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Recommended GPS Unit for Kayak



I am new to spearfishing and kayaking so community advice would be greatly appreciated:

I have a 15 foot Malibu Kayak Extreme and I know it's important to have a piece of equipment for course plotting for when the fog blows in and there is poor visibility to return to shore.

I do not fully understand the technology or which pieces of gear are best suited for a diving kayak.

1.  Is GPS and course plotting the same technology?

2.  Do I need a fish finder or just a GPS Unit?

3.  Do fish finders have GPS / course plotting technology?   I'm assuming certain models of fish finders have fish sonar, depth, course plotting and/or GPS.
Thank you!

I like the Garmin gpsmap 78 with the built in west coast map. I keep my gps and fishfinder seperate so I can bring the gps anywhere. Its also more convenient to review or upload marks with the handheld unit. I use both fishfinder and garmin on Ram mounts arms and can navigate in the fog pretty easy even with the small screen.

Welcome to the yak spearing community JR!

Adam has a rad set up. I used the Garmin GPS in his photo for the first time last weekend and it put us directly on a few way points we had marked. Easy to read and use! has a ton of info on kayak setups too if you're not already on that site.

As you're new to the madness, I'd recommend you taking a freediving course (If you're in the southern area, Bamboo Reef in Monterey has a PFI instructor that is awesome to dive with. Her name is Rebekah. If you're north, I'd hit up Parviz at Red Triangle Spearfishing to steer you in the right direction). You might also want to take a kayak safety course.

Where are you located? You're welcome to come dive with me if you're more south (I live in Pacific Grove). Lots of solid divers on NCUH so make sure to ask questions when you have them!

I live in Petaluma, so you're 100% right, I ought to speak with Parviz at RTS and his neighbors at Clavey Paddlesports. 
Below is a photo I borrowed from an online archive.
Seems like my kayak was manufactured in 2005 or 2006 but should work fine for hauling heavy loads (230 lbs + dive gear). 


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