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Seminar: Programming Your GPS

Presented by: Breakwater Marine Electronics and Angler Products

On March 16 th , we held a seminar, “Programming you GPS,” at Breakwater Marine Electronics in Webster (south of Houston ). Not really knowing what to expect, we met at Breakwater and were delighted to see that the facility not only had every marine electronic you could want, but that the facility seemed to be designed for this type of seminar – right there in the shop was a 42” plasma TV that was hooked into a GPS unit.

Most of us have a fear of pushing too many buttons on our GPS units and seem quite content to spend a minimum of $500 to follow a red line to get to and from places. But our GPS units offer so much more that can make our time on water easier.

The seminar presented the following:

- Customizing Your Unit

- Saving Your Track

- Keeping a Fishing Log Using Your GPS

- Determining Your Boats MPG

If you don't already own a GPS, we learned there are four main things to consider:

•  Ease of Use : If your unit is difficult to navigate and learn, you probably won't venture out to learn all of the features. You may want to visit a store like Breakwater Electronics that has the units plugged in and ready to “play with.”

•  Ease of Viewing : The prices of color screens have dropped considerably over the past 2 years. Again, you may want to visit a store and look at the quality of the screen from various angles and in various lighting conditions. And make sure to select a unit that's large enough for you to see while running a boat.

•  Ease of Data Transfer : Today's GPS Chartplotters do much more than simply help you navigate the bays and waterways. They are continually collecting valuable trip and waypoint information all the time you're running them. If your unit doesn't have the ability to connect to your computer, all of this information is pretty much useless.

•  Ease of Getting Support : Ask around about a manufacturer's reputation and customer service. When you make your purchase, register your unit so that the manufacturer can send you notice of updates, enhancements, and recalls. If you purchase the Marine Data Management kit, version upgrades are automatic.

Check the manufacturer's warranty and replacement services. Garmin has adopted a flat rate for unit replacements ($80 - $300, depending on the original cost of the unit) and will normally support products for up to 10 years.

And Breakwater doubles the manufacturer warranty, offers unlimited training, lifetime support, loaner equipment, and training DVDs / VHSs.

And if want to preload waypoints, visit www.anglerproducts.com . Capt. John has already done the work for you. For an average cost of $40, you can purchase a memory card with waypoints of known and published fishing spots that have been converted into a format that your GPS can use.

I'd like to thank Breakwater Marine Electronics ( www.breakwatermarine.com ) for offering their facility and staff to teach us about our GPS units. And a special thanks to Angler Products ( www.anglerproducts.com ).

- Patricia Drake, Cofounder / Pres. - Texas Lady Anglers

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