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The Best Marine Compasses For Your Outdoor Water Explorations

Updated on November 28, 2010

One of the most important things to bring when travelling or exploring by water is a marine compass. These have been used, albeit in different forms, by mariners through the centuries for navigating through the vast oceans. A marine compass can provide you with real time heading as compared with a GPS that can only show you a history of the directions you have traveled so there’s just no way of replacing it. You can use one to your own advantage whether you’re going boating or kayaking, or going to lakes, rivers or seas. I never hit the water without mine just to make sure I have everything I need to navigate my boat with ease.

When deciding on what marine compass to buy, here are some things you should think about. Ask yourself what size and dial is suitable for your vessel and convenient for you. For example if your boat or kayak measures a maximum of 16 feet, you’ll need a compass with a dial that’s 2 inches long. If your vessel measures a maximum of 20 feet, you’ll need a compass with a 2.25 inch dial.

When it comes to dials there are several types with different advantage so you can just choose which suits you. There are direct reading dials which is convenient for those who’ll be placing their compasses near eye level. There are flat card dials that are better for those who will be placing their compasses below eye level. Also, there are combination dials that combine features of both mentioned dial types.

Here are some of the best compasses you can choose to make your outdoor water adventures a lot more enjoyable and secure.

Brunton 70P In-Dash Marine Compass
Brunton 70P In-Dash Marine Compass

Brunton 70P In-Dash Marine Compass

This marine compass comes from one of the leading names in compasses. You can depend on this when hunting, fishing and while boating with your inflatable fishing boat or kayak. It itself measures 3 inches in diameter and has a rectangular base that measures 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. This marine compass has a direct reading disk that’s easy to read through the crystal clear bubble that’s guaranteed not to leak. It also features a reciprocal bearing and 5 degree gradations for your convenience. You can also choose how to mount it depending on what’s suitable for your vessel and your needs. You can choose to mount this on the dash or the bulkhead of your boat or kayak with its sharp and secure screws.

Ritchie Navigation Sport Compass Marine (Black)
Ritchie Navigation Sport Compass Marine (Black)

Ritchie Navigation Sport Compass Marine (Black)

Here’s another compass from one of the most respected names when it comes to quality compasses. This marine compass is just the right companion for those with kayaks and small boats with its 2 inch long dials that make for easy reading. You can easily install this on the dash for easy reading while navigating on water. The markings are large for easy reading and there’s also a 12V green night lighting to enable you to read them with ease even after dark. This marine compass features a reversible bracket that you can adjust up to 300 degrees. It comes with double-sided adhesives too for easy mounting. With this sturdily-built compass, you’ll be ready for anything ahead. You can also use this for land vehicles like your truck or car.

Orca Compass by Suunto
Orca Compass by Suunto

Orca Compass by Suunto

This marine compass features a direct reading dial that’s suitable for fishing boats and sea kayaks. It also makes for easy reading with its durable and clear glass and markings at 5 degree gradations. After dark, this also makes for easy navigating with its luminous card feature that you can activate with a flashlight and it glows in the dark and stays lighted for 20 minutes. Aside from that, you can also easily tilt the angle of the compass to according to what’s convenient for you and you can tilt this from -30 degrees to 30 degrees. This marine compass also attaches easily and securely to your vessel with the included clips and stretchy bungee cords. It also comes with a mesh pouch for easy storage and safekeeping.

Brunton 58 Kayak Compass
Brunton 58 Kayak Compass

Brunton 58 Kayak Compass

This marine compass is the ultimate tough guy when it comes to the outdoors with its sturdy construction designed to withstand shock, abrasions, and harsh elements. It has a clear scale that’s easy to read and suitable for small fishing boats and kayaks up to 17 feet long. You can attach this easily to your vessel’s rigging with the four elastic bungee cords that come with it. You can be sure it will do its job well and stay where it is because it’s waterproof and it has a soft bottom that’s really designed for preventing it from slipping on wet conditions. If you’re going out to sea or other rough areas, you’ll be glad to have this with you as a dependable companion through rough and fair weather.

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass 2010
Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass 2010

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass 2010

This nice looking marine compass measures 7 inches long, 4 inches wide and 2 inches high. It features clear markings and a clear glass bubble that make for easy reading while you’re paddling so you don’t have to squint and strain your eyes. It also features a wide base that makes it even more stable where you attach it so you can be sure it stays were it is even when the harshest winds and currents come. You can take this reliable marine compass with whether you’re going to lakes or the seas for your outdoor water adventure. It also comes with two tough straps that won’t tear off and it also has buckles that make for easy installment as well as easy removal in case you want to take it off.


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