10 Best Apps For Boating

June, 2019

“There’s an app for that!”

You might have heard the phrase, or even used it yourself to describe the ubiquitous mobile phone software that connects everyone with the cyberworld. Not surprisingly, there are apps for just about any boating need. Reserve a slip from your phone, find the best times to fish, file and share a float plan and check the marine weather. Yep, there are apps for ALL that.

You can spend hours Googling boating apps. There are really that many. Most boating apps are free, and you can tap even further into their goodies with subscriptions and paid upgrades.

Download those apps best suited for your boating needs. And the next time someone asks a boating question, you can reply, “There’s an app for that!”

 

Windy.app
What it does:
 Displays real-time wave, tide and wind direction and velocity from weather stations on animated high-definition maps. Forecasts for winds, waves and tides are shown in easy-to-read color graphs.

Why you need it: Find out if the wind is friend or foe depending on your outing. Anglers will like it for determining how the wind sets up on their favorite fishing spots. Cruisers will find it useful for planning routes and finding calm water anchorages. Alert settings can keep you informed of high winds and hazardous weather.

What it costs: The app is free to download with subscriptions beginning at $9.99 for one month and $29.99 for the year.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar
What it does:
 With a flick of the finger, you can zoom into animated radars around your current location. The radar images are processed using a propriety software that gathers raw data from the National Weather Service. “Feels Like” temperature, jet stream wind layering, a hurricane tracker and weather alerts and push notifications are available.

Why you need it: You get a real-time or forecasted look at inclement weather to plan your trip and find out where to avoid storms. Fast and accurate HD radar and advanced wind animations make it seaworthy for boaters. So do the hourly and 10-day forecasts displaying temperature, precipitation and wind direction. You can enable a number of layers that include animated real-time winds and temperature shading. Turn on the NWS Warning and MyRadar will push out alerts of dangerous weather.

What it costs: The app is free and you can pay for upgrades like the Hurricane Tracker ($2.99) and a professional radar pack ($6.99).

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices Google Play for Android devices.

FishWeather
What it does:
 While FishWeather lists current winds (speed, direction and gusts) and waves (height, direction and frequency) in real time, it is the short-term forecasts for specific locales that stand out for anglers. Fish­Weather’s exclusive weather station network and crowdsourcing are used to provide boating-specific weather data. Inland lakes, rivers and coastal bay and offshore waters are covered.

Why you need it: FishWeather gives you the ability to pan around its map of weather stations to compare forecasts from given areas. Those give you an idea of localized winds and other conditions to plan your trip. The more you zoom in, the more weather stations appear. Upgraded features include sea surface temperatures, tide reports, nautical charts and more.

What it costs: The app is free with premium features beginning at $3.99.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

Navionics Boating Marine & Lakes
What it does:
 You get basics like tracks, routes, markers, distance, weather, tides and currents. It is the advanced features, though, that make this app so appealing. Fishing Ranges displays up to five depth ranges on SonarChart so you can hone in on productive fishing spots. SonarChart Live allows you to create 1-foot HD bathymetry maps in real time as your boat moves along the water.

Why you need it: Sure, you can find the basics elsewhere but not with the reputation of Garmin’s powerful technology that is crammed into this app. With the one-year subscription, you can download chart layers for offline use, get daily chart updates and dock-to-dock autorouting. The ActiveCaptain Community crowdsourcing adds points of interest, like hazards, ramps and marinas.

What it costs: The app is free with a slew of upgrades available for creating customized add-on modules.  

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

U.S. Coast Guard
What it does:
 You can enter a float plan viewable by friends and family, brush up on navigation rules, report boating hazards and polluted water and get current boating conditions from NOAA weather buoys. A plus for traveling boaters is the ability to find boating laws by state. You can use a boating safety checklist and even schedule a free safety check for your boat.

Why you need it: This app is loaded with practical features than can be a life saver. Should you need immediate help but don’t have a marine radio, the emergency assistance button can connect you with the nearest Coast Guard command center to summons help.

What it costs: The app is free.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

BoatUS App
What it does:
 BoatUs members needing a tow can use One-Touch Towing. This feature relays your request to a TowBoatUS captain, who will confirm your location from your device GPS. You will then receive a text message with the ETA of the rescue boat. That in itself is reassuring to have, but there is more to the app, such as weather, tides and overall good, practical boating information. A BoatUS membership is not required to access many of the features.

Why you need it: The app is worth it for BoatUS members, and there are many other benefits of having a membership. Even if you aren’t a member, the app has a lot of useful boating information from one of the most trusted names in boating safety.

What it costs: The app is free.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

Snag-A-Slip
What it does:
 Browse marinas from coast to coast and reserve a slip using the online reservation system—all with your mobile phone. 

Why you need it: This app is a no brainer for traveling boaters. You can book dockage ahead of time to eliminate the hassle of searching for a slip while underway. Or you can read reviews and recommendations for businesses along your route.

What it costs: The app is free.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

MarineTraffic
What it does:
 Using a vessel’s onboard Automated Identification System (AIS), this app displays real-time positions of ships and yachts on a Google Earth map. 

Why you need it: If your boating takes you near major ports, the app is a cool tool for making you aware of and helping you avoid commercial vessels, especially at night. For kicks, you can see photos of the tracked vessels, as well as lighthouses, harbors and other notable points of interest.

What it costs: The app costs $4.99 with customized upgrades available.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

Planets
What it does:
 Shows a celestial 3D view of the sky above you with easy identification of planets and constellations.

Why you need it: Intended for amateur astronomers, this is a cool app to have under dark skies while boating. Have you sometimes wondered whether or not that bright light is a planet or star? Well, now there is an app for that, too.

What it costs: The app is free.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

TieUpCo
What it does:
 Plan your perfect day on the water and invite friends—new or old—to join in the fun. This socially inclined app lets you find a party cove, a quiet cove or a restaurant or marina to meet up with friends. You can even see where they are using the app.

Why you need it: To make time on the water more fun by adding a social spin to your boating lifestyle.

What it costs: The app is free.

Where to find it: In the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

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