Originally Posted by BC'er
The only electronics on the boat at present is a fish finder. The previous owner used a hand held GPS connected to an external antenna (no idea why). I happen to own the same GPS (Garmin 76CSx) and a have hand held VHF. Do you think they would suffice, or am I going to want a larger chartplotter and/or VHF w/DSC?
The GPS would do OK. On my small boat, I used basically the same unit (albeit with the monochrome screen) for day to day nav stuff. It worked fine, though the small screen was kind of hard to see when you get into rougher water.
The VHF is another story; I prefer having a fixed unit for the following reason: Handhelds are (as far as I am aware) limited to 5 watts transmitting power. Fixed units are generally 25 watts. If you need to scream for help,. more power is better, for obvious reasons.
I am running a Std Horizon PS-2000 (no longer made), and a Lowrance LMS-520C combo fishfinder/chartplotter. Works OK for me. I have a Garmin GPSMap-76 and a SH handheld VHF hiding in the console somewhere. Never had to use them in anger (though the GPS did come in handy when my antenna died.)
I am assuming I will also want a spare prop but I haven't yet delved into that world.
Not a bad idea. I am running a SS prop, but have an aluminum spare that gets put on when ab diving (the river we launch out of is quite shallow, and dragging through gravel or clipping rocks is pretty common.) The spare lives on the boat, along with a spare hardware kit, and tools to change them out.