Boating & Marine Accessories

4 Steps Involved in Choosing a Compass

A magnetic compass is a critical piece of boating equipment. A properly installed compass can help to give a real-time reading on the direction headed.

Boat CompassGoing with the right compass for a motor-driven or sail boat can be a difficult process because of the wide-ranging choices in the market. Plus, this type of instrument should be seen as a must-have item of safety gear.

Here are four of the major issues to consider in the process of installing and adjusting the right compass:


A high-end compass should come from a reputable and established manufacturer. The best compasses rely on the latest engineering methods to ensure a dependable and accurate reading is possible at all times.

Mount Type

A compass is installed using one of several different types of mount systems. A preferred mount technique will relate to the set-up of the specific boat – which mostly relates to the space and layout of the piloting area. Common mount types include:

  • Bracket (easy to mount to the deck or dash area)
  • Flush (a space-saving option with its ability to recede into the dash)
  • Surface (similar in design to the flash unit, but rests on the surface of the dash area)
  • Dash (easy to mount in a vertical position)
  • Bulkhead (a practical choice to save space or avoid issues with interference)
  • Binnacle (comes complete with case and light-protecting lib)

Dial Type

  • Direct read – An easy to read dial like that direct read is intended to be read when in front and close to the eye level.
  • Flat card – A flat card dial makes it easy to read a compass that is flat on a deck or similar area.
  • Combi dial – A combi dial is a versatile option and makes it possible to read the compass in both a flat card and direct read, so able to permit reading of dial at any angle.


The size of compass dials can vary quite significantly from about 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Compass size is likely to match the size of the vessel and length of voyage. If planning to travel at greater distances, it benefits to have a large compass that is easy to read at regular intervals.

Compass size guidelines:

  • Motor-driven boat < 16-ft = 2 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat < 20-ft = 2.25 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat < 24-ft = 2.75 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat < 28-ft = 3 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat 25 to 34-ft = 3.75 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat 29 to 42-ft = 4.5 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat > 30-ft = 5-6 inch dial

Maintenance and Protection

A compass should be protected from long spells of exposure to direct sunlight when out of commission. Use the protective cover if applicable, to help minimize these issues. Also, to avoid issues with interference make sure to create a safe, non-magnetic environment that will not be disturbed by steel or iron items within close proximity.

Navigation & Electronics

Best Fish Finder: Get Serious About Fishfinders

Many features appear on the latest high-tech fish finders. Using a mounted or portable fish finder might well mean a fisherman catches a full complement of fish on the next angling trip or is unfortunate to arrive home empty-handed.

Fish Finder in Action

Wide-ranging in design, there is a great number of fish finders in the market with the cost-effective choices available with a ballpark figure of $125 to the top-rated fish finder marketed at $1000 or more. A feature-packed fish finder might be able to detect the whereabouts of the fish, but it will still need the skills of the angler to hook the fish and bring them to the surface.

In the process of shopping for the very latest in high-tech fish finders it makes complete sense to search for those that come complete with all features needed.

Here are some of the major types of fish finders:

Shore fishing

Even if you don’t fish from a Jon, Bass boat or Pontoon boat, you can still take full advantage of the fish finders from a shore-based location. Whether on ice or shore, a rod or wrist-mounted fish finder is highly effective at capturing the location of the fish species. If participating in ice fishing, a fish finder unit will need to be at a quality to penetrate many inches of thick and solid ice.

They are equally efficient when searching for bass or similar fish species in shallow bodies of water on a boat and you would prefer not to notify the fish of you presence. It is possible to maintain the vessel at a distance from the area of the fish by casting a line into the shallow waters to identify the fish and whereabouts via the rod-mounted fish finder.

Portable fishing

A portable fish finder is preferred if likely to be fishing from fish boat to fish boat. If you aren’t able to invest in a fish-ready bass or flats boat, you can use one of the portable fish finders which attach to a boat or kayak via suction or similar devices. A portable fish finder is perfect to mount to any vessel, irrespective if owned or rented.

A further quality aspect of the portable fish finder is the ability to remove from the vessel in times of non-use and store in a safe and secure place until required on the next fishing outing.

GPS fish finder unit

A dual-purpose fish finder / GPS unit is able to greatly advance on the basic functionality of the fixed and portable fish fishers. If you’re likely to be investing a significant amount of time offshore fishing, a high-tech GPS fish finder might be a highly advantageous piece of equipment. Similar to most GPS units, they are likely to be pre-installed with detailed maps of the local inland waters and satellite imagery of the area. Satellite imagery is ideal for sourcing local attractions and areas of importance, such as the marinas and campsites.

A GPS fish finder is likely to offer the ability to give real-time updates on the weather at sea which is highly desirable to avoid being caught up in stormy weather.

Transducers for fish finders

Getting the right transducers for the fish finder is highly desirable since it can have a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of this high-tech technology. If you are likely to be fishing the flats, rivers, lakes, etc for bass or similar fish species in the shallow bodies of water, the most desirable results are to be had with the single frequency transducers. But, if planning on fishing offshore, a transducer with dual frequency might be more desirable with its ability to identify fish in deep water.