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Best Marine GPS – Know Where You Are & Where You’re Going

Best Marine GPS

Knowing where you are going at sea is important, but knowing where you are is imperative. Having the best GPS will give you both!

Read next: Check out our review of the best Bilge PumpsUnderwater Boat Lights, and Marine Binoculars.

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Best Marine GPS - (Comparison Table)

Best Overall
Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional Transducer
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter
Humminbird 410230-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 Fish Finder, Black
Garmin GPSMAP 942xs, ClearVu and Traditional CHIRP Sonar with Mapping, 9", 010-01739-03
Best Budget
Garmin EchoMap+ 43cv, US LakeVu g3, GT20 Xdcr
Brand & Model
Garmin Striker 4 Marine GPS
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP
Garmin GPSMAP 840xs
Garmin Marine Echomap Chirp 43Cv
IPX Rating
7
7
7
7
7
Portable
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Display Size
8.89 cm (3.5 in)
6.6 cm (2.6 in)
12.7 cm (5 in)
20.32 cm (8 in)
11 cm (4.3 in)
Has Fish Finder
600 GPH
No
Yes
No
Yes
Weight
226 g (8 oz)
218 g (7.7 oz)
4.58 kg (10.1 lbs)
1.81 kg ( 4 lbs)
408 g (14.4 oz)
Best Overall
Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional Transducer
Brand & Model
Garmin Striker 4 Marine GPS
IPX Rating
7
Portable
Yes
Display Size
8.89 cm (3.5 in)
Has Fish Finder
600 GPH
Weight
226 g (8 oz)
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter
Brand & Model
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS
IPX Rating
7
Portable
Yes
Display Size
6.6 cm (2.6 in)
Has Fish Finder
No
Weight
218 g (7.7 oz)
Humminbird 410230-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 Fish Finder, Black
Brand & Model
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP
IPX Rating
7
Portable
No
Display Size
12.7 cm (5 in)
Has Fish Finder
Yes
Weight
4.58 kg (10.1 lbs)
Garmin GPSMAP 942xs, ClearVu and Traditional CHIRP Sonar with Mapping, 9", 010-01739-03
Brand & Model
Garmin GPSMAP 840xs
IPX Rating
7
Portable
No
Display Size
20.32 cm (8 in)
Has Fish Finder
No
Weight
1.81 kg ( 4 lbs)
Best Budget
Garmin EchoMap+ 43cv, US LakeVu g3, GT20 Xdcr
Brand & Model
Garmin Marine Echomap Chirp 43Cv
IPX Rating
7
Portable
Yes
Display Size
11 cm (4.3 in)
Has Fish Finder
Yes
Weight
408 g (14.4 oz)

Top Marine GPS

Best Marine GPS Overall 

Name: Garmin Striker 4 Marine GPS

The striker 4 may be small, but it’s packed with features. It is not only a top-quality GPS but has a fishfinder and CHIRP transducer.

As you would expect from Garmin, the unit has a quality and accurate GPS, capable of quickly syncing with satellites. Its waypoint screen allows you to easily capture positions and navigate towards them.

The CHIRP transducer is very detailed and provides sharp images of natural and manmade obstacles beneath you, not to mention fish.

  • Display Size: 8.89 cm (3.5 in)
  • Portable: Yes
  • Has Fish finder: Yes
  • IPX: 7
  • Weight:  226 g (8 oz)

What we like

  • Features both accurate GPS and CHIRP technologies.
  • Easy to read sonar and navigation
  • Very affordable considering its features.

What we don't like

  • It can be complicated to install.

Best Portable Marine GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 78sc

The Garmin GPSMap 78sc is perfect if you are looking for a high-performance GPS that is small enough to take where ever you go no matter what vessel you find yourself on. It is especially good for those mariners who work but also play on the water.

With a 3 axis, electronic compass and worldwide base map, this unit is suitable for any sea or ocean. The unit can share your data, GPS location and way points with your pal’s on the water which is not only handy but an added safety feature.

Another safety feature is its Man Overboard button. If an accident occurs, press the button and your position is locked in and you can navigate your way back.

The barometric pressure reader in the unit lets you track and monitor rising and falling pressures to help gauge incoming weather.

With WAAS and satellite prediction finding a signal is simple. The unit is totally waterproof and if dropped in the water accidentally it will float.

