By Ben Ellison
I can still vividly recall using my first GPS, a Garmin 45, to successfully negotiate a delivery to New York Harbor in fog that was so thick we couldn’t see the Verrazano Narrows Bridge even as we steamed underneath it! Experiences like that made GPS, and Garmin. The 45 still works ten years later, but its output seems as antiquated as a sextant’s compared to the 60C’s amazing versatility. The handheld’s reasonably bright, 2.6-inch transflective screen can plot my vessel on Garmin’s own full-detail BlueCharts (whose coverage was recently extended), track an island trail on a topo, or deliver automated turn-by-turn street routing. It has an 8-MB basemap plus 56 MB of internal storage, accessible via a fast USB PC interface and included routing software. The $482 60C is waterproof, runs 30 hours on two AA batteries, and even includes a few games. Garmin has also introduced the $535 76C, which has similar features in a buttons-above-screen case with 5 MB of extra marine basemap and double the chart storage. Users of Garmin fixed plotters who burn their own chart cards could set up either handheld as a fully redundant backup. Users of pre-programmed BlueChart cards might consider the larger, $746 276C portable—yet another new model—which accepts them.
This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.