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    River boating - charts or GPS?-gctid362192

    Here's a newbie question - what does everyone carry for navigation? I have the latest charts for our river system, but I don't really want to take the big ole things on my little bowrider. On the other hand, I have been advised that "you don't need a GPS on the river". The paper charts cost me abouit $50. Electronic versions of the charts for my area of Canada cost $175.

    Just curious what y'all do?

    JB.

    #2
    For me it was charts here on the Mississippi to get acclimated. Either way, getting to know the body of water on a river is key. Too many moving pieces for charts or gps to truly know. Just remember that either one is just a snapshot of how things WERE. Not how they ARE.

    Comment


      #3
      JB,

      I don't know your area, but you may want to see if there are river only charts available. They are long and thin, and are river orientated, not north orientated. We call them Zip Charts, but I doubt that's a real name. The one I use for the CT River is

      http://www.ctdepstore.com/Connecticu...l-Chart-52.htm

      and it is 14" X 60". You flip over the area you are in and just keep flipping sheets.

      I always have a chart out no matter where I am. Lots more information on them then a lot of the electronics do. I also run a chartplotter. Though I know the river pretty well, if someone else is at the wheel, I just tell them to follow the channel on the plotter. Also good for when a fog rolls in. I have many waypoints plugged in, and I can run from one to the other to get me anywhere I need.

      I would not want a full Nav chart for river running either.

      Maybe someone who runs in your area knows of one.

      Dutch

      Comment


        #4
        The navionics app for iPad is pretty solid. I use it for the Mississippi and it works great

        Comment


          #5
          An iPad or iPhone makes a great navigation device for pretty cheap.

          A lot of the answer depends on the danger level for your river. Is it wide open, or are there shoals or rocks in random places? How well is it marked? Is it used by large vessels and are there shipping channels?

          You have to find the middle ground. Lots of people say that you don't need anything, and they end up being a statistic. Or maybe you are in a very safe and easy place to navigate.

          Study the charts, and see what they look like as far as hazards.

          Comment


            #6
            The binnacle will have a booth in moncton this weekend the have a good deal on a 5 inch standard horizon 180i . it has an internal anttenna had it in my 192 worked great

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Jamie, we are planning to attend, and will have a look for sure.

              jamie mac wrote:
              The binnacle will have a booth in moncton this weekend the have a good deal on a 5 inch standard horizon 180i . it has an internal anttenna had it in my 192 worked great
              Hey SwampNut, we are considering that, we do have a couple of iPads. Just have to buy a good app, then buy the maps, since they aren't free for this area. The river is pretty wide open in places, and is fairly well marked. There are no large vessels really, nor shipping channels. I am just not real familiar with it, and would rather have the navigation info as handy as possible.

              SwampNut wrote:
              An iPad or iPhone makes a great navigation device for pretty cheap.

              A lot of the answer depends on the danger level for your river. Is it wide open, or are there shoals or rocks in random places? How well is it marked? Is it used by large vessels and are there shipping channels?

              You have to find the middle ground. Lots of people say that you don't need anything, and they end up being a statistic. Or maybe you are in a very safe and easy place to navigate.

              Study the charts, and see what they look like as far as hazards.
              That's one I am looking at Impulse. I don't think they have a trial version, which scared me a little bit. Thanks for your recommendation on it, that will help.

              Impulse wrote:
              The navionics app for iPad is pretty solid. I use it for the Mississippi and it works great
              The charts I have are actually river charts, and are as you described, they just still seemed a little bulky and inconvenient for my little bowrider. I can see them getting wet/torn/damaged. Maybe I should consider cutting and laminating them.....

              Spinaxis wrote:
              JB,

              I don't know your area, but you may want to see if there are river only charts available. They are long and thin, and are river orientated, not north orientated. We call them Zip Charts, but I doubt that's a real name. The one I use for the CT River is

              http://www.ctdepstore.com/Connecticu...l-Chart-52.htm

              and it is 14" X 60". You flip over the area you are in and just keep flipping sheets.

              I always have a chart out no matter where I am. Lots more information on them then a lot of the electronics do. I also run a chartplotter. Though I know the river pretty well, if someone else is at the wheel, I just tell them to follow the channel on the plotter. Also good for when a fog rolls in. I have many waypoints plugged in, and I can run from one to the other to get me anywhere I need.

              I would not want a full Nav chart for river running either.

              Maybe someone who runs in your area knows of one.

              Dutch
              Good advice! There is no substitute for situational awareness, for sure. I agree getting to know the river is key, I just want to do so as safely as possible, with as much information as possible at my fingertips.

              Insteada wrote:
              For me it was charts here on the Mississippi to get acclimated. Either way, getting to know the body of water on a river is key. Too many moving pieces for charts or gps to truly know. Just remember that either one is just a snapshot of how things WERE. Not how they ARE.

