Why You Need to Back Up Your GPS and Sonar Data—Now!


I am a big believer in Murphy’s Law.

You know the one: if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. And it is precisely what happened recently to good buddy John, whose last name will remain unspoken, for reasons you’re about to learn.


John runs one of the finest guide services on Lake of the Woods, so you can imagine over the years, just how many waypoints he has locked into his GPS chartplotter. And I am not talking about obvious structure and cover that you can find on any map either. Instead, we’re talking about tiny subtleties like an inside turn off an underwater point, a sunken log in a back bay or three or four boulders in 28-feet of water that always hold walleyes.

It’s the stuff that takes you a lifetime to locate.

Well, long story short, John is buying a new boat and upgrading his sonar and GPS plotter.  So, the other day he took his old plotter to the marine dealer that is rigging his boat so they could transfer across all of his waypoints.


By the way, that is not something I would personally do, but John’s more trusting than I am.  I don’t let my GPS chartplotter out of my sight. Ever.

And this is where old Murphy comes in.


An hour or so after he dropped off his unit, John received a call from the marine dealer who said, you guessed it, “We can’t find any waypoints on your unit.”

Buddy John was stunned. Matter of fact, he could barely speak about it, even several hours later when he phoned me, but the bottom line is that he lost the better part of a lifetime’s supply of secret GPS waypoints.

Now, the debate is on over who deleted the waypoints—John, inadvertently last autumn when he put his boat to bed, or the dealer when he went to transfer them across to the new unit the other day.

Of course, none of it would matter if John had backed up his waypoints, routes and trails on an SD card every month or two the same way you back up your important computer files. It is just so easy to do and it doesn’t take more than 25 or 30 seconds to complete.

So, here is the best advice I am going to give you this entire year.  When you get your boat out of bed this spring and put the sonar and chartplotter units back on it, take one minute of time and insert an SD card into one of the slots.  Then download your waypoints onto the card.

You can keep the waypoints, trails and routes on the card or transfer them onto your PC for safe keeping.

And if you’re unsure how to do it, click on this superb video link provided by the folks at Humminbird and watch how easy it is.

Oh, yes, and remember, Murphy doesn’t take prisoners.