When sailing, being able to navigate and plan routes is important. Not only do you have to be mindful of weather forecasts, but keeping an eye out for shipping routes is essential. Tracking down up to date charts can often be a hassle and they can be difficult to use. Nowadays, there is an app for everything, from cooking to fitness and now there are apps for boating navigation. Whilst you may not like the idea of taking your mobile or tablet on board while you sail, a majority of the apps constantly update their maps and routes making them an indispensable tool.
Available for both iPhone/iPads and Android, this app includes charts for the UK as well as the US, France and Ireland. It comes with route planning and tracking and provides AIS for ship positions. It has full offline support as well as a built in compass and boat beacon in the event of emergencies that can give the position of you ship. It can also warn you in the event of a ship collision. The app costs £5.84 on Android and IOS.
For £1.99 on the iTunes store, this app provides a 7 day tide predication in the UK and worldwide. You do not need wifi or a mobile data connection and the data is based on historical tide measurements. While it does not use real time data, it is advised that it should be used in conjunction with other apps.
For the iPhone/iPad, this app provides a complete chart plotter. It gives you guidance when traversing routes and way to points alongside integrated weather forecasts and tide predictions. Comes with offline support and updates maps every seven days from NOAA servers. Download from the iTunes store for £6.99
Free for both Android and IOS, this app allows for easy route creation. It also displays information on tides and weather, while giving auto-routine and sonar charts. You can upload and download data from the Navionic Community and contribute information. The excellent Navionic Gold Vector charts come with map, terrain and satellite overlays.
£4.62 on Android, the app comes with detailed maps with road and satellite images. As well as providing boat information and positions it gives COG and SOG as well. It can allow the user to pick way points and plot routes by importing them as GPX files. The app comes with multiple light settings that can be used in a variety of conditions, be it sailing at mid-day or at the dead of night. (We suggest not sailing at night.)
In conclusion, there is a wide range of apps out there that all share the same functionalities. When choosing a navigation app for sailing, the features you need to consider are:
- Import/Export Way points
- Community guidebook integration
- Ease of use
Cost is also an important factor. Most apps come with NOAA charts but some regions need to be paid to download, but they come with one year’s free subscription upon purchase with chart updates. If you are still unsure of your options, contact an expert for further advise
Harry Price is enjoys spending quality-time with his 3 dogs, training for the most extreme marathons and volunteering at his local charities on his time off. He is a technology lover and unashamed texting addict.