Garmin Marine GPS and Product Buyer’s Guide

by Caribou Betty

Whether you are own a large expensive yacht or a small little bass boat being out on the water is an enjoyable activity shared by millions of people. However, just like everything else, having the right tools to promote safety and help make the time you spend on the water more interesting only adds to your enjoyment. That is why Garmin has developed a line of Marine GPS/Chartplotters and other products to help meet your own individual needs.

See All Garmin Marine GPS and Products Deals

Because the people at Garmin know that each individual is….well an individual, they have worked hard at developing a line of products that will meet each individuals needs. While having so many products to choose from is certainly beneficial it does make finding the right Marine GPS or other product a bit overwhelming. This guide will help make finding the right Garmin Marine product for you much easier.

Garmin Marine GPS and Products: The Basics

Having a little basic information about how Garmin Marine products will make finding the product you are looking for easier and faster, here is some information we thought you should know right up front. First, Garmin offers a number of products for those who love the water including GPS/Chartplotters, both those that attach to your boat and handheld models, Fishfinders, and Radar, They also offer autopilots, cameras and more.

If you are looking for the mounted GPS/chartplotters you will find them under GPSMAPS, Fishfinders will be found under the Echo series and Radar can be found under the GMR heading.


The GPS/Chartplotters are divided up into series that run from basic budget chartplotters with small screen to high end pieces of equipment with all the bells and whistles and extra large screens that perform some phenomenal functions. Some GPS/Chartplotters come with built in sounders (fishfinders) and these are easy to spot because they will be marked by lower cases after the model number. For example: GPSMAP 421s.

The chartplotter is an electronic navigational system that actually combines a GPS system with the ability to display charts which allows to visually monitor your boats current position as well as where it has been and where it is headed in relation to the boat’s physical surroundings. This allows you to explore further from shore without the worry of getting lost and not being able to find your way back. Fishermen love these chartplotters as when they find that fish honey spot they can easily return again and again with their own navigational map to guide them.

Series of GPS/chartplotters are as follows:

GPSMAP 401 series– This is the most basic of the Garmin marine GPS devices and features a 4” color display screen, external/internal antenna, easy to use interface, and satellite enhanced base map, This series also accepts blueChart g2 vision cards that will increase the functionality of these chartplotters. Prices start at around $330.00

GPSMAP 501 series-This series has basically the same features as the 401 series with the exception that it features a 5” color display screen. Prices start at around $530.00 – See Garmin 541s

GPSMAP 506 series– Is basically the same as the 501 series, but with a faster processor. Still has the 5 inch screen and prices start around 730.00.

GPSMAP 700 series-This chartplotter series offers a 7” LCD color touch screen, as well as world wide base map. Fast speeds for faster charter and panning. Prices start at around $1000.00. – See Garmin 740s

GPSMAP 600 series– Designed to be used on the road or in the water the 600 series offers a 5.2 inch screen It comes with mounts for both the car and boat and with maps for both land and water. This portable GPS performs beautifully on both. Prices start at around $640.00.

GPSMAP 4000 series-This series comes with three size screen options, 8”, 10” and 12”. Its high-speed processor draws maps quickly. You can also connect this GPS to the Garmin network and add both sonar and radar. It also offers you video input and output options. Prices start in the mid-1900.00 range.

GPSMAP 4200-series-Includes preloaded BlueChart g2 maps, with data that shows shaded depth contours, ports, shipwrecks, restricted areas as well as tide and current information. Connect to the Garmin Marine network and you also get sonar, radar and weather. Screen sizes run 8.4,” 10.4” and 12.1” Prices begin at around $2250.00.

GPSMAP 5000 series-This series comes with 3 different screen sizes 8.4” 12.1” and an incredibly large 15” includes flush mounts and bail mount, GPS 17 with pole mount adapter, power cable, video cable assembly, marine grommet kit, protective front cover, owner’s manual and installation instructions. You can also connect to the Garmin Marine network and get sonar, radar and weather radio. Prices start at around $2550.00

GPSMAP 5200 series-Features in this series include: multifunctional touchscreen displays with a flat panel work, designed to withstand the worst temperatures and weather. Simpler interface and several other new and exciting functions. Screen sizes depending on the model run 8.4” 12.1” and 15 inches. Prices start at around $2800.00

GPSMAP 6000 series– The GPSMAP 6000/7000 comes with motion technology, instant map revisions, fast map panning and zooming, a variety of touch screens, variety of mounting options. Screen sizes for the 6000 series are 8.4” and 12.1” and prices start at around $2900.00

GPSMAP 7000 series-The 7000 series has every the 6000 series has with the exception that you have the option of a 15” screen as well as a 12.1.” Should you choose the 15” inch screen you can also get PC monitor input and output as well as having the option of going with a wireless remote and mouse. Prices for the 7000 series start at around $5000.00.

Other Garmin Marine Products

Fishfinders: The Echo Series

Garmin makes a line of standalone fishfinders that run from extremely basic grayscale models to top of the line full color displays. Every model in this series uses Garmin’s own HD-ID to help you spot those fish as well as well as see other structures as well as the contour bottom of the water. Prices for these fishfinders start at around $120.00.

Radar-Garmin also has a line of radar equipment that runs from budget models to high end models as well.

For those looking for a cheaper way to find their way around on the water, you may want to try Garmins handheld marine GPS devices.

Garmin offers many other marine products as well as a variety of software applications that allows you create your own unique tools for on the water.

Features and Products Offered By Garmin Marine

Chartplotters- Garmins chartplotter is an electronic navigational device that takes GPS tracking to the next level by combining it with the ability to display charts that show the exact position where you are as well as where you have been in relationship to your actual physical surroundings.

Sounders- Sounders are high functioning fish finders that allow you to locate fish inside of wrecks and logs. Now you can find those fish wherever they hide.

Fishfinder- a fishfinder is a piece of sonar equipment that alerts you to fish and other objects under water. It also shows you the contour of the bottom of the water.

Handhelds-Handhelds are GPS/chartplotters that are completely portable and less expensive than those larger mounted models.

Radar- Garmins RADAR sends out radio waves that alerts you to any objects in your path should you be out on the water in foggy conditions or in the dark helping you to reach port or your dock safely.

Autopilots- autopilots steer the boat for you once you set a course, allowing you do other things. Garmins autopilot quickly disables the moment your turn the wheel leaving in control.

Communications-Garmin’s communication plugin is a free internet plug in that allows you to transfer data between your GPS and your computer.

Weather Solutions-One of the Garmin Marine Network functions, weather solutions provides you with an extra margin of safety on the water by allowing you to learn about developing storms before they are upon you.

Cameras- These marine cameras connect to your chartplotter and perform the function of an extra pair of eyes. It provides extra safety when boating.

Transducers- Transducers are specialized equipment that turns one form of energy into another. These pieces of equipment are what turns those sonar and radar waves into pictures of things on your chartplotter screen.

Apps- Garmin has many software available for your Garmin marine products that you can increase their functionality to meet your needs.

Hopefully this guide will give you a better understanding of Garmins Marine GPS and products and what features you want to look for to increase your safety on the water, and help you to locate those fish.


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