In the latest installment of the Daily Boater's weekly Marine Product Review, Mark Sutton of MarineProductReviews.com reviews the Iris 50 hand bearing compass, a must-have navigation tool for any size boat.
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Now, on to the review...
The Iris 50 compass from Plastimo is a “hockey puck” style hand bearing compass that is compact and lightweight, weighing in at only 4oz. It’s easy and unobtrusive to wear around your neck or stuff in your pocket making the compass handy and at the ready for taking bearings.
This style of hand bearing compass enables you to hold it close to your eye to take the reading in a relatively steady position; many people find these easier than pistol grip compasses which require you to hold them at arm’s length, increasing the degree of difficulty in getting an accurate bearing as the boat is in rough conditions.
Legibility and accuracy stand out as strengths with the Plastimo Iris 50. The prism projects the reading of the bearing to infinity. This means that you hold the compass right next to your eye, site the lubber line on an object on the horizon and can clearly read the bearing down to the degree very clearly. The reading appears clear even to someone who needs reading glasses and struggles with reading anything close; this is a huge advantage.
The Iris 50 is also quite effective at night. The compass has built-in photoluminescent lighting (which is maintenance-free and operates without batteries). Basically, all you have to do is hold the compass under a light for even a few seconds and the card can clearly be read even in pitch black.
The Iris 50 has a sturdy rubberized outer shell that fits perfectly in your hand so it won’t slip, even when wet. The outer shell also provides protection against shock if it were to be dropped. It’s a very solid and rugged compass that is appropriate for even rough boating conditions.
There are a wide variety of makes and styles of hand bearing compasses to choose from. In considering which hand bearing compass to buy, you should look for a compass that is rugged, accurate, compact and easily used in rough or night conditions. You will find the Iris 50 from Plastimo to be all of these things.
In summary, the Iris 50 is an outstanding quality navigational tool for any boater. It is rugged and well constructed so it will last for many years. It’s a tool that any serious boater should have. Its accuracy and legibility make it very user friendly and a reliable resource on board. You can find the Iris 50 for between $80 - $90 at most marine suppliers.
Find more reviews by Mark Sutton at his site, Marine Product Reviews.