
You should never rely on just one navigation tool when you are fishing. A GPS seems to cover all of the bases, but it is still a computerized tool. You should always be proactive about your safety and always have marine maps and charts onboard at all times. You should also have a handheld radio handy in case of emergencies.