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Choosing a Marine Autopilot

Are there times you would love to take your boat out, but wished you had extra help?
Don't stay docked for a lack of a crew.
Autopilots are self-navigating devices that will hold your boat on a set compass or GPS course to get you out on the water where you belong.

A marine autopilot is like a second pair of hands

A marine autopilot will steer your vessel, and unlike a human, will not get bored, distracted or fatigued.
Instead, it will hold a steady course while you tend to other tasks or just enjoy being on the water.

If you interface your autopilot with a GPS unit, it will even get to your target location faster and while using less fuel!
That?s because with precise GPS coordinates, the autopilot will be more accurate and make continual adjustments to stay on course.

Make sure the size is right!

The last thing you want is an autopilot that's too small to safely steer your boat.
Your boat's design, length, helm speed, and displacement will factor into what size autopilot you need.
Start with the manufacturer's recommendations for your boat and then tweak them according to how you use your vessel.

If your boat is typical, your displacement will increase by about 20% when it's fully loaded.
If that puts it close to the top of the manufacturer's recommendation, go up a size.
Those recommendations also generally assume calm water sailing.
You may want to plan for rougher water with a larger autopilot.
Remember, if you have trouble steering your boat so will an autopilot.
In that case, you'll definitely want a more powerful marine autopilot and may want to consider a below deck autopilot.
They're much more powerful and better at steering hard-to-handle and faster powerboats.

Above deck or below deck?

There's more to a sailboat autopilot system than just the display.
Most of them also include a compass, rudder feedback unit, and junction box.
On a small sailboat, you may simply not have room for an autopilot's components below deck.
In that case, an above deck installation is the solution.
However, a larger sailboat may need the power and control a below deck autopilot offers.

Choosing the right display and controls for your boat

Autopilot systems vary in response speed, display options, and features.
There are also a variety of control options for an autopilot.
We have wired and wireless remotes, smart controllers, and more.
You're sure to find a combination of features and controls that you'll love at Defender!

Marine Autopilots at Defender

Enjoy the convenience, safety, and fuel savings an autopilot offers.
We have a wide selection of autopilots and accessories from quality brands like:
  • B&G
  • ComNav
  • Furuno
  • Lowrance
  • Octopus
  • Raymarine
  • Simrad
  • Si-Tex

  • We've been marine outfitters since 1938, so we know a thing or two about boating.
    If you need a marine autopilot or anything else to help you get out on the water, you'll find it at Defender!