If you are really into sailing, outdoor adventures, and traversing the waters, then you might probably be aware that a reliable and the best marine compass could make a considerable difference. Fundamentally, it cannot be denied that a compass is deemed as one of the most valuable instruments that you should get for your boat. And, without a doubt, purchasing a new one can be a daunting task to deal with these days since there are countless of choices for you to check out.
Truth is, there’s a broad array of models available out there and when it comes to selecting between the card types and the mounting systems, things can get really tricky particularly for those who do not have much knowledge about the features that they should be getting for a marine compass.
Hence, in order to help you lighten the burden of the selection process, consider carefully going over the buyer’s guide tackled in this post and make sure to check the marine compass product reviews one by one to help you come up with the best possible purchasing decision.
The following shopping tips, basic information and product reviews discussed below can serve as your practical guides when investing in a good quality marine compass.
Table of Contents
- Best Marine Compass Reviews
- 1. Shoreline Marine Illuminated Marine Compass
- 2. Ritchie F-50 Explorer Flush Mount Compass
- 3. Odowalker Black Incandescent Marine Compass
- 4. Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass
- 5. Ritchie S-53 Explorer Compass
- 6. Ritchie Navigation X-10W-M Sport Marine Compass
- 7. Brunton Dash Mount Compass
- 8. Estink Car Mount Compass
- 9. Ritchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass
- 10. Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass
- What to Look For When Buying a Marine Compass
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Marine Compass Reviews
1. Shoreline Marine Illuminated Marine Compass
To boot, purchasing high quality and dependable compasses for boats can be a cumbersome task particularly for those who aren’t that knowledgeable in that aspect. And, to somehow lighten your agony, you may consider getting one that is manufactured by one of the trusted brands known as Shoreline Marine.
Fundamentally, this navigating instrument has the capability to illuminate in dusky areas, mounting it on the console is a breeze and it comes with ultraviolet shield feature. Also, this is equipped with 12 Volt lighted for night usage and unlike other similar products, this device does not consume generous amount of power. And, most importantly, its uses are not limited for you can practically utilize it for many distinct purposes.
The large size of this compass enables users to easily take the readings. Besides, it comes with easy installation procedures and does not necessitate various tools to set it up properly, as a matter of fact; mounting it on the console can be accomplished in minutes. So, whether you are still a newbie or already a pro, this won’t be complex for you to install and use.
- Proudly built with unbeatable craftsmanship
- Perfect choice for a gift to boaters and adventurous people
- Does not consume more power
- A must-have for those who love outdoor and sailing adventures
- Operates exceptionally for a number of distinct applications
- Tendency for the fluid to leak
- Comes with flimsy stand
2. Ritchie F-50 Explorer Flush Mount Compass
Are you dreaming of having a smooth navigation experience in open water? Then, your best partner to make this dream come true is this flush mount compass meticulously built by Ritchie Explorer. This is a small boat compass that is designed with green light illumination that makes it capable of glowing in dusky areas to better enhance visibility.
By the same token, it comes with a 2 and ¾ inch dial that makes this navigating device a lot easier to interpret directly. It is also engineered with built-in compensator that allows effortless deviation adjustments. Meanwhile, the dial movement is enabled by the reliably matched hardened steel pivot and sapphire jewel.
Apart from this, it is manufactured with high temperature composite construction that is especially meant for continued operating range. You can install it instantly on a mounting hole and it is furnished with 12 V lighting and portable sunshield. This is not a pain in the neck to set up, for a fact; this is certified user-friendly for both beginners and professionals.
Still and all, while this is made by a reputable brand, this does not mean that it is completely flawless.
- Comes with easy to interpret direct reading dial
- Accurately matched hardened steep pivot dial and sapphire jewel movement
- Engineered with adjustable sunshield and 12V lighting
- Designed with built-in compensators that enables effortless deviation adjustment
- Backed up by a 5-year warranty
- Comes with non-refillable dampening fluid
- Not ideal for large vessels
3. Odowalker Black Incandescent Marine Compass
This is broadly utilized for caravan, cars, trucks and marine vessels. As you can see, this is an incredible device to indicate the exact directions whenever you sail or drive. Please note that the adaptable declination sheet enables users to modify the compass to the most convenient and most noticeable for your position.
In the same way, this compass for boats and trucks is built using only superior quality ABS material and adaptable magnetic declination sheet that is not harmful to the environment and can superbly serve you on all your thrilling adventures.
