Utilising a PC on board brings important benefits not just for regular PC tasks such as email and web access but also for entertainment and navigation. The number one, compelling reason to add a PC to your boat’s navigation and communication system is amazing value. 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. Of course, a PC and chart plotting software can also be your only electronic navigation device, just integrated to the GPS and instruments via a simple NMEA interface.
A PC also offers more powerful functionality than a dedicated multi-function display with the ability to install software for lots of applications from navigation to entertainment, email communications, weather and internet connectivity. PCs are also up-datable as new applications become available.