Garmin GPSMAP 76cs question

Classic Parker Boat Forum

Help Support Classic Parker Boat Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
Feb 16, 2006
Reaction score
Lewes, DE
Last year I used some of my tax refund money to buy a Garmin GPSMAP 76cs handheld to use on the boat as a backup to my 2010c, and to use in the car (even though I never get lost). :D


Since buying the unit, I've discovered that the pre-loaded map software leaves a lot to be desired. :(
So... I'm in the market to get whatever I need to at least give me Bluechart quality cartography on this thing that shows me more than a field of blue and a few colored ATON's.

The handheld came with the USB cable, so I'm guessing I need to buy the CD of maps... in this case, the Bluechart CD of the "Americas".

pt-BlueChartAmericas8.jpg ... ericas.jsp

What I don't see in the Garmin documentation is how much area I can 'unlock' and download to my unit.
I'd like to pre-load the east coast (if that is possible), as I plan on bringing a boat up from Miami to Annapolis next month.

Does anyone know how large an area can be unlocked and downloaded at a time?

Unfortunately Garmin is still a bit behind the times, as their software only works on windows (I'm a Mac OS X driver), though I do believe I can convince my neighbor to let me borrow his PeeCee for this. Any word of wisdom on this? Once I get the unlock code, could I do this on almost any PeeCee?

I know... lots of questions, but I was hoping someone had already done this and could cut straight to the facts. :)


I have been using a GPSMap 76 (grayscale) for years, loaded with the Bluechart CD. You can only load one region with the CD's single unlock code. To load another region you must purchase another unlock code. I sure wish they would revise this to reflect the current trend of nationwide coverage with one fee. My unit has only about 8 megs of memory, so I couldn't put more than one region in at a time, however there are times when I trailer down to the OBX and I wish I could switch maps on the unit without having to purchase a new code. The border of the Chesapeake region is right around Rudee Inlet, VA Beach. The next region runs from Va Beach to Charleston. Check this on their site, I haven't reviewed this stuff in a good while.

There is another option to purchase a larger coastal area for more money but I'm not going to throw that much cash into charts for a portable that I intend to replace soon. Right now the preloaded units are becoming very attractive. The GPSMap 76 will be my backup then as well.

Do you use chips in your 2010? Perhaps you could use a Garmin card reader to dump your current Bluechart maps into the handheld? That would be one less region to purchase. You probably already own the Chesapeake Bay.

(Edit: The codes for any maps are good for only two GPS units. They encrypt them during installation to prevent use on any other units. If you want to load them onto more units, you must buy another unlock code.)

Being a Mac user as well, the Garmin software incompatibility has really bummed me for years. I have been able to run the CD using Macintosh Virtual PC and everything works except the USB connection. I use an old PC to download/upload maps and data to the unit; That's the only thing I use that computer for. When I finally upgrade to the new Intel Macs it will be interresting to see if the USB connection will finally work.

I have not kept up with the Mapsource CD updates and new releases, so everything I have on my unit is two or three years old, therefore much of this info is dated, YMMV. I have enjoyed using the CD at home on bad days when I could play with entering new waypoints, reefs, wrecks, etc., and download them into the handheld. This really saves time rather than trying to peer into that tiny screen when bouncing around on the water. Garmin is very good at updating the software and I really wish they would give us Mac users a break. I suspect the future of Mapsource is bleak because of the current trends in preloaded units. This is a shame because I like the software. Being able to modify maps and data in the house on a full size keyboard, then carry it easily to the boat is a boon! This makes a lot of sense to me, rather than sitting in a boat, keying in info on a few buttons.

On my B&W unit there are some map features that are not accessible, either because of color restrictions or lack of memory. This may or may not be a problem for you. I wish you luck with the new unit. I have used mine to navigate in some circumstances where it really saved my butt (fog, disorientation, hard rain, dark nights), and it will be a great backup for you. It also is great to bring along when you 'Ho on other people's boats. Just don't let the captain of any charter trips you might take catch you using it to mark his fishing holes! They hate that!