Garmin GXM 53 for Weather... worth it?

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Garmin GXM 53 for Weather... worth it?

Postby Eastside3 on Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:29 pm

I’m going to mainly be boating in the Puget Sound area. I’m curious who has the Garmin weather feature and to what degree you’ve found it helpful. I know some will rely on using their cell phones for weather information, and I admit it’s nice to have options that don’t require a monthly subscription. I’m not sure what the monthly amount is for the Puget Sound area of coverage that covers up into Canada a bit.
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Re: Garmin GXM 53 for Weather... worth it?

Postby knotflying on Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:19 am

I used XM weather when I used to fly. It was great. However, when boating I have found that free services available on my phone works well. The timeliness and accuracy required when flying are of utmost importance, with boating (IMO) not as much. If you don't care about the monthly fee and will feel safer then go for it. You won't be sorry you have it.
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Re: Garmin GXM 53 for Weather... worth it?

Postby Wee Venture on Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:49 pm

The only reason for getting the XM weather, IMO, is for when you are “off the grid” and cannot get access to the internet. That said, I installed the antenna myself and subscribed to the service a year ago after cruising up Princess Louisa Inlet for a few days and having no way of checking weather for our trip back. Not even VHF would work there. I have found the service to be marginally helpful. The wind vectors for inland waters (as opposed to offshore) are not particularly accurate or dialed in to local areas in my experience. If you have access to the internet, an app like Wind Alert is much more refined and helpful. The National Weather Service or Environment Canada weather summaries are a useful part of the XM service—but again, only if you cannot download them from the internet. When we were cruising in the Broughtons last summer, I was only successful about half the time when I tapped on the chart to get a local weather report. The othe half, it gave me a report for SE Alaska which was nowhere near my location. So I have to say I have not been overly impressed. The radio channels are nice though, which cost only a bit more after you pony up for the weather service.
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