4 Things to Consider When Buying a Boat Autopilot

With summer officially here, boating season kicks into high gear everywhere. If youíre a boat owner or a boating enthusiast, thereís nothing more exhilarating and exciting than hitting the open water for a relaxing time on the lake or sea. Whether youíre headed to your favorite spot for a day, or youíre making a weeklong trip out of it, having a boat equipped with the best features is a must. One thing that no boater wants to be without is a reliable boat autopilot to make your experience even more enjoyable.

Size Matters

Just as the size boats vary considerably, so do the size of your boat autopilot. The first thing to do before purchasing an autopilot is find out what the manufacturers recommendation is for your boat. The recommendations are usually accurate, but itís a good practice to go up one size from the recommendation. One reason for this is that when youíre all ready for action on the water, youíll have your boat loaded with your gear, causing increased displacing of water. Plus, the recommendation often considers steering under calm conditions. You want to be prepared for rougher water, so make sure you select a little larger size.

Picking the Right Drive Unit

Understand what type of steering is used for your boat will help you choose the drive unit that fits best. There are generally three types of drives youíll find: linear drive, rotary drive, and hydraulic drive. Linear drives are typically used for mechanically steered sailboats; rotary drives are found in chain and cable steering systems; and hydraulic drives, as the name would imply, are used in hydraulic steering systems. Knowing which of these is applicable to your boat will make it easy to choose the drive for your autopilot.

How Are You Going to Use Your Boat?

Selecting an autopilot also depends on what type of sailing and boating you plan on doing. If you plan on making longer journeys or doing coastal sailing, you should select a cockpit-mounted autopilot is best. On the other hand, a below-deck boat autopilot is most effective when it comes to blue water sailing or if you have a larger vessel.

Steering Column

Make sure you select a model with a stainless steel column and a self-lubricating beating. These will last longer than other types, especially if you plan on spending most of your time in saltwater.

If you canít wait to get out onto the water this season, visit our website more information to help enhance your experience.