              Comment


                #8
                [QUOTE]Johnny Bravo wrote:
                Here's a newbie question - what does everyone carry for navigation? I have the latest charts for our river system, but I don't really want to take the big ole things on my little bowrider. On the other hand, I have been advised that "you don't need a GPS on the river". The paper charts cost me abouit $50. Electronic versions of the charts for my area of Canada cost $175.

                Just curious what y'all do?

                JB.[/QUOTE do you have a depth ssounder valuable tool

                Comment


                  #9
                  I use charts and GPS myself.

                  I actually ahve 2 of the same charts, 1 is kept in the cockpit 1 in the cabin.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Johnny Bravo wrote:
                    The charts I have are actually river charts, and are as you described, they just still seemed a little bulky and inconvenient for my little bowrider. I can see them getting wet/torn/damaged. Maybe I should consider cutting and laminating them.....
                    This is what we did. We took the pool that we boat in out of the master chart and off to kinkos. $20 some bucks later we've got just our section laminated and bound. Then we put little velcro tabs on each of the pages so that it would stick together and not blow pages around. Works out quite well. The rest of the charts are in storage in the head in case we need it.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I boat in the California Delta mostly. I use a handheld GPS with charts (Garmin Colorado 400c). I see the electronic version to be superior to paper charts. As a backup, I carry a Lowrance iFinder H2O with Navionics Silver. If you can establish redundancy, definitely go for the GPS over paper charts. And yes, charts are a very good idea to have even in a river and even with a bowrider that has a shallow draft. There are probably shoals and other types of obstructions you want to be aware of.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I would say it entirely depends on the river, and on how much you boat on it.

                        When i lived on the Saint Lawrence, charts were MANDATORY. You could be 5 miles out near the mouth of Lake Ontario and there would be a 1 foot deep granite ledge just barely under the surface, despite looking for all the world like you were in open water.

                        My current boating arrangement had me splitting time between the Fox River here in Chicagoland and the Mississippi River. The Fox river, charts (what little there are) are COMPLETELY useless. Basically, stay in the middle, and if you aren't in the middle, you are at DEAD idle and trimmed up.

                        Same with the 'Sippi. You are either between the markers in the middle of the channel, or you are at idle speed "feeling" your way around. I have had a couple of surprises on the Upper Miss where it looked like I was in plenty of water, and then run smack into a sandbar below an island. Charts on the 'Sippi are of some more use than charts on the Fox, but the 'Sippi is still very unpredictable, and god help you if you venture off channel....
                        Matt Train
                        BOC Site Team
                        Chicagoland, IL

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks everyone for all this great information. It has certainly given me options, and a lot to consider. I am going to a boat show this weekend so I will definitely see what vendors have available and recommend for a chartplotter/GPS. I am also going to try the laminating/binding/velcro option for charts - that is a great idea!

                          Cheers all,

                          JB

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Johnny Bravo wrote:
                            Here's a newbie question - what does everyone carry for navigation? I have the latest charts for our river system, but I don't really want to take the big ole things on my little bowrider. On the other hand, I have been advised that "you don't need a GPS on the river". The paper charts cost me abouit $50. Electronic versions of the charts for my area of Canada cost $175.

                            Just curious what y'all do?

                            JB.
                            Hi Johnny, are you above or below the dam? I park at Mactaquac for the summers. Above the dam the water is shallow at 50feet. Below the dam I know it can go from 20 feet to 2 feet pretty quick in some areas.

                            I boat with both paper and GPS Charts. The paper will give you a good idea of where to be safe and where not to go at all. As far as getting lost is concerned...well, your either going up river or down

                            If you use the paper, just get them laminated and then you wont have to worry about them getting wet.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hey Grlittle, sorry for the late reply.....

                              We are below the dam, going to operate out of Oromocto hopefully, just because we want to tour a lot of the lower part of the river. I did notice that there is much deeper water above the dam, makes for a little more peace of mind I am sure.

                              We will likely use paper charts for this year, combined with a depth finder. Not so worried about getting lost, just nice knowing *exactly* where you are sometimes.

                              We will likely follow your advice and get our charts laminated. That seems to be the most suitable thing to do....

                              Thanks for your reply, if we get a chance to drop the boat above the dam, I will look you up.

                              Cheers,

                              JB

                              grlittle wrote:
                              Hi Johnny, are you above or below the dam? I park at Mactaquac for the summers. Above the dam the water is shallow at 50feet. Below the dam I know it can go from 20 feet to 2 feet pretty quick in some areas.

                              I boat with both paper and GPS Charts. The paper will give you a good idea of where to be safe and where not to go at all. As far as getting lost is concerned...well, your either going up river or down

                              If you use the paper, just get them laminated and then you wont have to worry about them getting wet.

                              Comment

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