How Does a Boat Speedometer Work

How Does a Boat Speedometer Work?

The speedometer is one of the essential parts of a vehicle, whether it is a car or a boat. Vehicles appear to be incomplete without this particular feature, whereas it determines how fast or slow you are running on the way.

Having a speedo is absolutely necessary for assuring better safety in the water. Since boats consist of no rotational wheels, it could be challenging for you to determine the speed without a speedometer's assistance.

This entire write-up is about how does a boat speedometer work? As a boat owner, you should definitely know the types of speedo as well as how they all work in general.

What is a marine speedometer?

Simply required, a speedometer is a device that measures and displays the current speed of a vehicle or ship. Speedometers are now available in all motor vehicles and are common in most steering wheel-driven boats with a console display area.

However, the type of speedometer available on land-based vehicles is actually different for marine vessels or boats. The marine vehicle or boat always runs with the wind and current of the water. Sometimes the wind and the current of the water are in favor or against the boat's speed. As a result, the marine speedometer’s speed calculation is different from that of a land vehicle.

This may sound a bit nitpicky, but if you are sailing against a strong tide, the actual speed of a boat will be different from your speed through space because it will turn you back against the tide.

Several Types Of a marine speedometer

Towers4Boats revealed that you would find two different types of speedometers, including manual and GPS. Whether you already have a boat or are going to purchase a new, it's necessary to know the types so that you can guess which could be ideal for you.

How a Manual Speedo Works

The manual speedometer is one of the most common yet popular options among the boat owners as it shows how fast you are moving on the way of water. You will find the pressure gauge on the dashboard. It uses a pitot tube for estimating the boat's speed.

Basically, a pitot tube passes through the underside of your boat through a cable and sticks out in the water. This triangular-shaped tool travels along the surface of the river, ocean, or where you are boating. Water enters into the attached tube that is connected to the gauge as well.

The tube gets enough force through air and water, and the changes in pressure provide you a calculation of the speed of your boat. It means when you increase the speed, the pressure will occur, and the meter gauge will display a faster speed.

This is how manual speedo works. Long story short: it shows an estimate through the pressure of water that it gets while running your boat on the way of oceans.

How a GPS Speedo Works 

For those who are looking for a speedometer that offers 100% accurate results, the GPS speedo system could be the best option without a doubt.

The way of measuring the speed through a GPS speedo is quite different. Manual speedo takes assistance from water to provide the general idea of the speed of your boat. A GPS speedometer, on the other hand, measures speeds with the help of space.

It offers a basic idea of speed while you are moving on from one place to another; that's the reason why most people consider choosing this type instead of others.

Which do you Prefer Most Manual Speedo or GPS?

We’ve already covered it in good detail, so we won’t spend too much time on it. You have to decide whether you want to carry a manual- or GPS-based speedometer on your boat.

There is no limited choice, yet it depends on your skill. If you are somebody who is familiar with older boats and used to with it, you can pick out the one that consists of manual speed.

One the other side, if you are very new in the field of boat riding and also need an accurate result, you can choose the GPS speedometer, which is hands down, the masterpiece when it comes to accuracy!

As we mentioned, GPS models are more accurate, but if you have already cut holes in your boat for a manual speedometer, it may be appropriate to replace it. However, modern GPS units are incredibly accurate, and their sleek, stylish look is enough to overwhelm you.

Alternative Methods to determine the speed

Alongside the two most popular speedometers, you will find a few alternative ways to determine your boat's speed. Some boat owners consider going with the electromagnetic speedo that relies on a magnetic field, ignited engine, and cable to give an accurate speedometer reading. Also, you can invest in a handheld GPS to get the perfect result with ease.

A couple of users want to go with the phone application to determine the speed, but it is unable to provide you the 100% accurate result, unluckily!

The Final Cut

This was a short yet efficient guide on how does a boat speedometer works? There is a lot of things that you need to know while you purchase a boat. Knowing about the speedo is as necessary as other factors since it could reduce the chance of unexpected accidents and enhance safety while running on the way of oceans.

Make sure to have a safe ride, and if you find something wrong in your speedo, go for repairing as soon as possible!

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