A GPS receiver must be able to 'see' a satellite in order to receive its signal. If buildings, cliffs or trees obstruct that line of site, the signal from that satellite will not be received and the accuracy of the fix may be degraded. It's possible that the signal may be received as it bounces off another surface so it will take longer time to arrive and will give an inaccurate range. Again this can degrade the fix accuracy.
The signal can penetrate some solid surfaces, such as glass, GRP and canvas, and it is sometimes possible for a receiver antenna mounted inside the boat to work satisfactorily.
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