Sailing technology has come a long way since sextants and moon compasses.
In fact, some of the most useful boating technology out there now comes in app form, from Android to iOS!
Whether you’re a casual boater, a deep-sea fisherman or a professional mariner, these eight apps may offer a high-tech solution for a problem you didn’t even know you had.
SailFlow is the brainchild of meteorologists and engineers so you know it’s good. It’s most effective for predicting weather patterns wherever you’re sailing to and offers useful features like almanac charts, radar maps, and even real-time weather alerts, all pulling data from some 50,000 worldwide weather stations. Avoiding a swell comes at a price though, and SailFlow charges monthly (more months means a cheaper rate.) It’s available on iOS and Android.
Using Aye Tides 10,000 data-point system, users can see how deep the water is at any given spot and find out what the tides are up to. You can actually use the $9.99 iOS-only app to predict tide patterns well into the future and since the app instantly downloads the data to your mobile device you don’t have to worry about having a web connection to use it.
Boating can be complicated and Boating Suite, now in its second generation, hopes to change all that. It describes itself as “7 Apps in One” and essentially allows you to keep all your boat-related info in one place, from maintenance to-dos, items to buy, and even how much repairs have cost you over a set period of time. Great for first-time boaters, Boating Suite is under $10 and available only for Apple products.
No boater likes to think about falling overboard but it happens more often than you’d think. The $2 Apple Man Overboard app is simple: when someone falls overboard, hit the main button on the interface and the boat will be guided back to that point until the person is found. Since a boat can drift 500 yards in 1 minute the app can actually save a life.
Sometimes you don’t know what you need to know until it’s too late! At $4.99 this Apple-friendly app answers any questions you have, from legal requirements for life jackets to a diagramed-description of how to dock in headwind. Every boater should have a reference guide on board and this one’s well-fleshed out.
Compass Eye Not only is this Apple compass app great at giving you directions it actually combines the functionality of your phone’s camera with a see-through compass directional. It’s difficult to go off course when you’re looking directly through your phone and direction lines.
Who says all mariners have to own their own boat? Boat Bookings is a yacht charter app and it’s totally free…and don’t let the word “yacht” scare you. There are hundreds of boat options, from large to small, and you can use the map function to find an available boat near you right from your iPhone.
myLite Flashlight and Strobe
Flashlight apps are a dime a dozen but this one’s got the added feature of an SOS indicator light you can actually use to signal other boaters if you find yourself in distress. Couple that with a wide variety of other lighting effects including an unbelievably powerful flashlight and you’ve got a multi-purpose tool that’s always in your pocket.
Boating technology is nothing to be afraid of and can actually make your marine experience more enjoyable and less stressful. Once you figure out which apps save you time on the water you’ll forget you were ever skeptical.
Ryan is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.