Octopus Electrical Service

Guide to selecting the Autopilot system for boats | Know everything!


The autopilot system is extremely important to the cruising sailor and highly advanced and one of the best things that can be owned by a boat owner. The autopilot system is synchronized with a compass and that helps it to steer manually input headings. The autopilot system controls the steering gear and steers the maintains a set heading or course. But nowadays, with the new high technology autopilot system, one can also synchronize it with an electronic chart that allows it to follow a pre set track and to turn as needed according to the set track/plan. However, while you are selecting an autopilot system for boats, there are many things you should consider. Mentioned below are some such things.


Rudder Limits and Rate of Turn


An autopilot system’s most important aspect is the rate of its turn. You should keep in mind that you are putting in useful input/limits while selecting the rate of turn and rudder limits. The rudder limits are the values that will allow the boats rudder to move to its maximum limit allowed to alter its course and at that speed. The rate of turn depends on the values you input. You should think carefully about the maneuvering skills of your boat.


Manual Mode


If you are not completely sure about your autopilot system, you should choose  Raymarine autopilot systems for your boat as it will allow you to change between manual or Nav or heading autopilot mode. This will also allow you to take over the wheel  when the need arises. You can also switch it to the other modes at will thus the different autopilot modes can be selected at any time,

NAV Mode

Nav mode allows you to steer a course that been set on your MFD (Multifunction Display) you first of all set a course and then select Nav on the autopilot and the autopilot will then hold that track and tack into account wind Tide etc to keep you traveling in a straight line


Heading mode or (Auto) when selected holds the boat on the magnetic head that it was on at the time of pressing auto, This is a great feature as it allows you to do things by leaving the wheel area and thus knowing that the boat will keep heading in its set direction. Raymarine Autopilot systems do this very well.


Off-Course Alarm


This alarm is important as it notifies the operator of any change or alteration to the original route plan beyond a set deviation. You can set the number of degrees that are required yourself. This ensures that once the amount of degrees has been exceeded, the autopilot system sets the alarm off.




If you are planning a voyage that has no time requirement then a auto pilot is stil helpful as you can rely on it to hold a heading while you do other jobs on the boats. You should select an autopilot system thats also connected to your MFD as when  you need to travel from point A  to B in the fastest time. You can manually put in the required course. This will help you reach your destination at a faster rate.


Steering to wind is a great Option that allows you wo set a angle to the wind that you wish to maintain at all times so that the sails always at the premium angle.  You do need to interface the Autopilot to a windvane system, most sailing boats these days have these already installed

Weather Conditions


While selecting an autopilot system, you have to give considerate thoughts to weather conditions. This is because the weather conditions greatly influence the autopilot system, its important that you DO NOT under-size your autopilots system as It can have a large negative impact on the performance of the system and this usually happens when you most need it. You should choose an autopilot system that has been recommended for your size and weight of the boat. This will allow the autopilot system to navigate appropriately in all the different conditions that it may encounter.


These are some things that you should consider while selecting an autopilot system. You should also keep in mind that you are aware of every small point related to your autopilot system to avoid accidents at sea. Raymarine autopilot system for boats is an extremely valuable option as it fulfills many needs. You should consider everything carefully and then select the one that fulfills all your needs to an optimum level.  Remember to big a system is always better than one that’s to small.This will ensure that you are selecting the best system for your navigation. A sound autopilot system will also help you in long-term voyages and make your journey easier.

Please contact us if you need to copy Information off these web pages