6 Best Sailboat Depth Finders

Best Sailboat Depth Finders | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

When sailing, a depth finder is a must-have accessory if you want to enjoy yourself without worrying about hitting the bottom while out there on the water.

And even though they're all made to serve the same purpose, they're not made the same. It's, therefore, important to go for a depth finder that can offer you real-time updates to ensure that you stay safe at all times.

When it comes to sailing, you'll enjoy it a lot more if you're able to know the depth of the water where you're sailing at. But when you go on the internet in search of the best sailboat depth finders, it's unfortunate that you'll come across fish finders instead.

Well, this may not be totally surprising given that they both use sonar. However, if you're more concerned about the depth of the water, especially if you don't want to ground your sailboat, then going for the best sailboat depth finder is the wise thing to do.

In addition to using the sonar system, today's sailboat depth finders are designed with a lot of innovative technology and built-in features such as GPS and Wi-Fi. This is to ensure that the devices are more robust and can offer real-time updates on the depth of water where you're sailing at.

More important, it will help keep you and your sailboat safe and prevent it from grounding just because you unknowingly sailed in shallow waters.

The importance of a depth finder for your sailing is so immense and that's why there are a lot of depth finders in the market that choosing the best sailboat depth finder can feel overwhelming.

So instead of spending hours on end scouring the internet trying to find the right model for your sailing adventures, we've made it a lot easier for you. Here's a list of the best sailboat depth finders to help you make the most of your sailing escapades.


Table of contents

The Basics of a Depth Finder

It's of great importance to know the depth of the water you are sailing on and this is why you should always have a proper depth finder when going out there on the water. You do not want to run aground and perhaps risk damaging your precious boat just because you unknowingly sailed in shallow waters.

With a depth finder, you'll know the exact depth of your ailing area and also get notified when you are within shallow areas. As such, depth finders generally offer readings in feet and meters but can also offer readings in fathoms. The alarm should alert you of shallow areas, which is great for your safety and the safety of your boat.

If you're wondering whether or not you can use a fish finder for measuring depth, we have to note that dedicated depth finders can offer more accurate data than fish finders.

How to Choose the Best Sailboat Depth Finder

While most depth finders will offer accurate depth readings, you should always think about the extra features that you need in a depth finder. It's of great importance to take your time and look at the price ranges and narrow down to what you can afford that's if you're on a budget.

In addition to the features, you can also consider the warranty in place, the required features, the technology used, and ease of installation and use. You certainly do not want a device that's pretty difficult to mount on your boat or a device whose display will be hard to read in the sun or in low light conditions.

Other things such as portability, screen sizes, mountable options should be considered when choosing the best depth finder for you. With that in mind, we can tell you for sure that you'll be making a really solid choice if you choose any depth finder on this list. You should also go for a depth finder that can work perfectly even when the boat is moving at high speeds.

6 Best Sailboat Depth Finders

Here are the 6 best sailboat depth

1. HawkEye DepthTrax 1

For many sailors, depths that are greater than 200 feet aren't a concern to them since their sailboats aren't going to run aground in such depths. Instead, their main concern is about the accuracy of the readings and this is exactly what the HawkEye DepthTrax 1B brings to the table. This depth finder is engineered to provide precise depth readings from 2.5 feet to 200 feet. The best part of using this depth finder is that it will offer these exact readings as speeds of over 60 mph!

So even if you're moving so fast, it has a warning system that will ensure that you do not run your boat aground as it will warn you accordingly as you approach shallow areas. You can also adjust this device to offer the best depth readings for individual boats. All you have to do is program the keel offset function and you'll be good to go.

Its glare-free display makes it user-friendly as you can perfectly see the reading even in bright lights. Similarly, it's designed with a backlight that makes it a lot easier to read the display even in low light conditions. It also comes with a glue-in hull transducer and transom mount to make using it a lot easier.


  • Offers accurate depth readings even when in high speed
  • It's very easy to use
  • The large display makes it user-friendly
  • It comes with 2 alarms that will let you know when you reach the depth you've set
  • It's durable and waterproof


  • The reading may not be that accurate if there's an object under the water surface

2. Humminbird 407860-1 HDR650 Digital depth Gauge

As a well-known maker of some of the best fish finders, it's totally not surprising that the Hummin brands feature a number of times on this list. Even though the Humminbird 407860-1 HDR650 doesn't double up as a fish finder, it's a capable digital depth finder that provides instant readings even when the sailboat is on the move.

It's designed with a 200 kHz transom mount transducer as well as installation hardware to make it very easy to mount and use on the sailboat. Its color is so attractive and is designed in such a way that it complements the rest of this depth finder. The 1.25-inch display comes with a backlit that makes it's a lot easier to read and use even in low light conditions. The fact that it is digital enables it to show depth in various measurements such as feet, meters, and even fathoms! It also has an alarm that will warn you when your boat is about to hit shallow waters. 