And, since this navigating instrument is equipped with incandescent light function, you can finally say goodbye to the troubles of interpreting direction at evening time as this helps illuminate the compass and will enable users to head out for directions even if it is super dusky.
- Highly practical to use for trucks, ships and boats
- Equipped with incandescent light that enables easy navigation of directions even at night time
- Capable of showing to users the right directions when sailing or driving
- Built using premium quality ABS material with easy-to-adjust magnetic declination sheet
- Comes with adjustable brackets that makes compass adjustment a breeze
- Comes with poor lighting
- Slightly complex to calibrate
Essentially, it is a must-have because this is practical for rescue boat. Its solid construction, broad range of applications, ease of installation and sterling features and performance are what literally make this navigating instrument a valuable investment that you won’t get upset about in the future.
Are you having a hard time shopping for the best boat compass? Then, this compass manufactured by Ritchie may be the ideal option for you. Whether you are a newbie or a pro in outdoor and sailing adventures, this is user-friendly to use because you can have it set up in a short span of time.
What is more, it is precise per compass and if used with mobile phones. This is highly recommended for anyone who loves recreational fishing, various outdoor and boating activities. Since it comes with small and compact size, this is good if you have limited space on a center console or if you own a smaller vessel.
Even if it is your first time to install and utilize a boat compass, this won’t give you a hard time, it is plain sailing to mount and wire and it is so easy to interpret. Its size is just enough and it’s actually renowned for being one great instrument that could ensure a relaxing and impressive sailing and traversing experience.
- Known for being the most flexible and well-known compass of this brand
- Can be easily mounted on a dash or deck
- Backed up by a 5-year warranty
- Capable of functioning in a precise mode
- Enables compass to stay at appropriate viewing angle
- A little difficult to calibrate
- Too fuzzy to read at night
5. Ritchie S-53 Explorer Compass
This compass for boat is manufactured with built-in compensators that are intended to guarantee proper navigation despite the road surface. Its portable sunshield as well as nightlight aid in enhancing navigation at any period of the day. In addition to this, the superior temperature combination built adds strength and sturdiness to the device.
Likewise, this device rotates in a vertical mode so that allows it to function up or downhill, this will work great no matter how lofty the grade. Basically, the rotation is constant, quite sleek and rapid without any wrenching or reluctance, till the precise reading is uncovered. The size seems identical with that of a softball or it may even be larger than that.
It is interesting to note that this navigating instrument is quite reliable when it comes to unfailingly showing the precise direction your vessel or vehicle is going. It does not take up huge space, it is so easy to interpret and it is lightweight. This certainly fits precisely and does not require drilling new holes. It is absolutely a perfect compass for a fishing boat.
- Highly practical to use for today’s solid helm designs
- Engineered with internal 12 Volt green light
- Built with compact low profile design
- Comes with very clear calibration instructions
- Equipped with hardened steel pivot dial and sapphire jewel movement
- Really larger in size than expected
- Nightlight especially requires external power source
This sport and shoreline marine compass is not the poor quality plastic device that you come across in a plenty of department and auto supply stores. In point of fact, this navigating instrument comes with some weight, and is specifically capable of being smoothly mounted to the above center of the dash.
What makes this a great purchase is that it is engineered with compensators for east/west, north/south and so on. And, all by itself, it can rotate freely within the casing. In line with this, it tilts with the angle of the vehicle too. If you buy this, you will be provided with a tiny non-magnetic tool that is intended to revolve the small screws. So, once you installed it, further adjustment is not necessary.
This device does not necessitate huge space; it is easy to interpret and is precise to rely on. Without question, it’s a nice compass without having to spend extravagantly for it.
- Engineered with high temperature composite built
- Mounts very finely to the above center of the dash
- Furnished with two-inch direct-reading dials which are highly visible
- Far more precise than other similar devices out there
- Especially equipped with internal green night lighting feature
- Comes with very short wires
- Light seems a little dim
7. Brunton Dash Mount Compass
This marine dash mount navigating instrument is capable of providing its users with stunning features and superb performance but you can have it for reasonable price tag. It is user-friendly, a resistant and precise device that could be easily affixed directly on the dash by means of lifting off the screws from the casing and embedding it into the special fitting.
