Our 6 favorite apps for the water
We have technology options like never before. Atlantic Yachtsman spoke with experienced captains from New England to The Keys: here are the 6 apps we suggest prior to your next trip on the water.
In our experience Navionics leads the pack when it it comes to navigational apps and has proven reliable enough that several captains we know use Navionics on an iPad as a secondary plotter at the helm. Ease of use, Dock-to-dock intelligent routing, integration with certain plotters, and crowd sourced data set Navionics apart. Several paid versions are available ranging from $5/yr - $200/yr and offer various amounts of included area and specific features (the differences between them aren't always clear). I use the simple $5/yr version and find that it fits my needs as a secondary plotter and easy way to plan routes and look at different spots while I'm away from the boat. The chart viewer at Navionics.com is also a great resource for looking at detailed charts at home.
Windy.com's simplicity and elegant user interface makes it a favorite for wind forecasts. Used in combination with some of the other weather apps on this list, Windy should provide mariners a very good idea of what sea conditions they'll face when heading out.
Our favorite sea condition forecast source, BuoyWeather offers 2 day forecasts - which are split into morning and afternoon - with its free version and 16 day forecasts are available with the paid version ($14.99/mo or $79.99/yr). Along with sea condition, BuoyWeather's forecast includes wind & tide information as well.
Similar to Windy, we like MyRadar's 1hr 20m continuous radar weather loop because of its simplicity and ease of use- plus it's free.
5. Tide Graph Pro
Tide data from hundreds of stations is presented in an easy-to-use interface that allows users to quickly change dates and view moon schedules. Other tide apps we've used can make finding a specific tide station finicky; Tide Graph Pro solves this by allowing users to select a specific station from a map.
Apps #1-5 are all designed to get us out on the water where, presumably, we'd like to go someplace. Dockwa makes finding, reserving, and paying for transient moorings and docks a breeze. Log into the app to quickly find out if a mooring or dock is available before leaving home. VHF and Phone contact information is available from each location page, plus Marinas.com integration allows users to read and submit marina reviews. More marinas are consistently coming online to Dockwa ensuring that this will be a go-to reservation source for the foreseeable future.
Disclaimer: Atlantic Yachtsman and this author have no affiliation with any of the apps listed here, and have not been compensated for this article in any form.