I knew that I was going to overhaul my dashboard as part of my ski boat restoration. But whey would you want a devise like a GPS Chart Plotter / Fish finder that's generally used by fisherman? Well, for a couple of reasons. 1. The GPS part can make navigating your lake or unfamiliar lakes much better. Even if you know your lake like the back of your hand...the chart plotter can be a huge help navigating at night. More on that later. 2. Everyone want to know how deep the water is at any given place on the lake. Isn't better to know what the bottom actually looks like and see if it's rising up at a good clip, or if there's something down there that you don't want to run over in the future?
With these thoughts in mind, I decided to put a Lowrance GPS Fishfinder into my dash. Many of these devices come with a pedestal so you can mount them pretty much anywhere. But I wanted to flush mount mine in the dash and I had room to do it. My available space was the primary factor in choosing the model that I did. You can find both landscape and portrait models, then pick what'll work you.
I chose the Lowrance Hook 4, because of it's portrait orientation, and footprint.
In the first pic you can see the unit plus the transducer. The unit itself was about $250 and the flush mount bracket was another $29.
In the pics you can see where I planned to place it. There was an existing panel that contained all of the relevant slalom course times. This is an older three event AWSA tournament certified ski boat. I wanted to preserve that panel so I replicated it in HPDE then wrapped it with 3M carbon fiber sheets.
Once I had the unit mounted in my new dash plate, we had to set up the transducer. I don't have a good picture of this, but it is bedded in epoxy inside the hull. I chose to put it there and let it shoot through the hull as apposed to hang something else off the back of my transom. This can be tricky, but thankfully, my cousin and I got it bedded properly on the first try. I had had no issues with it. The views of the bottom of the lake are clear. The only downside to shooting it though the hull is that the water temp gauge will not read accurately.
I've had this in my boat for 2 seasons now and I can say that I'm thrilled with it. If only I knew how to leverage more of the features of the device itself. We go to the fireworks every year on the 4th of July, and I was able to use the track plotter to mark my route on the way there in the daylight. Then going home, I just had to follow my own navigation bread crumbs. Made it easy to avoid shallow spots and obstructions that are hard to see in the dark.