Navigation with a PC for boats and yachts – an update

Back in July 2013, we published an update on using a PC for navigation and the do’s and don’ts.  You can read it HERE.

But… Technology moves on and there’s now an even more compelling reason to add a PC to your boat’s navigation and communication system and that is amazing value – none of us want to burn money but we also want the best in performance so read on to find out how!  There’s no doubt that a dedicated chart plotter is ideal for use at the helm where it needs to be waterproof and compact.  But below decks, a PC can offer big screen performance at a very attractive price compared to a dedicated large screen multi-function display.  It also offers more powerful functionality with the ability to install software  for lots of applications.


burning money

Any PC can easily integrate into a marine system using NMEA adaptors like the USB-NMEA product from Digital Yacht which allows connectivity to a GPS, instrument or AIS system – details HERE.  For around $60 you get boat NMEA navigation data into your PC (or MAC) and can choose from a variety of software apps to suit your needs.  But a normal note book or PC has a limited life expectancy on board.  Salty air especially with a fan that sucks air into the unit plus vibration guarantee an early funeral and that’s why Digital Yacht developed Adapt PCs – fanless, rugged and ultra low power consumption marine processors with the latest generation of Intel chips and super fast processing.  Just click on the image below to learn more


While hardware is an important element,the application (software in old speak) makes the system work and SmarterTrack 2015  electronic chart plotting software from Digital Yacht brings a new dimension with:

  • Navionic’s compatability – save your cartridge data onto the PC hard drive for chart sharing between PC and plotter – no extra charting costs.  Navionic’s is used by lots of the big brand of plotters like Lowrance, Raymarine, Simrad and B&G
  • The best AIS displays – colour coded targets and CPA and TCPA alarms
  • Waypoint and route transfer to a plotter
  • Animated weather overlays
  • Autopilot control
  • NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 integration and instruments displays
  • Super fast, easy operation plus lots, lots more

smarter track_opt

To find out more about using SmarterTrack on board, watch the videos below

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