For example, at a recent Midwest show a bass boat manufacturer showed an interesting piece of steering gear that combined GPS with not only your location, but, when you programmed your destination, it would slowly steer your boat's electric trolling motor to the ramp where you wanted to go.
For people who are worried about loved ones, this type of technology is marvelous as it means they can see where their fishermen are located and when and where they will be returning. If there's a problem, they can immediately contact authorities and help is on the way. Indeed, some GPS units, while none explicitly said so, will probably dial 911 or flash an emergency code to a nearby public safety agency's 911 emergency screen so that the authorities can be notified right away.
Not only that, GPS programs show you where you can find food, shelter and fuel during your fishing trip and if weather is brewing, it is likely that they will include National Weather Service SAME technology that warns you of impending threats such as thunderstorms or windstorms.
Perhaps the best use of GPS, although it is highly unfair to the fish, is the record that it can keep of where you made your last haul of the day, right down to a five-foot circle. In other words, if you've found the elusive hole where all the fish go to stay out of the way of fishermen, then the fish have had it because your GPS is ready to go.
This type of real-time integration of GPS technology with small boating is new, although it has been integrated with cars for about the last half decade or so.
And, when you combine the GPS capability with the sonar or fish-finding capabilities of many devices on the market for fishermen then you have an interesting display that not only tells you where you are but where the fish are underneath you.
Sports fishermen, of course, with the exception of possibly GPS so they know where they are, will look askance at the fishermen who use fish-finding sonar displays that combine GPS or who will use two separate miniaturized units, will still find that technology can work for them especially when they are in country that's unfamiliar to them. GPS can give any sports fisherman his location and the location of the area where he is moving to so that he can keep either in touch through a cellphone with a loved one who might be worried or who can use an emergency beacon or radio to let authorities know where they are in case of trouble.
The marriage of outdoor sports and items like GPS are changing the face of recreational boating.