Coastal Sailing Electronic Equipment Musts

Do you know what is the most Coastal Sailing Electronic Equipment? Are you willing to know what gadgets in 2019 can enhance your coastal sailing quality? If yes, then you’re totally on the right page. Read on and utilize our electronic packing list to create your personal on-water arsenal right away.


Coastal Sailing Electronic Equipment Musts

Coastal Sailing Electronic Equipment Musts

Sailingyes is here to demonstrate the principles of choosing the right coastal sailing electronics. In this article, you’ll get a packing list for coastal sailing electronics.

What Is Coastal Sailing?

There are different ways of defining coastal cruising/sailing. However, the most popular description takes the distance of a vessel from the shore as a distinguishing element. According to this definition, a craft that is usually less than 25 miles away from land and is still visible to the naked eye on the land is performing coastal sailing.

Since you’re not far away from the coast during this navigation plan, it’s a must to select only the most necessary electronics, avoiding excessive stuffing. The following, therefore, is a list of coastal sailing electronics that you must have.

Coastal Navigating Electronic Necessities

  • Emergency Beacons:

PLBs or Personal Locator Beacon is a device that you must carry all the time while abroad. It’s best to place it inside or attach it to your PFD—or carry it in your pocket. It allows you to ask for help in case of emergency and/or facing a “man overboard” situation. Every individual on the deck must carry their own specific PLB.

Another type of Emergency Beacon for Boats is called EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon). This one safeguards the whole vessel and informs the rescue groups in case of a difficulty.

Although you’re under the protection of USCG during a coastal cruise or sail, it’s always necessary to be prepared for the worst. So, do not neglect to have PLBs ad EPIRBs onboard.


  • VHF Radio

This is one of the oldest telecommunication gadgets mariners utilize abroad. A VHF radio enables you to get in touch with the nearby vessels and vice versa. It’s also the most essential device to communicate with the USCG and get the info directly from them.

You can use a VHF radio to contact any vessel that is on the line-of-sight, the horizon. Since the Earth is spherical, you may not be able to communicate with crafts that are on the curved side of the sea. However, long antennas can increase the effective range of such devices and enable the mariners to get in touch even when off the line-of-sight.

  • Depth Sounder

Also being known as echo sounder, this device can show you the depth of water on which you’re navigating. It’s a vital tool as there are some shallow zones near the coastal areas which might cause hull damage if neglected. Having depth sounder permits the skipper to determine such zones in advance and avoid cruising near them.

  • Radar

It’s a device that uses signals to create a real-time map of the vessel’s surroundings. Adding a radar to a boat lets the captain have a general idea of what’s around the ship, what is expected to get closer, and even assume the weather conditions.

Proper radars give a bird’s-eye view, including the position of clouds and schools of fish near the ship/boat. A professional mariner then can employ this visual information and plan the finest route.

It’s a crucial coastal sailing electronics because there are lots of commercial or recreational crafts commuting in such a path. And detecting their position as well as the route will reduce the chance of collision.


  • AIS

Most large and commercial ships employ S-AIS systems, which is an Automatic Identification System using satellite information for detection procedures. However, it’s best to mount an AIS Class B to your small- to the mid-sized boat as it provides you with the initial detection services while being cost-effective.

Through this device, you get to know what type of vessels are surrounding yours and what is their current path and average speed. Some products offer an alarm system that lets the skipper know if another craft is as close as one mile or so.

  • Instrument System

This gadget creates a panel on which the skipper can see all the necessary data such as depth, wind, speed, water temperature, etc. Without it, you might constantly need to utilize various data collectors and collect the necessary info manually.

  • Networked MFD

A marine display is like a TV that shows all the ship/boat data. You can decide what is displayed on such screens and where they’re installed. Having it as a coastal sailing electronics lets you manage various statistics and process them immediately, in one place.

It doesn’t have to be one single screen on the helm. You may want to install a pair of them to split the information. One screen in such a case may be used for a function, like radar, while using another one for comparable systems.

  • Fishfinder

If your main purpose of coastal sailing is to fish, then, having a detector is essential. A Fishfinder basically employs the same technology as the depth sounder, sending signals back and forth—estimating the distance of items below the ship.

Utilizing such equipment makes the fishing and routing a cakewalk-like task. However, if you’re a recreational boater/fisher, it’s probably not necessary to install it as you’d not need to locate any school of fish.

Onboard Battery Charger

  • Onboard Battery Charger

This list is dedicated to showing you the most essential coastal sailing electronics. So, you cannot forget about the power each of these gadgets/devices requires to run proficiently. To provide all of them with enough running power, you must install an onboard battery charger.

Not having such equipment can leave you with an arsenal of dead electronics on the deck. So, estimate the overall electricity needed to run all the components of your vessel and buy a proper battery charger accordingly.

When doing so, bear in mind the bigger AMP number indicates faster charging in less time. So, a 15 AMP-per-bank battery charger is much more efficient than a 10 AMP one.

  • Satellite Weather

After subscribing, you get a real-time weather condition report through a satellite weather device. You may want to employ an OS application connected to the internet for such a purpose—and it’s fine—but satellites are much more accurate than anything else.

Moreover, it provides you with detailed information about the approaching rains, thunderstorms, etc. And this will come in handy when planning the route.

navegacion electronica

Things You Do NOT Need During Coastal Sailing

Being close to the shoreline means that you might not need some of the most advanced sailing electronics. Of course, it’s more of a matter of taste than anything else as more gadgets can mean more onboard comfort.

However, these are the stuff that you’d not crave when on a coastal sailing trip.

  • Auto-Helm (with a Remote Control)

Autopilot for a boat is similar to the one you may have seen on an airplane. So, the main reason for having such a device is to leave the craft on its own while the skipper is getting rest or engaging in various tasks. But since the coastal regions are full of repositioning vessels, it’s not a good idea to utilize an auto-helm system as it’s not a flawless technology.

On the other hand, it’s not a cost-effective tool and can add to the expenses—unnecessarily. Marine experts recommend having such a system to mariners who’re sailing solo on a bluewater route where the chance of collision is small.

  • SSB Radio

Unlike a VHF radio, this one enables the skipper to get in touch with the vessels in an ocean-sized range. So, you may only want them when going for offshore or bluewater sailing—not when being only 25 miles away from the shoreline.

It’s a practical device that can increase the communication range of your boat and let you employ AIS Class A systems. But considering the most essentials needs of coastal sailing in regards to electronics, this is not a must for you.

  • Multiple-Display Networked MFDs

Having more than two display screens on the helm sounds like a luxury idea when it comes to recreational small- or mid-sized boats. But hey, you’ll not need to see all the variables on the helm when being close to the shoreline as things are usually under control.

The main information a small- to mid-sized boat skipper requires can be displayed on one or two screens. So, more MFDs would only add to the expenses rather than making the skippering easier.

Satellite Messenger

  • Satellite Messenger

It’s a technology that makes back and forth messaging possible when a vessel is far away from any land. But are you going to need it near the shoreline where you can still call your friends/family using your phone? Uh-uh. It’s an unnecessary gadget for those who’re within the reach of USCG teams.

However, if you’re planning for bluewater or offshore sailing in the close future, having it is never a not-a-good-idea.

  • Cell Amplifier

Your phone will still operate as you’re just 25 miles away from the coat. So, having a cell amplifier to extend range out 30-50 miles from the nearest tower is just a waste of money. You’re better off without any additional cellular data or network provider/amplifier onboard while being that close to the coast.


Reference (s):

Sailing Fundamentals


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