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Types Of Marine Electronics For Your Fishing Boat

Author: Bullbuster Team

List Of Types Of Marine Electronics

If you have ever noticed, boats have a lot of marine electronics. There are a ton of wires that run down to the battery area of your boat. So what type of electronics are there for boats and what do they do?  Nowadays these electronics are getting more compact and advanced, but they still fall into a few different categories. 

1) VHF Radio

VHF Radio System

Your VHF radio is probably one of the most important pieces of marine electronics on your boat.  This piece of a equipment not only lets you listen get in on the local fishing report and participate talking with other boats, but it also will allow you to call in a may day if there is something going on.  Channel 16 on this radio is for "Mayday".  This is a very serious channel so this is not a channel to be chit chatting with your friends.  This channel is life or death. 

Marine VHF Antennas 

 Your radio will be connected to an antenna, which will give you a good signal to have more range. 

Below is a video that countdowns the top 10 marine Antennas for VHF radios. This video posted by FishFindly is a bit robotic but it breaks down all of the features of each antenna which is great for you if you are the type of person that likes to compare these details.

2) GPS (Chart Plotter) / Depth Sounder

A GPS is another important piece of marine electronics for your boat. Having a GPS/ Chart Plotter on your boat helps you to navigate using the latest marine chips. It also helps you to mark your fishing spots. Nowadays a GPS system is usually linked to a number of other systems that require sensors.  The most common one is a depth sounder which will require you get a transducer installed on your boat.  

Faruno Chartplotter
Notice this Faruno Charplotter has a split screen open right now. This screen allows you to navigate and to mark your depth which requires a transducer.

Below is a video posted by Youtuber Mike Shedly as part one on a series on how to properly read your depth sounder. It's a great series and if after watching this video you enjoyed it, then go ahead and watch the rest of the series.


A transducer is the piece of equipment that sends out the sound waves for your depth sounder. The transducer is usually mounted under your motor and chirps until the sound waves hit the bottom or fish along the way and bounce back. 

Frequency of sensor signals and the reading that's they are going to give you. Hi frequency waves give you better resolution but don't go as far while low frequency waves can give you a reading that is farther away.

Below is a video posted on YouTube by "Mike Schedly" he talks about frequency for your depth sounder and when to choose each one. He also  compares a regular frequency to chirp and what the advantages are.

3) Marine Radar

Marine radar is another sensor that can be connected to your Chartplotter/GPS system. This system gives you two important advantages. One you can see incoming systems like weather or a boat. The other thing is you can find schools of birds to help you find fish. 

Marine Radar

Below is a video posted on YouTube by Pacific Yacht Systems that talks a bit more about radar and its usage. One of the interesting points in the video is he says that you should be actively be using it when you dont need it so that you can have a better comfort level with it when you really do need it let's say in a foggy situation.

The video below posted on YouTube by "Overton" has a Garmin rep talk about their different radar systems and the advantages of different systems.

4) Side Scanning Sonar

Side Scanning Sonar- side scanning sonar has its own transducer. The job of the side scanning sonar, unlike the depth sounder is to send signals out to the sides of the boat whereas the depth sounder sends a signal straight down. With the side scanning sonar the captain sets the angle and the frequency. This helps the Captain to find schools of fish that their depth sounder is not picking up. While it is possible to have a side scanning sonar read our on your chart plotter, most offshore captains have a separate monitor often times a desktop computer monitor to display the read outs of this sensor.

Below is a video of a side scanning sonar in the bridge of the Tomahawk (a San Diego Tuna Fishing Boat). 

Below is a youtube video posted by "Humingbird" showing a side scanning sonar view on a hummingbird fish finder.  

5) Auto Pilot

Auto Pilot Systems

Auto pilot is an advanced system that works with your chart plotter to actually steer your boat.  This is an awesome setting if you are trolling or on a long trip, but make sure you still keep an eye out for debris and watch out in shallow waters if your boat has a deep draft. 

Below is a video from "Atlantic Marine" that shows you the installation of an auto pilot. In this video you can see how it works. Pretty cool huh?

6) FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared)

A FLIR system lets you see ahead at night. This is not cheap, but definitely can be worth it especially if you are coming into new areas at night. 

Below is a video put together by "Marine Max" that shows you a Raymarine FLIR system in action.

7) Audio Systems For Your Boat

Last but not least you want to listen to music on your boat right.  Below is a list of the top marine audio systems of 2020 posted on Youtube by "The Tech Mag".

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