It is interesting to note that the bulkhead mount serves as a very distinctive feature that significantly improves disc reading. The reciprocal bearing was utilized to guarantee that nearly 3–inch dial provides precise readings. Meanwhile, the 5-degree graduations are hence a lot easier to discern in misty weather or poor lighting conditions.
Given the impressive features and sterling performance that you can enjoy if you invest in this device, there is no need for you to spend huge amount of money because this compass is sold at a very budget-friendly cost.
- Reciprocal bearing enables interpreting rear bearing rapidly and reliably
- Can guarantee dependable interpretation and heading with the aid of direct reading disc
- Not troublesome to mount
- Capable of ensuring 5-degree graduations precision
- Equipped with direct reading disc
- Designed with too tiny South, North, West and East directional symbols
- Displaced screws when mounting
Howbeit, a few of the minor troubles that you need to carefully look into about this device are the displaced screws when mounting and the directional symbols that are designed to be too small which can make reading slightly challenging especially for anyone with eyesight problem. Luckily, besides these imperfections, this compass is a great companion that is worth-considering for boaters and drivers out there.
8. Estink Car Mount Compass
There are a lot of reasons that make this marine compass the best bang for the money. It is built using only top-notch quality ABS material that makes it resistant to corrosion and water. This is why it is a highly practical choice for marine vehicles and sea boats.
As for its design, this is the exact opposite of a standard compass since it is especially built for watercraft, boats, caravans, trucks, and vehicles. What’s more, it comes with a built-in precision compensator that enables smooth deviation adjustment, so this will be more convenient for users as this would ensure more accurate readings.
This device is furnished with an easy-to-modify mount bracket as well as a visible lubber line to guarantee easy direction interpretation. And, since this is a bracket-mounted device, you can affix it on deck enabling the device to stay an appropriate viewing angle for the precise directions.
- Prominent for being quick to respond and accuracy engineering compass ideal for marine vehicles and sea boats
- Resistant to water and corrosion-proof
- Constructed with a built-in precision compensator that helps easy deviation adjustment
- Ideal use for watercraft, boats and cars
- Can ensure comfortable and convenient use
- Has the tendency to cause permanent stain on the dash
- Inside parts seem made with low quality materials
9. Ritchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass
Do you currently own a 26-feet sailboat? Then, a reliable marine compass is a must for you to purchase. In order to ensure a wonderful and exciting sailing experience, buying an accurate and dependable compass for boat is a wise decision.
If you invest in this marine compass, you can instantly add total class to your vessel’s overall built. It absolutely looks nice and is capable of ensuring the best possible function. Please take note that you read this navigating device at the rear section and not to the front. Basically, this conveys that it requires being set up tipped backward for a more lucid view of the direction.
- Equipped with blue LED night lighting
- Precisely designed for sailboats measuring 16 by up to 36 feet in length
- Comes with ideal size that fits incredibly
- Comes with protective front and rear covers
- Looks sophisticated and works in an awesome approach
- Seems only useful at day light but useless at night time
- Drill holes are a little off
10. Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass
Would you like to end up buying the most reliable, functional and durable sail boat compasses? Then, you may check out this navigating instrument by Seattle Sports.
If you try to observe this product closely, this is a well-designed marine compass that comes with solid dome and a stable two point mounting system. Additionally, since it is specifically constructed in large size, you can easily read it from afar. It is one of the most preferred navigating devices these days because it is quick to respond to direction changes without wallowing back and forth in open and rough waters.
- Not intricate to interpret
- A piece of cake to switch on and off
- Especially constructed for rugged marine use
- Big enough to allow easy readings
- Allows users to have a more lucid view of their destination
- Higher tendency for fluid leakage
- Not illuminated
What to Look For When Buying a Marine Compass
Before you invest in a marine compass, there are diverse factors to reflect on as you shop around for the best device that can assist you with your navigation and some of these include:
Precision. A well-calibrated boat compass will help you reach your destination safely. So, see to it that your choice could be instantly calibrated and does not require consistent adjusting for this might convolute navigation due to imprecise readings.
Type. A considerable number of sailors prefer magnetic compasses than electronic versions mainly because these are barely influenced by electric signals. Likewise, electric compasses could be adjusted with advanced sensors that aid in providing a more precise reading.
Is it readable? Bigger compasses are a lot effortless to read and interpret. Take in mind that it is essential to ensure that the device could be smoothly read in daylight and even in the evening.
