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Depth Gauge Alternative?


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My boat never came with a depth finder. For those of your guys running without one or theirs is broken, how do you limit the risk of prop strikes?

 

Does anyone know of any alternative method to determine depth other than a good lake map? Is there such a thing as a GPS based depth estimate that relies on GPS position and a lake map?

 

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I’ve never had one but I know the lake very well. If going into a shallow location I usually stick someone in the bow(we have clear water). 

But im sure you could buy just a cheap depth gauge. 

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Water depth alarm in computron occasionally works when it feels like it.  

 

I stay far enough out from shore when I'm not somewhere that I know very well.

Edited by Pra4sno
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water depth is something you learn  with the characteristics of the surrounding land and water will act different in shallow water  if your depending on a depth alarm  it's usually too late   know the area or slow down and look

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That's crazy that it wasn't standard on your boat.  Yes, you can get away with it if you know your lake very well (and at various water levels), but I personally wouldn't run without one.  It may not be a factor for you, but for a fraction of the price of a prop you can get a good depth finder.  A GPS map solution is probably considerably more expensive.

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I wouldn't run without one, unless I never went different places.

I recently installed one of these in a PWC.  Just glued the transducer to the hull inside, works well.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Humminbird-Hdr-650-Black-White-And-Chrome-Bezels/301854424552?epid=1819706472&hash=item4647ecfde8:g:6sYAAOSwv-ZaBKRB

 

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5 hours ago, MadMan said:

I wouldn't run without one, unless I never went different places.

I recently installed one of these in a PWC.  Just glued the transducer to the hull inside, works well.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Humminbird-Hdr-650-Black-White-And-Chrome-Bezels/301854424552?epid=1819706472&hash=item4647ecfde8:g:6sYAAOSwv-ZaBKRB

 

I have this one as well, it works pretty well. 

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A depth gauge is just a warning for the few seconds right before you hit. When we go to a new lake I study the lake maps and google earth. It’s not full proof but knowing the landmarks in relation to the lake really help. Theurer are great sites out there for lake maps too. Example of our lake below. As you can see there is lots of dangerous areas. 6 years boating with no depth gauge and never once hit bottom. We’ve visited many other lakes in the state as well  

http://www.fishmich.com/counties/oakland-lakes/white-lake.html

Edited by ahopkinsTXi
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Mariners use charts, not maps.  I know my lake real well, but in a questionable area I just poke my paddle into the lake to feel for the bottom.

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I use mine to make sure I have enough depth for hole shot. Unfortunately my depth finder stops functioning at 5’. It works as I use it, but it would be nice to know the actual depth.

I’ve seen the hummingbird gauge. How low of a depth does it read?

Edited by braindamage
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1 hour ago, electricjohn said:

Mariners use charts, not maps.  I know my lake real well, but in a questionable area I just poke my paddle into the lake to feel for the bottom.

Maps, charts whatever. Same thing for what we are using it for. We aren’t navigating across the Pacific by charts and stars prior to gps. 

Edited by ahopkinsTXi
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Nothing works all the time! At speed a depth finder will be to late in many situations. I am with the group that look at charts / maps if I have no good experience on a body of water.  I am use to sailing the grate lakes and know areas that you will be in water over 200' and find a small spear jetting up to one or two feet. So only a chart would help.  

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1 hour ago, braindamage said:

I use mine to make sure I have enough depth for hole shot. Unfortunately my depth finder stops functioning at 5’. It works as I use it, but it would be nice to know the actual depth.

I’ve seen the hummingbird gauge. How low of a depth does it read?

On my PWC, the Humminbird  goes down to 2', then starts flashing.  We go in the back water with it and have checked the depth with the calibrated paddle when it starts flashing, sure enough we're in 1' of water.

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6 hours ago, ahopkinsTXi said:

A depth gauge is just a warning for the few seconds right before you hit.

Which is exactly why I have one.  Those few seconds is when a good skipper stops and/or changes course BEFORE hitting bottom.

I get your point, but I think your statement presumes being up at speed.  I use mine in areas where I know it is getting shallow and I'm at idle speed; any depth alarms and I can immediately stop.  For me, the depth finder isn't likely to stop an accident, but will prevent simple prop damage.

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On ‎1‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 10:27 AM, ahopkinsTXi said:

Maps, charts whatever. Same thing for what we are using it for. We aren’t navigating across the Pacific by charts and stars prior to gps. 

I use sunstones like Ragnar Lothbrook from "The Vikings" to navigate.  Anyone can use a chart or a map but it takes a real he-man to rely on the sun.  Also , it helps to never lose sight of the boat ramp!

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