Are you swotting up for your Officer of the Watch? You'll want to read on; some of these apps could help you pass the much dreaded Oral Exam.
Nav Rules Pro [Apple Devices] £2.99:
“Navigation Rules contains a complete copy of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGS), including amendments and the Inland Navigation Rules, in effect for all inland waters, including the Great Lakes.”
Available for iPhone, this app has the entire catalogue of the so called 'Rules of the Road'. Also containing COLREGS Demarc Lines, Penalty Provisions, Alternative Compliance and more, it's quite the resource.
There are a few great extra features that make this app more helpful than relying on an an e-book alone. The quick guides to sounds and signals, steering and sailing are accompanied by uncomplicated and colourful diagrams and are easy to understand- even for someone with no prior knowledge. The "tape" function allows you to "tape" the things you struggle with so that you have easy access to them. This makes them accessible for bite-sized revision or, if you have a friend who will help, you can have them test you.
Worth a mention is the ‘Miscellaneous’ section that has tools to calculate range estimates and radar horizons. The optional extras are also a nice touch, although a shame that they are at an extra cost when it is supposedly the 'Pro' version already. The Boat Calculator function allows you to easily calculate fuel consumption, range and weight.
Quite aside from OOW preparation this app is a great resource to keep handy on your phone or iPad. Imagine how helpful it will be when you're a captain and your VHF breaks and you need to signal the port of Monaco in semaphore flags. Or your new stewardess doesn't use proper radio etiquette. Or you have a sudden desire to learn morse code. All of this very useful knowledge will be at your fingertips.
So, what’s missing? The only thing I feel is lacking is a testing section. I think it would be great to have the option to not only add rules or sections to your 'tape' but to be randomly quizzed based on highlighted text or most-read sections. Or even to create your own test based on parts you find the most difficult.
This leads me on to :
Starpath NavRules [Apple Devices] £10.49
This app has the entire catalogue of rules as above, but with one crucial difference: its extensive testing capacity. From a pool of over 1000 questions (yes-1000, daunting, isn't it) you can choose how many you’d like to answer and which rules you want to cover. When completed, you’re given a percentage score and the option to review the ones you got wrong.
It gives you a tool to track your revision and progress, allowing you to view completed tests and previous scores, as well as the option to take a test consisting of only questions you’ve gotten wrong. It doesn’t have all the handy calculators that NavRules Pro has, but realistically they’re more for day-to-day use than exam preparation.
There’s no doubt it’s useful, usable and generally good. But the price? Well, it’s expensive. Many people won’t buy an app over a couple of pounds, so it’s a stretch, especially as it doesn’t give the option to see whether you like it on a free version or limited version. One way to look at it may be to consider how much you pay each time you sit your oral, and whether an extra £10.49 will break the bank.
So maybe you don’t have an iPad or iPhone and are wondering, 'I'm on Android, what about me?' Well, you’re catered for too.
The app has 4 sections:
1. The Nav Lights section features graphics & descriptions of the lights that are displayed by different vessels at night.
2. The Day Shapes section features graphics & descriptions of the shapes that are displayed during daylight.
3. A quiz in the Test Yourself section features multiple combinations of lights & shapes to test your knowledge.
4. The ColRegs section features the rules in full.
Use the Test Yourself section to check your knowledge and application of the rules. If you answer any incorrectly, go back and read through the rule again.
A good understanding of the ColRegs is essential for all people who go to sea in sailing and power boating craft. A candidate for Yachtmaster exams should be aiming to achieve at least 80% pass marks.
Given the difficulty of the OOW, you need to be aiming for 100%.
The makers of this app also created ‘Colregs:Rules of the Road’ (iOS and Android)which covers all of the remaining rules. In the same easily navigable layout, with the testing function and same great diagrams, this app should get you well on your way.
I feel as though dividing it up into two apps is a very sneaky way to make you spend more, but the total is still less than the starpath apps at £1.99 each. The only downside of this is that when testing yourself you must use both apps.
Overall, there are plenty of resources for you aspiring officers, and depending on budget, any of the above are very good options. If you try them out for yourself we’d love to know how you get on.
Navigation Rules Pro
ColRegs: Nav Lights & Shapes for Boating and Sailing
ColRegs: Rules of the Road