A recent addition to Garmin’s range is a series of touchscreen plotters whose size and price slot them neatly into the significant gap between five-inch GPSMap 600 series, whose prices start at about $1,000, and the 8.4-inch GPSMap 5008, which has a list price of $2,899.
At $1,499.99, the GPSMAP 740 (right) is pre-loaded with navigation-quality charts for all U.S. coastal areas, including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Bahamas. For those operating outside the United States (or who already have Garmin cartography), the same plotter, called the GPSMAP 720, is available with only a base map, instead of detailed charts, for $1,399.99. Sonar versions of either model are available for $200 more than non-sonar versions and incorporate a built-in 1-kW sonar with a maximum range of 2,000 feet.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the new plotters, though, is that they all include a standard radar port that allows them to display images produced by any Garmin radar scanner—which must make them amongst the smallest radar displays on the market. The new units can also receive and display XM weather data and offer full NMEA 2000 connectivity, so if your boat has the necessary NMEA2000 sensors and “backbone,” you can monitor engine, fuel, autopilot, weather, and other onboard sensor data.
The new plotters also incorporate an SD card reader, allowing them to accept BlueChart G2 Vision chart cards, which provide access to functions such as auto guidance, three-dimensional imaging, and a growing database of aerial reference photos.
Garmin (800) 525-6726. www.garmin.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.