Did you know you can now view the weather in real time on your GPS?
The Garmin GDL 30/30A can do just that. The GDL 30 receives XM WX Satellite Weather data, including animated NEXRAD weather radar and forecasts, current conditions, surface air pressure, visibility, precipitation, wind data, wave data, storm cell size, speed and direction and surface temperatures, for your boat’s current location or along a projected path. In addition, if you opt for the audio version (an additional couple of hundred dollars) you can plug the plotter directly to your on-board stereo and use as a XM Satellite radio receiver. The radio feed will be a paid service, so if you don’t want it, go with the unit without this feature and save your money.
It is a simple installation and will interface into an existing Garmin Network. But there is a caveat, you must have the Garmin system. If, however, you are thinking about updating, we would recommend the Garmin GPSMAP 3206 as a economical, but useful unit for using the weather module. Rugged, waterproof, and easy to install, these chartplotters come preloaded with Garmin’s detail-rich marine cartography utilizing BlueChart g2 technology. As with most electronics, price is hugely reliant on screen size. You could go for a larger screen, but that is also a larger price tag. For overhead electronic consoles (as shown below), the 6″ is perfect. If this unit will be a second GPS, the 6″ should work out fine both technically and financially.