Best Apps for Sailing and Boating

I've often said that one of my favorite aspects of sailing is the ease at which you can unplug yourself from the complexities and over abundance of technologies. However, I'm also a bit of a gadget junkie and have become very fond of my iPad, even while on the boat. What follows is a list of my favorite apps for sailing. All are available in Apple's app store (and likely in the Android market too) and work on both an iPad and iPhone.

1) Navionics HD: While expensive compared to most apps, Navionics HD is an outright bargain when compared to tradition chartplotters. The bathymetric charts are beautifully detailed and include the option of overlaying Google Earth, Bing aerial photos or topographic terrain maps for land. Functions include tracks, route planning and guidance, speed data and many other goodies you would expect from a gps plotter.  You can view my more in depth review of the Navionics app here.

2) Sail Master: This is a simple app, but it looks and works great. Think of Sail Master as your digital instrument panel. The app shows boat speed, boat position (lat & long), and heading. As a bonus, there's also an inclinometer to see your angle of heel. Each instrument can be shown onscreen individually or in a nice combo screen showing all data. The teak and brass look of the instruments really makes the aesthetics pop.

3) Ship Finder HD: If you don't have AIS on your boat, Ship Finder brings the data to a screen near you...sort of. You can't transmit your position with the app, but any commercial or recreational vessel that's transmitting can be displayed on your screen. You'll get the usual AIS data such as vessel destination, course, speed, length, etc. This probably shouldn't be relied upon for navigation and traffic avoidance, but it's a fun tool. [Check here for a more in depth review of Ship Finder and other AIS apps]

4) Wind Meter: Here's your anemometer for the iPhone. This isn't quite as accurate as a handheld Windmate or your masthead anemometer, but it's a cheap, simple app that gives wind data good enough to be useful. I love the ingenuity of using the wind noise coming through the iPhone microphone combined with algorithms to spit out an approximate wind speed.

5) Compass HD: This is as simple as it sounds - just a nautical-looking and functional compass for your idevice.

6) MyRadar: There are many good weather apps available and most include weather radar. However, not many are as simple, reliable and quick as MyRadar if all you're concerned with is seeing what storms are headed your way.

7) Star Walk: What better place to view the glory of the night sky than offshore on a sailboat?  The Star Walk app shows users exactly what they're looking at in realtime.  Just hold the iPad toward the sky and the screen displays constellations, stars, planets and even satellites overhead.  There's also a search function that will direct your eyes toward the stellar object that you're looking for.  This app is simply amazing and must be experienced.

8) Cruisers Forum: Perhaps the largest online cruising community can be found at  Now you can stay active on the forums with your mobile device by using the Cruisers Forum app.

9) Cruising World: iPads are excellent for viewing magazine a content and Cruising World magazine is the first (far as I can tell) sailing mag to publish issues digitally for IOS devices.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. There are so many great sailing apps, my favoutire is AyeTides an iphone app that displays tides and currents in ports worldwide.

  2. I many apps, so little time and so few Gigs with which to store them. I'll give AyeTides a look.

  3. As sailor it is important to had compass when sailing especially long distance trip. For iPad and iPhone there are applications for this. While cruising we can still enjoy sight seeing at night.

    Jojo @ gun lake boat storage

  4. Talking about apps that let you monitor your sailing performances, we developed a gateway and some apps useful for sailors: tell us what do you think!

  5. Can you talk about how you use your iPad out on the water? i.e. internet or data plan... And have you ever been so far out that your data plan didn't reach? Maybe you already blogged about this (link?) Thank you!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 Favorite Affordable Bluewater Sailboats

Go Small and Go Now! 5 Pocket Cruisers to Take you Anywhere

Escape to the Sea: How to get from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean