Depth Sounder?

I will be sailing my Scot in very shallow water. I have been wondering about the possibility of installing some sort of depth sounder. Something simple that works well. I really don’t want to have to start carrying a battery around either. Solar powered would be wonderful.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience in this. Thanks.

Solar powered is going to be difficult considering the power needed by the transponder and display. A small battery will be needed unless you are doing only periodic soundings and have access to some really big storage capacitors that can replace the battery's function. These caps will likely be larger than the batteries needed. The good news is that there are good depth finders that can read through a fibreglass hull, so that no through-hull drilling is needed.

dave boling
Huntsville, AL


I think you are correct about the sounder needing more than solar power, but I thought I would ask. That transducer pinging away has got to use some juice. Ill just get a small 12 volt battery.

Yes, I am pretty sure that the transducer will be able to be epoxied to the inside of the hull and work well. However, I do believe that I will have to mount it where there is no balsa core.

The other issue will be where to mount or attach the display. It mounts in a 2 1/8” hole. I am hoping to find a good way of doing this where I do not have to drill any holes in the boat.

Peter Dubé

Vero Beach

FS5516's picture

Peter A couple of ideas to assist in this. One, consider a motorcyle battery or other small deep cycle battery. On one of my previous Scot, the previous owner installed a digital compass needing a 12v battery. He put the battery on the forward section of the mast stanchion. There is a small shelf there, all you would need to do install a bungee to hold the battery in place. Then, make a mount out of wood to fit in the mast step are and fasten a plate of some sort on the bottom of it using the bolt and holes in the stanchion for the lifting bridle. You can then put a small hole for the power in the stanchion to the battery and to lead to the transducer.

FS 5516
Don't Panic!

I used to have a 25 ft cruiser with 700 lb swing keel of 5ft 10in draft fully down. When we went on week trips with several boats off shore of NC/SC coasts and in the ICW, I would be the lead boat as we ventured into creeks for overnight anchorage. We had a depth sounder but really didn't need it because we had nautical charts showing depts and when slowly touched bottom, we just winched up the keel some and backed out and figured accordingly. I would think some shallows would be tricky even with a depthsounder. Ah ha, I bet you could have fun using a lead line like the old sailing slips used ...I had one and still do to test the depth. So if you have compass, chart, lead line, you are ready except knowing speed. I bet somebody here has even used a knot-line or tafrail gadget for speed. Or better yet, use a sextant....joke....I actually have one.
Best wishes,

Oh, I forgot that many boats use their GPS to know speed.

Peter, I too sail the shallow Indian River Lagoon, but I find the bottom is soft enough that the centerboard makes an effective depth instrument. Save the money on a depthfinder. Get a really good pair of polarized sunglasses instead... you can see the water change color in most cases.

Just my humble opinion...

Bob New
FS 5143
Merritt Island Florida
Fleet Captain Fleet 179

Bob, You are totally correct about the sun glasses, polarization makes a hugh difference. I think you are correct, simply use the board as my sounder, after all the bottom is soft in most places.