There’s an App for That
Get the most out of your smartphone or tablet while out on the water with these apps, some new, some tried-and-true.
NOAA Buoy and Tide Data ($1.99; iPhone, iPad)
Ever wonder what the wind and waves are like “out there”? Wonder no more with this app for the iPhone and iPad. This simple app lets you view the data from hundreds of weather buoys—barometric pressure, wave heights, temperature, wind speed— covering North America, Europe, and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. You can access info from tide stations as well.
Marine Weather Pro ($1.99; Android)
Similar to the Buoy and Tide app, this app for Android phones includes marine forecasts, tides, and radar in addition to weather buoy data.
iGrib ($4.99; iPhone, iPad)
Developed by a sailor, iGrib is a handy iPhone and iPad app for passage planning. It’s an easy-to-use grib file viewer that you can use for finding weather windows or ideal breezes to make fast and safe passages.
Knot Guide ($1.99; iPhone, Android), Knot Guide HD ($2.99; iPad)
Rated as the number one knot tying app on Apple’s App Store, Knot Guide will show you how to tie 95 different knots. How’s that for salty?
RadarScope ($9.99; iPhone, iPad)
Since most sailors tend to be weather buffs as well, here is a great radar app. RadarScope offers highly detailed, NEXRAD Level 3 radar data and severe weather warnings. Definitely useful when you are trying to figure out when that squall line is going to push through.
Ship Finder ($4.99; iPhone, Android), Ship Finder HD ($7.99; iPad)
While it’s definitely not a replacement for real AIS, this app is still fun and useful. It displays almost real-time AIS data—MMSI number, heading, call sign, etc.—how cool! This app is also available in a limited free version.
Tide Graph ($1.99; iPhone), Tide Graph HD ($1.99, iPad)
All the tide data that you need at a glance. Tide info can be seen in table format, or as an interactive graph. There is also handy info on the sun and moon rise and set times as well as moon phases.
Marine Cast ($5.99; iPhone, iPad, Android)
This cool app is a must for sailors. Using info from SailFlow, Marine Cast offers detailed wind conditions and predictions, computer model forecasts, National Weather Service reports, radar and satellite images, and more.
Anchor Alert ($16; Android)
Is the anchor dragging? This app can let you know if you need to crawl out of your bunk at 2 a.m. to reset the hook. You set your anchor’s location and allowed swing radius, and using GPS data, this app will let you know when you’ve drifted too far. Too bad it doesn’t operate the windlass as well.
Navionics ($14.99 and up depending on location; iPhone, Android), Navionics HD ($34.99 and up; iPad)
Turn your device into a chart plotter! With charts available for just about any place that you’d want to cruise, this might just be the most useful app of all.
ezSights ($9.99; iPhone, iPad)
For you celestial navigation nuts out there, here’s an app that can help make calculations much easier. You enter the observations that you made with your sextant into the app, and it generates a fix. This app uses its internal Nautical Almanac values and the same algorithms used by the US Naval Observatory. It also contains an animated star map to help you find and identify navigational bodies.
And here are two apps that have nothing to do with sailing, but can make your time aboard that much more enjoyable…
Stanza (free; iPhone, iPad)
Turns your iPhone or iPad into an e-reader with access to thousands of free and paid books. Think of all the space you could save on your bookshelf!
Pandora (free; iPhone, iPad, Android)
With this app, you can stream music over your device. Just enter a favorite musical genre, artist, or song, and Pandora will generate a personal “station” for you. Good stuff!
So- What's your favorite app? Check out our new CW Forum topic here. This will be the place to go to find out about new apps and to let everyone know when you've found something cool!