What is its mounting style? Basically, there are distinct means when mounting a compass. Note that your preference will rely on the kind of boat you have and your dashboard.
The shape of the boat compass. Marine compasses come in different forms: cylindrical, conical and flat shapes. The conical shapes are regarded as the most excellent option if you prefer sitting on the steering wheel of your vessel, while the flat shape ones are best fitted for huge vessels because these are more stable and they do not easily turn over when in rough water.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a marine compass?
A marine compass is referred to as one of the simplest but very valuable instrument to have at hand whenever you traverse open waters. At present, nearly all boats are equipped with electronic navigation system; however, it is still vital to have a compass with you so that it will be less likely for you to get lost on your destination.
This device comes with a dome-shaped bulb compass that is mainly utilized by boaters. It is also furnished with a dial that revolves on a pivot. Many kayakers connect these units to the front deck of a kayak either with the use of a tie-down mechanism, bungee cord or use it permanently.
Each compass comes with a line on its glass which is known as the lubber line. This is utilized to illustrate your direction on the compass card. The compass card is the card that rotates and indicates, North, West, South, East etc.
How does it work?
These devices are typically filled with liquid. The liquid comes with a reducing effect on disruptions brought about by the vessel’s motion in rough waters. In the same way, the compass card is affixed on top of the magnetic needle mechanism.
This is evenly balanced on a needle point, hovering and is capable of swinging around so it could coordinate with magnetic north. Please be guided that the reading is captured from the fixed lubber line on the compass’ body. It is worth noting that the lubber line is directed in the direction of the vessel’s head for taking over on a given bearing.
What are the different types of marine compasses?
Gyrocompass. Most huge ocean-going vessels use this type of compass and it is considered as a vital component of their navigation system. This works by controlling the gravity force to a gyrowheel in order for the wheel axis to frequently explore the north to south line.
It is recognized for its sophistication that typically unveils true North in place of magnetic north. Basically, it remains uninfluenced by external magnetic fields.
Card Compass. This is primarily utilized for boats and ships. It is distinct from other types of compasses since it makes use of a fixed needle, and it depends on a maneuvering compass card for directional interpretations. In addition to this, since the maneuvering card takes in much of the movement of a ship or a boat, it is more straightforward to interpret as compared to a needle compass.
Prismatic Compass. This is prominent for being a very advanced instrument that is specifically designed for highly precise navigation. It is important to note that the prism sighting arrangement enables users to interpret the bearings of the compass while observing remote objects.
Magnetic compass. This makes use of a maneuvering needle or moving card to detect magnetic North.
Electronic compass. This commonly provides bearings on a numerical interpretation. In general, they provide precise readings and come with several unique features and these consist of the option to reserve bearings in the memory and its capability to alert users if he’s losing his way.
Notwithstanding, these are not highly suggested for map work. Also, since they call for a power source, at times, reliability becomes a serious concern.
Fluxgate compass. This does not come with moving parts and utilizes electricity to intensify the directional signal and it also utilized coils of wire.
GPS compass. This makes use of a number of satellites that identify the location. This pinpoints true North.
Why do you need a compass for boat? (Benefits)
A boat compass is especially required for all those who own a boat or a vessel as this is one way of complying with the Navigation Safety Regulations. This serves as a valuable instrument for orientation and navigation that discloses the direction comparative to the points or geographic cardinal directions.
Owning a compass for boat can provide users with lots of benefits and these consist of the following:
- You become self-sufficient. You can organize your own position and direction on your own. It does not matter if you are remote from the metropolis, you are all by yourself and do not have a companion while traversing the water or even when you are in the orchard, there is nothing for you to feel anxious of if you have a compass with you and if you have a precise map.
Without anyone to help you or even with the absence of an electrical power source, you won’t fear anything.
- Boat compasses are portable. In reality, one of the perks of this instrument is its portability. The compactness and slimness of the dimensions of most contemporary compasses today are what makes them handy, lightweight and not tiring to use.
As a matter of fact, some versions are too compact that it is possible for them to fit your pocket. Other models are built with straps that allow them to be hanged around the wrist or neck so you’ll less likely to lose them.
- Boat compasses are plain sailing to set up in your vessel.
- These are cost-effective options.
- Boat compasses can ensure instant orientation. These are easy to read and interpret. By using a compass, it becomes a lot easier to determine your present position on a map, and form your future course or path in a short span of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted marine compass brands?
