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Apps’hoy – Top 5 Boating Apps

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In the past, sailors knew how to read the stars, use a sextant and plot charts. These days we have the added benefits of technology, electronic instruments and sailing/ boating apps for our phones and tablets.

There are apps for tides, weather, plotting charts, learning rules, knots or signs, finding other ships and planning your trip. We take a look at the best.

1. Boating Australia & New Zealand HD

By Navionics, this iOS (iPhone and iPad) boating app will give you the same detailed charts as GPS plotters because it has all the Navionics+ apps in one, including Nautical Charts, SonarCharts, Community Edits, Chart Updates, Tracks, Routes, Distance, Markers, Wind Forecasts, and so on.

SonarCharts’ HD bathymetry map shows the seafloor’s topography, which is important for locating shallow areas and fishing spots at any depth. Community Edits comprises inputs created by users and shared for all users. These provide information on rocks, beacons, wrecks, obstructions, buoys, and so on. You can add markers to selected locations and any geo-tagged photos you take will appear on the map.

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: $64.99 (iOS); $17.99 (Android). There is a free version that lets you try the functionality before you purchase the charts.

2. Weatherzone Plus+

Getting the latest local weather information is a breeze with the GPS ‘My Location’ feature of this app. Using Bureau of Meteorology forecasts, it gives real-time information about temperature, relative humidity; dew point; rainfall; wind speed, gusts and direction, and pressure.

Apart from all the regular Weatherzone features, Weatherzone Plus+ offers the sailor:

–       Past 24 hours, month-to-date charts and almanac.

–       Tide charts.

–       Moonrise /moonset for seven days.

–       Marine forecast.

–       Your location shown on the local radar.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: $2.49 (iOS); $1.99 (Android)

3. Marine Rules & Signals

No need to be the new kid on the bay with this handy reference app by Imray. Using diagrams and short, clear text, it gives you the Rules of the Road including steering and sailing rules, and boat markings, while Signals and Communication identifies the meaning of flags, buoys, harbour charts, and so on.

It even offers a learning system so you don’t have to keep referring back to the app.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: $7.49 (iOS); $6.22 (Android)

4. Anchor Watch

Is the anchor dragging? You can fish or sleep secure knowing that Anchor Watch HD by lukassen will keep an eye on it. Using the GPS on your smartphone to monitor the boat’s position, the app will alert you immediately if your boat moves out of its set limits, through phone calls, vibration alerts, popups, email or SMS.

Platform: iOS only

Price: $1.29

5. Float Plan EZ!

It’s good practice to let others know where you’re cruising, and Siegleco’s Float Plan app makes that easy. It stores details about your vessels; crew and trip itinerary so creating a new plan usually just requires changing the itinerary and clicking the email button on your smartphone.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: $2.49 (iOS); $0.99 (Android)

While these apps are excellent and helpful, it’s important not to rely on them. Your phone isn’t waterproof, the connection isn’t always reliable and batteries run down, so learn the skills you need and carry safety gear.

Who’s looking after your boat and trailer when you’re not sailing? We take a look at how you can keep it safe and secure.

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