Top 7 Handheld Marine GPS Devices for 2024: Your Ultimate Guide

Handheld Marine GPS Devices: For your upcoming excursion, are you looking for a portable marine GPS device? You’ve arrived at the ideal location.

The navigational aids used at sea have greatly improved since the invention of technology. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is one technological advancement in the marine industry that has revolutionized navigation. Even while traditional GPS units are linked to computers, technological advancements have produced the development of portable marine GPS units.

Numerous GPS manufacturing businesses produce and sell products like handheld marine GPS. However, there exist a select few highly skilled individuals that not only promote portable GPS navigators but also guarantee that these navigators surpass their technological counterparts in quality.

What are the purposes of Handheld Marine GPS Devices?

When at sea, having a GPS handheld gadget on hand is crucial for pinpoint location accuracy and emergencies.

Seafarers can navigate their vessels in both deep sea and coastal locations with the use of a marine GPS portable gadget. Additionally, because many GPS devices have a fish finder feature, it makes it possible for both commercial and recreational anglers to locate fish.

What are the top GPS portable gadgets available today? It is evident that Garmin devices are at the top of the list, but that is mainly because they are the industry leaders in this domain and produce dependable products.

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The benefits and drawbacks of Handheld Marine GPS Devices


  • Maps can be carried about in a portable device.
  • Your altitude is even known to you.
  • Using a handheld GPS is simple. It’s not necessary to be tech-savvy.
  • Assist you in improving your navigational abilities
  • Aids in emergencies and the avoidance of hazards.


  • These can occasionally be brittle and readily break when dropped.
  • Some need upkeep.
  • Occasionally, battery life can be a problem.
  • Costly gadgets

Key characteristics of a GPS device

  • Tracking in real time
  • Alerts related to trip history
  • Access Geo-fencing from anywhere at any time.
  • Accounts of past occurrences
  • Interface that is easy to use

The top 7 portable Handheld Marine GPS Devices

7 portable Handheld Marine GPS Devices
(Credit: Trakkit GPS)

1. The eTrex 20x from Garmin

With its eye-catching display and 240×320 pixels, the Garmin eTrex 20 x 65k ensures clear images even in bright daytime and inclement weather.

A really helpful extra feature is the preloaded base guide.

It has 3.7 GB of storage space, so you may organize your extra maps however you see fit. It is simple to discover, and the GLONASS support enables excellent accuracy and speedy finding in case of emergency.


  • Sunlight legible 240 x 320 pixels on screen
  • A respectable size with a microSD slot and internal capacity of up to 3.7 GB
  • pre-loaded general maps
  • Expectations for HotFix Satellites and support for GLONASS


  • Not every map’s intricacies are available.
  • Absence of instructions
  • Does not come with a spare SD card

2. The Inreach Explorer+ from Garmin

For those who enjoy adventures, like boaters and mountain dwellers, these portable GPS devices are essential. With the use of this potent gadget, users may determine their location, altitude, and other important information that’s helpful for wayfinding. With the global Iridium satellite feature of the Garmin Inreach Explorer+, two-way communication using content from almost anywhere in the globe is possible.

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The gadget has an original SOS function that may be used to send a message to a search and rescue monitoring center around-the-clock. Your loved ones can follow you using the unit. The free Earthmate program that comes with the gadget allows it to be connected to mobile phones, for example, as well as PCs. You can obtain outlines, maps, and aerial photos as a result.


  • Customers can stay in touch with their loved ones from anywhere thanks to the device’s Iridium satellite system affiliation, which provides general inclusion.
  • Just with scope and longitude, altitude is determined by a barometric altimeter.


  1. This present device will not be as useful outside of the US because the great bulk of the preloaded maps are based in the US.

3. The 64-st Garmin GPSMAP

The daylight Readable 2.6 display makes information easier to read without taking into account the time of day, amount of sunshine, or weather. Additionally, it has internal memory that allows you to keep a large number of maps without a microSD card in the device’s internal memory. Longer working hours are ensured by the dual battery architecture, which uses two batteries (you may change one while the gadget is operating) and smart notifications. It also has an accelerometer, temperature sensor, and altitude sensor.


  • 16 hours of battery life
  • The capacity to charge the gadget while it’s operating.
  • Membership in TOPO U.S. 100K + BirdsEye Satellite Imagery is free.
  • Bluetooth and wireless connectivity
  • Three-pivot compass equipped with barometer


  • Cost
  • A strong GSM cell phone signal is necessary for a remote association. An exhaustive handbook is missing.
    An occasional disruption of the GPS signal

4. GPSMAP 78sc from Garmin

If someone needs to keep an eye on their routes while surfing the ocean, this marine handheld unit is an absolute must-have. The device has a gorgeous 2.6-inch display with an implicit base guide and a highly affective GPS receiver. The 1.7 GB internal memory, information storing, and microSD card capacity are further noteworthy features.

When at sea, the GPSMAP 78sc is a very handy marine GPS tracker of good quality. This GPS tracker offers great benefits in terms of durability and quality.


  • The purpose of GPSMAP 78sc is to last longer. composed of sturdy and dependable materials
    Worth for the money
  • The majority of maritime GPS trackers available are somewhat expensive. However, the GPSMAP 78sc is priced in an inconspicuous range to accommodate all buyer classes’ budgets.
  • With a strong 1-year guarantee, the GPSMAP 78sc is supported. You can get the equipment fixed without paying extra by calling the seller if something goes wrong with it.


  • Some users had problems when attempting to use the device. Besides, that is not a problem. This little problem can be fixed with a little thought on your part.

5. GPSMAP 78S by Garmin

A 2.6-inch color display and a high-sensitivity GPS receiver are included in the Garmin GPSMAP 78S. This gadget is ideal for sailors as it floats on the sea in the event that it is overturned.

It is ideal for easy navigation because it has integrated BlueChart g2 U.S./Bahamas coastal maps with shorelines, depth contours, navaids, harbors, marinas, and more.

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  • Floats on the water
  • It is simple to add maps to a microSD card.
  • Able to wirelessly share your waypoints, tracks, routes, and geocaches with other users of compatible devices


  • Sometimes, vision can become fuzzy.
  • Reduced screen size Limited to US Maps

6. Garmin GPSMAP 86Sci

Despite being somewhat expensive, the Garmin GPS 86Sci is among the best maritime portable GPS units available. It is a floating, water-resistant gadget with a 3-inch sunlight-readable display.

It has two-way text messaging capabilities via the 100% global Iridium satellite network and is equipped with satellite communication.

GPSMAP 86Sci also includes a round-the-clock SOS service.


  • Excellent menu design; easy access to the highlights
  • Wonderful screen
  • Already-loaded charts
  • Internet access via wireless


  • Not compatible with standard mounting

7. GPSMAP 86i by Garmin

This high-end marine portable GPS unit has a 3-inch sunlight-readable display and an outstanding battery life. This floating, water-resistant gadget can send and receive text messages in both directions over the 100% worldwide Iridium satellite network.

With built-in inReach satellite innovation and additional support optionsĀ¹, GPSMAP 86i promotes global family communication.


  • Floating and water-safe design
  • Use the 100% global IridiumĀ® satellite system to stay in touch with two-way content information (satellite membership required).


  • Expensive

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