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Kevin Smith takes a detailed look at the Doctor Sonar DVDs, and has even learnt a new trick or two.

As technology continues to evolve and become more accessible, things like top-of-the-range GPS, sonar and StructureScan are becoming commonplace on many boats. Typically, however, we all seem to labour under the misconception that the more you pay, the easier the system is to operate. However, that is far from the case.

In reality, latest-generation systems have so many technical features to help "enhance" your skills on the water that it really can’t be like that. Rather, you have to take the time to familiarise yourself with the operating functions to get the most out of your gear.


With its latest Doctor Sonar educational DVDs, marine electronics company Navico now offers the solution to getting the most out of your Lowrance HDS and Elite units. These DVDs comprehensively cover the Lowrance and Elite set-ups: how they work, installation, interpreting what you see, advanced features and settings and, most importantly, loads of information on optimising your skills on the StructureScan.

For novices, this type of tuition is very beneficial because the DVDs take you from the basic installation (if you are up to doing it yourself) through to setting up your unit (or units) on the boat, and further into advanced usage when you’re ready.

Personally, I found the DVDs’ advanced usage particularly beneficial, especially on the StructureScan / SideScan set-ups.

I have to admit, I initially struggled when trying to figure out what the hell was going on with my SideScan, specifically how to read the thing. But everything become a lot clearer with some of the DVDs’ tuition on fine-tuning the settings, and it’s now a key part of my successful fishing outings.

For example, rather than leaving sonar and SideScan on standard or pre-set settings, I’m now able to work through the menus more quickly, adjusting as I go to suit where I am and the conditions on the day.

Conditions, positions and depths change as you move along, and I’ve learnt that the settings must change accordingly in order to get the most out of your system.


In addition to mastering StructureScan, there is a very interesting feature on the GPS called StructureMap, which enables you to overlay SideScan data onto your GPS map. This can either be live or as a recorded function, and when recorded can be utilised for stealth fishing, where less pinging from sonar is always welcome.

There are lots of other Doctor Sonar tips, such as mapping and waypoint management, radar usage, and networking tips. It’s just a matter of deciding what areas you need help in, then sitting down in front of the TV or computer to get through it.

It’s a few hours of tuition, some of which can become a little monotonous for already educated users. But even for those in the know, the DVDs are full of beneficial tips and guidelines that will make you sharp on your Lowrance units. My advice is to watch the DVDs in sections rather than all in one hit and, if possible, manually run through the set-ups on your unit at the same time.

Compared to actually reading the manual, this is the far easier option.

Call Navico Australia on (02) 9936 1000 or visit for more information, and visit for a list of authorised Lowrance dealers throughout Australia.


VERDICT: Great for novices and seasoned boaties alike, the Doctor Sonar DVDs will help anyone sharpen up their electronic skills.


Lowrance HDS Educational DVD

RRP: $29.95

This DVD covers the HDS 5, 7, 8, and 10 models. More than two hours of comprehensive coverage includes installation and set-up, features, and menus. You will learn how to get the most out of your HDS quickly and easily.

Lowrance StructureScan DVD

RRP: $19.95

SideScan and DownScan are new technologies that improve the user’s visualisation of the bottom and understanding of how fish relate to structure. Doctor Sonar will teach you how it works, including settings and interpretation. SideScan and DownScan are covered in detail, with many examples to help you visually understand StructureScan.

Lowrance Elite / Mark DVD

RRP: $29.95

Covers all of the Elite / Mark models, including DSI. This tutorial goes for close to two hours and covers installation, set-up, menus, sonar, GPS and settings to help you get the most out of your Elite / Mark model.

Lowrance HDS Advanced DVD

RRP: $29.95

For advanced users hungry for more information after viewing the HDS Educational DVD, this is for you. It covers the HDS 5, 7, 8, and 10 models and Doctor Sonar discusses the advanced areas of the Lowrance HDS such as GPS, networking, sonar, StructureScan, StructureMap, mapping, and waypoint management.


Originally published in TrailerBoat #292, February / March 2013.

Find Lowrance electronics and boats with Lowrance electronics.


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