Man Uses Smartphone On A Boat


Mobile apps have become the go-to applications for anything in day-to-day living. Boating is no exemption. With the release of a lot of boating mobile apps, it is impractical to download each app and try it out yourself. So, I’ve compiled a list of apps I’ve tested myself. Most of these apps are great as long as you have network coverage.


Plan2Nav, an app developed by C-Map, a company known for its cartography products and services is an Apple-based mobile app that can turn your iPad or iPhone into a legit navigation device. Name the essential navigation features: perspective chart viewing, real-time plotting and planning, rotating on-screen compass and wind, wave, weather screen overlay, Plan2Nav has it.

It is popular for the charts it provides. These charts contain port and marina information that no other charts offer. Best of all, this app is for free for download (although in-app purchases are available).


Anchor Watch is another nifty mobile app that provides, well, an anchor watch. What it does is, it monitors your boat to see if the anchor is dragging. This can be extremely useful if you plan to anchor up somewhere and spend the night. Just set the alarm an alarm sector, and you can sleep soundly without having to worry about dragging anchor.


This is a much more specialised app, which is very useful for boats using a Mercury engine. Keep in mind that the engine has to be made in the year 2004 and above for the app to work.

What it mostly does is, it provides you with local port information, assists you with managing fuel and lets you associate the images from a smartphone with points of interest. It can also be your automated mechanic by plugging the Bluetooth module into your Mercury engine’s diagnostic port and then placing the resistor end (yellow or red plug in the socket) in the module’s harness. It will check your engine and tells you if you need to make port or have the engine checked after your voyage.

It’s just like what a mechanic does when they take a look at your engine. It does have a hefty price but is very handy.


INavX is probably one of the most powerful navigation apps out on the market today. You can navigate by markers, contours, set a course and all the info you’d expect from a chart plotter. It also displays data like ETA, course and speed over ground. Plus, you can download satellite SSTs, overlay weather radar and other useful GRIB data.


For all the anglers who own boats out there, FishWeather is a great tool to have. If your boat is less than 30 feet in length, encountering howling winds can be very dangerous. The best case scenario is that you’ll have a long, sloppy and slow ride back.


SeaPilot is a combo app that has both navigation and Automatic Identification System (AIS) features. The basic app has full navigation features and allows you to download worldwide nautical charts. The cool thing about this app is that it enables your smartphone or tab to connect via WiFi to your boat’s NMEA-compatible sensors.

Aside from that, SeaPilot provides routing data, real-time weather forecasts and updates of chart data too. The app is free to download, but the other advanced features can only be obtained via in-app purchases.


The Boat Beacon app is a simple app that turns your smartphone or tablet into an AIS receiver. If you’ve got all the navigational gadgets except for an AIS receiver, Boat Beacon is an excellent stand-in (as long as you have cell service). It also provides data on the speed, distance and ship type of all vessels in the area.


iSailGPS is one of the most inexpensive navigation apps today. Its unique feature is its ability to import and export waypoints, routes and tracks. You can get the necessary data for heading, bearing, speed, distance and position as well. Mostly favoured by sailors who sail locally, it’s one of the most straightforward but most useful navigation apps you can download.


The Fugawi PathAway GPS Express Edition is an Android-based app you can use for your smartphone or tablet. It can plot tracks, waypoints and routes. Its most redeeming feature, though, is probably its customizable charts and layered maps. It also displays data for wind, temperature and precipitation for an additional cost. The pro version of the app adds features that can track other boats and display several tracks and routes simultaneously.

There are a lot of navigation apps out there that can help make your boating experience a whole lot better and safer. When assessing which app is most useful for you, consider all the information that you need and base your decision on that. Another thing to consider is the app’s ease of use. If an app isn’t as seamless and user-friendly even though it provides advanced features, it might not be the best choice for a beginner. If you think you can manage it, though, then by all means, go ahead. At the end of the day, it all boils down to preference.



Is there anything you can add? Share your thoughts below.

Martin White
Martin White

Martin is huge on everything outdoors and is even bigger on driving and technology. He loves boats, new stuff and writing about it.