  • Display Size: 6.6 cm (2.6 in)
  • Portable: Yes
  • Has Fish finder: No
  • IPX: 7
  • Weight:  218 g (7.7 oz)

What we like

  • Accurate and fast performing Garmin GPS
  • Fully waterproof and can float.
  • Man overboard feature.

What we don't like

  • To add maps to this unit requires an extra cost.
  • The small screen means it can be difficult to read.

Best Marine GPS With Fish Finder

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP

The HELIX 5 not only features an incredibly accurate GPS but a transducer with both down and side imaging too. Its display is refreshingly large and easy to read.

It is easy to get lost in the features of the CHIRP transducer and fish-finding features of the HELIX 5, but the GPS is equally powerful, recording your position within a few feet no matter the conditions.

The HELIX 5 uses Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse (CHIRP) to map the ocean floor. The GPS navigation screen and Sonar images can be viewed side by side to give you an overall picture of your position.

The Screens can easily be flipped to Fish finding mode when required.

  • Display Size: 12.7 cm (5 in)
  • Portable: No
  • Has Fish finder: Yes
  • IPX: 7
  • Weight:  4.58 kg (10.1 lbs)

What we like

  • Powerful CHIRP transducer with a max depth of 2500 ft
  • Very accurate GPS
  • Large and clear display.
  • It has a built-in antenna so no need for extra cables.

What we don't like

  • There is no battery saving stand by mode.
  • The unit can take a bit of getting used to and is somewhat complicated to use.

Best Integrated Marine GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 840xs

The Garmin GPSMAP 840 is a mean piece of kit. It may not be anywhere approaching portable but its large 8 inch display is worth it!

It’s lack of portability give rise to other features you won’t find in other units like its 2 types of CHIRP technology used to provide amazing images above and below the waves.

The GPS is compatible with both the US GPS as well as GLONASS, meaning it can be used anywhere in the world and still give you pinpoint accuracy.

You can link your autopilot system up to the 840xs to allow handsfree navigation the will follow your waypoints in your GPS matrix. Garmin Radars can also be connected to the GPS.

  • Display Size: 20.32 cm (8 in)
  • Portable: No
  • Has Fish finder: Yes
  • IPX: 7
  • Weight:  1.81 kg ( 4 lbs)

What we like

  • Comes preloaded with lake and coastal maps
  • Compatible with US and GLONASS systems.
  • Garmin Radar can be connected

What we don't like

  • Quite expensive but worth the price.

Best Budget Marine GPS

Garmin Marine Echomap Chirp 43Cv

The Garmin Echomap Chirp 43CX is an improvement on the 43dv. It includes all the great features of the previous model and as well as an improved GPS system with Chartplotter that has a refresh rate of ⅕ second.

The low power consumption of the unit make it great fur use in RIBs, Rubber Ducks, dinghies and other small vessels that don’t have power systems.

The Echomap CHIRP sonar gives you a very detailed view of the ocean floor and enables you to easily see natural obstacles as well as wrecks not mentions fish. This is a surprisingly good feature given the price range the unit falls into.

  • Display Size: 11 cm (4.3 in) diagonal
  • Portable: No
  • Has Fish finder: Yes
  • IPX: 7
  • Weight:  408 g (14.4 oz)

What we like

  • Low power consumption
  • Has a CHIRP transducer included.

What we don't like

  • Can be hard to use at first

Buyer's Guide for Marine GPS

Having a GPS on board your vessel is not only useful for navigation but can be a lifesaver. A marine GPS is a unit that is suitable for use at sea and useable in and around saltwater.

Nowadays most GPS units are either compatible with or have with a transducer included. If you aren’t looking for a transducer, don’t be put off if a GPS comes with one supplied.

Portability

GPS is an expensive investment, so having a portable device makes sense. However having the convenience of portability along with all the modern features usually costs a lot, so be sure that your need for portability is really justified.

Display

It is true you don’t spend all day looking at a GPS screen, but when you do look at it you want the image to be crisp and clear, no matter the conditions. If you are planning to use your unit as a fishfinder too then the display size and quality is particularly important.

Waterproof

Just because a unit says its waterproof does not mean it is. The unit should indicate what level of IPX rating it is certified for. If you are considering using it for marine use it should be rated IPX 6 or higher.

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About the Author Brad Pickering-Dunn

Hey, I'm Brad - the founder and editor of Watercraft Watch. My love for boating is what prompted me to start WatercraftWatch.com – helping people find the right equipment and supplies so they can enjoy their time on the water. I hope you find the articles on the site useful, and share in my love for boating.

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