  • The display is simple, clean, and easy to read
  • It's easy to mount on the boat
  • It offers very accurate depth readings
  • The shallow depths alarm keeps you alert when your boat is about to hit shallow depths
  • It's waterproof and fairly durable
  • It's affordable 


  • The transducer cord is short and may not perfectly reach the device

3. HawkEye D10DX In-Dash Depth Sounder

If you're looking for a depth finder that offers more than just depth readings, the HawkEye D10DX can be an ideal choice. In addition to offering accurate depth readings, this device can also measure the water and air temperatures. It also gives you the option of choosing between a thru-hull transducer and a transom-mounted transducer.

In terms of readings, this device is designed with a very large display that makes it easy to use and read even at night. The anti-glare feature of the display makes it superb in sunny conditions while the backlit feature makes it excellent in low light conditions. This device will never let you down even when you're sailing at a speed of 30 mph.

This device is also designed with special programming to mitigate any false reading that might occur. More importantly, it comes with a visual alarm that can alert you if you're about to hit shallow waters. In terms of water and air temperature, these features are great if you want to know the condition under which you're sailing.

This device is easy to install and comes with marine-standard electrical connectors to ensure that you're safe at all times.


  • It's easy to install and use
  • It offers accurate depth readings
  • It offers additional water and air temperature readings
  • The alarm can alert you if you're about to hit shallow waters
  • It's waterproof and durable
  • You can choose between two transducers


  • The readings can be inaccurate in dirty waters or muddy bottoms

4. Lowrance LST 3800

This superb depth finder is designed with an excellent transom mount transducer that provides accurate readings in up to 700 feet! It will also never disappoint you if your boat is going at a speed of about 50 mph. That's not all; this device can also provide temperature readings when out there on the water.

Its high contrast dot matrix screen comes with a backlit that makes it a lot easy to read in both low light conditions and in the glare of a hot sunny day. This device is designed with three main display pages that provide readings for depth, temperature, and dual display. The fact that you can control the displays with the three-button keypad makes it user-friendly.

This device also comes with an alarm system to notify you if your boat is almost hitting shallow waters. The readings can be offered in both meters and feet in terms of depth and Celsius and Fahrenheit in terms of temperature.


  • It offers one of the best displays
  • It's easy to use
  • It's waterproof and durable
  • Offers both depth and temperature readings
  • It's easy to mount
  • Offers very accurate readings 


  • Not ideal for people whose primary concerns are depth readings only

5. Humminbird 409670-1 PiranhaMax 197C Color Fish Finder

Although it's a fish finder, this device can also be used as a super depth finder thanks to its multiple features such as a very large display that offers very accurate info that's easy to read both during the day and at night.

The best thing about this device is that it will offer accurate depth reading while showing the water temperatures as well as images of various objects and contours under the water. Thanks to its dual frequencies and down imaging, you'll get the idea of what's happening under your boat. Its 1600 watts of power is so powerful that you don't have to worry about its battery running out while you're out there on the water.

And like most depth finders, this device is designed with an intuitive alarm system that may give you a heads up as you approach shallow waters. This is a very versatile device that will serve you on your fishing, sailing, or diving escapades. 


  • Very versatile
  • Installation and ease of use are top-notch
  • The display is very clear both at night and during the day
  • The alarm system will alert you of shallow depths


  • The fact that it comes with several features can be overwhelming to those who need a simple depth finder

6. Garmin Echo 551dv Worldwide with Transducer

This is an excellent depth finder that can also work as a basic fish finder. With a power peak of 4,000 watts, this device can easily offer accurate readings up to 2,300 feet, which is pretty outstanding. Designed with built-in HD-ID sonar, this device gives the option of either working with a transducer or even without it.

Thanks to its very large 5-inch QVGA colored display, the info is easy to read. This display can offer accurate readings of not just the depth but also the contours of the bottom as well as whatever object that's under the water. If you're interested in catching some fish, you can choose the fish icon to show the fish but you can choose to leave this option if you're interested in fishing so that it doesn't clutter the screen.

The alarm system is crucial in alerting you as you approach shallow depths. This is of great importance in keeping you safe and ensuring that your boat doesn't run aground. You can also look at the history to see the depths and details of where you have been before. 


  • Offers accurate depth readings
  • Can give you the option of finding fish
  • The alarm system can alert you as you approach shallow depths
  • It's easy to install and use
  • It also offers temperature readings
  • It's waterproof and fairly durable


  • You can set alarms at the depths you want
  • It offers too much information and not ideal if you want a simplistic depth finder

To this end, depth finders can be a game-changer even if you're a novice sailor. The initial investment might be big but you'll certainly come to appreciate the benefits that these devices offer. So if you've been looking for the best sailboat depth finder, choose any of the above-described models and you'll be good to go. If anything, you'll make more out of your sailing experience.

Happy sailing!

6 Best Sailboat Depth Finders
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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