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Garmin - Waypoints/Routes/Tracks - Transfer

How to transfer – Waypoints, Routes & Tracks > Garmin 168i to Garmin 741xs

by | Last updated: Sep 12, 2023

Garmin Data Transfer – Using NMEA 0183

I have been actively using 3 very old Garmin units over the last 15 years on our summer trips through the Bahamas. I had (2) Garmin 168i  and  (1) Garmin 178C. Yes, I hear ya… antiquated for sure but some things I just hate to give up. All 3 were completely filled with all our favorite “secret” Yellow Tail holes, locations of every Blue Marlin we’ve ever caught, and tracks through areas that had me on my toes the first time through. So off on my mission, I went…

I just picked up a refurbished Garmin 741xs that I planned to use as a cabin unit for when we are at anchor and now I really wanted to get the 852 waypoints, 30 saved routes, and 30 some odd prized breadcrumb tracks from Florida all the way to Turks and Caicos safely loaded onto the 741xs.

Now there are several ways to do this. However, if you don’t have access to a computer, the necessary software for those older units, and data wires, then the simplest way I found was just to connect the units to the 741xs and let them talk. I contacted Garmin support to see if this would work and he said yes, in theory, it should work.

One of the easiest technical things I have done in quite some time. Surprised me when it all went off without a hitch. Well… Just about.

The process I used…

I transferred data from all 3 old to the new 741xs one at a time.

I set up one of the old 168i s and the new 741xs on the salon table where I had plenty of room to spread out and connected them both to the same 12-volt power source. Next…

  • Connected the Blue NMEA 0183 (out) of the 168i to the Brown NMEA 0183 (in) from the 741xs.
  • Connected the Brown NMEA 0183 (in) from the 168i to the Blue NMEA 0183 (out) of the 741xs.

Garmin 741xs NMEA 0183 Data Transfer

Turn on Both units:

Set 741xs Communications settings:

  • Home > Settings > Communications > Serial Port 1 > Select – Garmin Data Transfer
  • Should look like this: Serial Port 1  — Garmin 


Set 168i Communication Settings:

  • Goto – Menu page and select – Comm
  • Set – Serial Data Format to – Garmin Data Transfer


To Transfer Waypoints:

  • From Comm Menu > Transfer Mode > arrow down and select > Send Waypoints
  • Once selected you should see the waypoints being transferred to the 741xs.

Follow the same process for Send Tracks and Send Routes.

Garmin Data and Waypoints and tracks Transfer

Garmin 741xs – With all waypoints / Tracks / Routes loaded


  • My Garmin 741xs didn’t have any info in it to start with.
  • I loaded the info from all 3 units to the 741xs. Whenever the waypoint name was a duplicate such as 001 or 002 Garmin was smart enough to just add an extra number like 001 1 and 002 2 so duplicate waypoint numbers were not a problem.
  • Save the current “active” track on the older unit, then clear the track before you transfer tracks. The “active” tracks didn’t transfer exactly correctly and I had to delete them. That was the “Just About” part at the beginning of this post as I didn’t get the 3 active tracks on the 3 older units over to the the 741xs.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this was going to be a pain but turned out to be surprisingly easy. Truth be told, it took longer for me to write about it than it did to do it.  Seems like this should work with any older unit that doesn’t have an SD or Micro SD card slot that you want to transfer over to a newer unit.

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