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i am looking for a reasonable handheld chartplotter to use offshore. i am limited on space in my boat, too many electronics already mounted ! does anyone have any affordable suggestions on some to look at? also i need a reliable mapping program to load in it and need to know which map program to buy. i fish up to 50 to 60 miles out in the gulf.
 
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How much do you want to spend? I have a very nice Garmin 3210 that I will sell! Shoot me a pm if interested! Garmin, Furuno, and Raymarine are all good choices! Most all newer units have the ability to read cards like SD cards. Very easy to get going.
 

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My .02 worth. Handheld units are good for a backup. A smaller fixed mount unit would be better. Running a boat while looking at a handheld is tricky. The screen is too small. I carry both on my boat. I would suggest Garmin for ease of use. For mapping software, Garmin uses Mapsource. Load the disk on your computer. Enter your waypoints on your computer, attach the gps via usb connection and download maps and waypoints to the unit. Much faster than entering waypoints on the gps itself. If your gps bites the dust, your waypoints are safe at home. Get an external hard drive and back up your data on it as an extra safety net.
 
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