You can explore lots of boat compass brands on the market today, and being provided with lots of options can sometimes be confusing rather than helpful. So, for you not to encounter a tough time picking which brand can best match your requirements and exceed your expectations, you can check out the following highly recognized brands:
- Ritchie Explorer
- Shoreline Marine
- Seattle Sports
Do marine compasses come with mounting brackets?
Yes. Marine compasses come with mounting brackets. Bracket mounts are quite flexible because they enable users to mount utilizing distinct tilt angles and these can be lifted off easily for storage.
Can these boat compasses be used for car?
Yes. There are boat compasses that can also be utilized for other types of land vehicles. Various types of compasses are mainly designed to help improve navigation at any time of the day whether you are using a land vehicle or a boat, ship and other types of vessels that frequently traverse in rough waters.
These are practical to use in that you can significantly reduce the chances of getting lost on your way and you can avoid different hazards at once.
How to install and use?
For you to start using your boat compass, you need a maritime chart, a compass and see to it that the compass is appropriately calibrated and modified.
To get started, take in mind that each compass comes with a line on its glass. To indicate the direction on the compass card, you need to start using the lubber line. It is the compass card that is responsible for indicating South, North and the like.
Then, you choose a course by utilizing the marine chart. You can begin by identifying your beginning position. Afterward, you select the place you want to go. Keep in mind that you could clearly figure out the course through drawing a line between the two points and by interpreting the angle in degrees.
Lastly, it is high time to start moving. Here, it is crucial to set the path by directing the vessel to the direction where the lubber line on the compass corresponds with the degree that you precisely pick. See to it that the lubber line remains in place in order for you to keep course.
What is the warranty?
The limitless number of marine compass options available in the market these days can be overwhelming. And, often times, it becomes quite baffling which brand to choose. It is highly advised to go for brands or manufacturers that offer product warranties. This way, you are protected as a consumer.
Bear in mind that warranties differ and the kind of offer you can avail of will depend on your chosen manufacturer or brand. Highly trusted marine compass brands generally offer various types of warranties such as 30-day money back guarantee offer, warranty for 1, 2 , 3 years or a lifetime warranty, replacements for defective items and refunds.
Many a time, the warranty is clearly specified in the product’s description; but if not, you can ask the manufacturer about the warranty of the marine compass you are eyeing to buy. Fortunately, all the products reviewed in this post are all backed up by different types of warranties that you can delight in.
Where to buy?
Marine compass devices are not troublesome to shop for. In point of fact, these are available in various fish or marine supply stores that are close by your current place. By shopping for them personally, you can inspect the products right away and see some potential problems closely.
Be that as it may, shopping for them online is more convenient and you will surely be provided with more options to check out. Many times, other brands and features that you can’t find in local stores can be found online. You only need to ensure that you make negotiations with legit and reputable online shopping sites like Amazon.
Before the final purchase, make it clear to the manufacturers if their product is supported by warranties and if they have 24/7 365 days of customer service available. This is to ensure that you can request for refunds, product/defective parts replacements or returns. You can tell that the online shopping site is legit if it can offer you these. You can also avail some surprising promos, freebies and special discounts when shopping online.
How to care and maintain?
Luckily, compass for boats are not that high maintenance and these are easy to care for. You will only be required to thoroughly wash off the entire compass using fresh and clean water and then gingerly wipe it using soft drenched fabric or cloth- this must be done to completely get rid of the accumulation of dirt and salt spray deposits.
It is not advised to utilize abrasive cleaners and other chemical cleaning solutions when cleaning your boat compass. And, in case replacement parts and other sorts of services are necessary, it is highly recommended to contact the manufacturer to resolve the issue at once.
To sum things up, investing in the best marine compass can get really edgy. As you know, it is not easy to find the one that’s smooth sailing to calibrate and modify. With the exhaustive product reviews and shopping guides discussed above, it will no longer be a vexing task for you to select the most reliable and outstanding compass sold nowadays.
As what you have learned in this article, with a properly calibrated marine compass as well as a maritime chart, there is no reason for you to get lost out of nowhere. If you are into sailing, you can always rely on the precision of a compass, and this instrument could save you and lead the way to your destination.
The good news is that the most gilt-edge marine compasses were featured in this post and all you need to do is to choose the ideal option that shall meet your requirements and preference.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.