Garmin OnDeck, potential aplenty with room for improvement

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

6 Responses

  1. Ryan Daniel says:

    Good write Ben, I have also had an Ondeck on my boat since Nov 2020 and have many similar observations. Naming the tiles (sensor inputs) is really a key gap and i doubt very difficult to fix. Another key point is the current geolocation minimum circle is currently way too large to use for ‘Anchor drag”, and would be simple to fix from the 304ft diameter , to say 30ft dia or similar. They could also just add another alert “rule” to achieve this. On boat monitoring via iphone connected to boats wifi is also key but based on my testing this does not work. There are many places in the PNW that cell phone connections from Ondeck to tower, and tower to iphone are not possible…and this would be good for “anchor drag” while sleeping onboard. Ondeck acts as the wifi router master, so when you turn your MFD/instruments off at anchor to save power, the iphone/active captain does not work over Ondeck wifi alone (with MFD OFF). Again, I think pretty easy to fix but they have not done that yet…and there is great potential to improve the live aboard utility in low/no LTE areas, and at anchor.

  2. Ron says:

    Thanks Ben. I too have the OnDeck on my Duffy35. I decided to go with OnDeck as I have Garmin on my boat and wanted everything to stay in that ecosystems. But….they need to make it better. You pointed out that same things I have observed. I would hope they would get going on this.

  3. Steve says:

    This is the best and most detailed Garmin OnDeck review I have been able to find. Garmin seems to give the product only minimal marketing support. I was eager to learn more at the 2022 Seattle boat show and found nothing at a very busy Garmin booth. It seems that the best way to learn about the product is to buy it first. This article goes a long way to helping me in my purchase decision. Thank you!

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Well, I’m thinking that the “holy grail of boat monitoring” can also include general use internet access using the same cell and wifi router, but with your own cell service SIM, which is what Raymarine is going for:

  5. Marvin says:

    You hit on the same things I’ve discovered in my new install experience. I think I went into it too naive—assuming a simple plug into the Empirbus would do the trick and give me access to everything flowing through the network of data. .Alas, it’s not that simple. And the cost is significant for what it does provides, particularly when you factor in the subscription portion too. I had higher hopes.

  6. Sven says:

    Today we came to the conclusion that the easy way Garmin could increase the value of the OnDeck would be if it relieved the need to swap our phone from our internet connection to the boat network to do updates. Raymarine lets its chartplotters download over WiFi without a phone. Downloading everything to the phone, then switching networks to the Garmin network to then wait to transfer the data again is feeling a bit dated in 2022.

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