Garmin Software Updates Part 2: Using ActiveCaptain to Update

GPSMAP 7616xsv software update

Marine Electronics / November 27, 2020 / tags:

Garmin ActiveCaptain is the ultimate way to stay connected while boating. With ActiveCaptain, you can manage your marine experience from nearly anywhere, accessing information on your Garmin chartplotter or fishfinder to plan a trip or connect with the Garmin boating community via your compatible mobile device. However, to ensure access to the latest information and features, keeping your software up to date is essential.

Fortunately, Garmin makes updating easier with over-the-air access to software updates. Software updates can be received wirelessly on most Garmin marine electronic devices. Download them directly to your mobile device for easy wireless syncing through ActiveCaptain the next time you’re aboard your vessel – no need for an active transfer.

What Devices are Compatible with ActiveCaptain Wireless Updates? 

  • ECHOMAP Series
    • Ultra
    • Plus 6 / 7 / 9
    • UHD 6 / 7 / 9
  • GPSMAP Series
    • 10×3
    • 12×2
    • 7×2
    • 9xx
    • 74xx / 76xx
    • 8xxx
  • STRIKER Series
    • 7 / 9

Are You Ready? ActiveCaptain System Requirements

 Before attempting to download or sync updates, make sure your system is compatible to avoid technology hiccups. To run ActiveCaptain on your smartphone or tablet, you will need an iOS 11.0 or Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or newer operating system with a Class 10 micro/SD card. For ECHOMAP devices, you’ll need a 4-32 GB chip; for GPSMAP devices, an 8-32GB chip is recommended.

How to Update System Software Through Garmin ActiveCaptain

  1. Know your (data) limits.
    Updating via the ActiveCaptain app means transferring large files. Check your mobile carrier or ISP rates before downloading updates to avoid stretching data limits or incurring fees. NOTE: Using your cellular data connection is NOT recommended due to large amounts of data and lengthened download times.
  2. Download ActiveCaptain to your mobile device.
    After finding and downloading it from the AppStore or Google Play store, open the ActiveCaptain app on your device.
  3. Pair your compatible Garmin chartplotter/fishfinder with ActiveCaptain.
    You will typically see a prompt identifying “a new ActiveCaptain user.” Select YES/NO, depending on if you are the vessel owner.
  4. Disconnect your mobile device from your chartplotter/fishfinder’s wireless network.
    Connect it to another Wi-Fi network for now.
  5. Search for updates.
    In the ActiveCaptain app, choose “My Marine Devices.” If the app does not automatically search for available updates, select “Check Now” to perform a manual search.
  6. Download available updates.
    Using a reliable Wi-Fi connection, download the software updates. Remember, using your cellular data connection is NOT recommended.
  7. Reconnect your mobile device to your chartplotter/fishfinder’s wireless network.
    After the update is complete, reconnect to the chartplotter/fishfinder’s Wi-Fi network. ActiveCaptain will transfer the Garmin software update automatically. NOTE: The transfer may take quite a while.
  8. Install the update.
    When the transfer is finished, a prompt will appear. Select “Review,” then “Install Now.” Don’t worry if the prompt disappears. You can activate the updates by going to the ActiveCaptain page on your chartplotter/fishfinder, selecting “Software Updates,” then “Install Now.”
  9. Make sure your chartplotter/ fishfinder is plugged in and start the update.
    Select “Yes” to start the update. NEVER disconnect or power off your marine device mid-update. Doing so may damage the device.
  10.  Restart your device.
    When prompted, restart your chartplotter/fishfinder, and the update will be complete, including devices connected to it over NMEA 2000 or through the Garmin Marine Network. NOTE: You may need to reconnect your mobile device to your chartplotter/fishfinder’s Wi-Fi network to proceed with using ActiveCaptain.

Looking for an easier way to keep up with software updates? Garmin has you covered. Give your marine technology an upgrade. Talk to a J-TEK Marine product specialist about the latest Garmin marine electronics products for your vessel today.


Find out if you need an Garmin Software Update for your device now.