Mobiles and tablets are today our life companions. They offer us a series of facilities that are difficult to do without once tried. The majority of us never leave home without our smartphones and, as in the city, even on a boat, it seems really difficult to leave our smartphone and fully enjoy the surrounding reality. There was a time when sailing meant abandoning everything and everyone and isolating yourself for a while.
However, the nautical world didn’t remain outside the significant development that mobile devices’ applications have experienced. Like any leisure or sports activity, on Android or Apple devices, we can find marine apps that will help us plan our journey better and enjoy it more. Both for safety reasons and because technology actually helps a lot, apps represent valid support when you need to solve all those small and big doubts that may arise during your sailing journey.
With so many good navigation apps available, which are the most useful? There’re lots of handy and helpful apps, so let’s see in this article 5 best sailing apps available on the App Store and Google Play.
1. Boat Beacon
Price: 13,99 € Android – 16,99 € IOS
Boat Beacon is a marine AIS ship tracking app that provides collision detection and the possibility to share your boat’s position. It has a reliable collision detection system for iPhone and iPad or Android smartphones and tablets that allows you to receive AIS data (from the Internet) without having to install an AIS receiver on your boat. It also displays alarms and alerts on ships that are in a potential collision. You can directly talk with other Boat Beacon users in real-time and for free, an extremely useful function when sailing in a flotilla. Your family and friends can also see where you’re and where you’re headed as it has a free web version for users available.
Price: Free for Android and IOS (In-app purchasing )
Navionics is one of the best sailing apps full of functions and information, and maybe it is the most popular navigation app. It provides nautical charts for sailing and for those who go fishing, diving and practice any water activities. Besides nautical charts, there are also tips on where to fish, details on the seabed or of the most interesting areas for diving. You will have the same maps for seas and lakes and advanced functions of the best GPS plotters. It does so by basically turning your phone (or tablet) into a chart plotter with the same cartographic detail and a vast array of planning and navigation functions, vector cartography, wind forecasts, tide and current data also updated by users. The app is free but the individual nautical charts that cover the whole world, divided into 20 areas, are subject to a fee.
Price: Android and IOS – Basic: Free; Premium: $ 39,99
SeaPilot provides AIS boat tracking and up-to-date nautical charts on to your mobile device in a user-friendly way. This navigation app includes full navigational functions, with the ability to download world-wide nautical charts; however, most of the charts are subject to subscription (only US charts are for free). The app also includes real-time weather forecasts and routing, and automatic updates of chart data.
Price: Free for Andriod and IOS (In-app purchasing)
Navily is a guide in Europe considered the TripAdvisor of sailing available in French, Spanish, German and Italian. Its main feature is the +50,000 contributions on anchorages, marinas, on wind protection, type of anchoring and much more. However, the reviews and photos updated by the users of its community are its strong suits. The process of booking a berth in their partner marinas in more than 10 countries has never been easier! Among other functions, you can calculate the price of one night for your boat at any time of the year, talk real-time with the customer service from the application and create your favourite lists to organise your next trips to the sea.
Price: Free Standard Version and 19.90 € for Pro Users; Android and IOS
Probably the best sailing app for weather. With six-hourly updates based on the GFS and WRF models, you can access wind and weather forecast from everywhere in the world. The WRF model is delayed by six hours unless you subscribe (€19.90 a year). It is a well-known application for sailors, simple to use with a high degree of reliability.