Welcome to the wide and varied world of apps dedicated to coastal navigation (read: how far does the 4G network take). All it takes now is a tablet and a smartphone, protected by a watertight case, to have functions available that on board, just a few years ago, would have been utopia without “ad hoc” tools.
Think of the weather forecast: if VHF channel 68 used to be the only, periodic source (the more “technological” ones had at most teletype weather receivers), today you only need a good app to view on your device the details of what will happen around your boat in the short and long term. Apps do not replace traditional electronics, but are an important complement to them. We have selected for you the most interesting and “stand alone” ones, available for both Apple (iOS) and Android devices.
Navionics / Boating
Boating, the app from Navionics (recently acquired by the giant Garmin) for smartphones and tablets, is one of the most widely used by sea-goers. There is a free version and a subscription-based “plus” version: with this one you get the same map detail as the best GPS plotters on your device, along with a set of advanced features. www.navionics.com
C-Map / Plan2nav
Plan2Nav is based on C-Map maps (company acquired by Navico): downloading is free, you pay for the map areas you are interested in and they will be displayed with the highest accuracy. www.lightmarine.c-map.com/it
It is one of the most widely used navigation apps, supporting different types of cartography (including Navionics): in addition, it integrates the AIS Live function and via NMEA interface makes your device a repeater of on-board instruments. www.inavx.com/
Another cartographic navigation app particularly appreciated for its ease of use and clear, intuitive, somewhat “vintage” graphics. You will be able to manage waypoints, routes, distance calculation, location, destination, and quick setting of display options. www.imray.com
MeteomedInstall it on your device and you can consult all the meteomarine parameters, hour by hour up to 7 days, on a bi-hourly basis up to the tenth day. By clicking on any sea point you will get all weather parameters (forecasted weather, wind direction, intensity and gusts, wave height and direction…). www.meteomed.it
Sea Conditions provides weather and sea forecasts for the Mediterranean Sea. It is based on numerical models coupled with satellite data and in situ data (ships of opportunity, buoys). The service, which is free (but there is a premium version with many additional features) offers three-day forecasts with specific time sections (every six hours). www.sea-conditions.com/it/
With Marine Traffic you will view real-time positions of AIS-equipped ships around the world. Every day you can follow the routes of more than 80 thousand vessels and browse the gallery with one million photos of ships, ports and lighthouses. www.marinetraffic.com
Ventusky is an app developed by a Czech company that not only shows the weather and wind in real time, with the help of animated bows, but also monitors the movement of waves in the world’s oceans and seas in a clear and understandable way. www.ventusky.com
All info on moorings at more than 220 marinas in Europe and the Mediterranean, with berth reservations available. But not only that: this app is a kind of “TripAdvisor” of the sea with all the community’s recommendations. www.navily.com
A bracelet, an app and an alarm on your device should the person wearing it fall overboard. In addition, the app will tell you the coordinates of the man overboard and the route to recovery. Very useful if you are sailing with children! www.sea-tags.com
More than 120 nautical knots at your disposal on smartphones and tablets: you can study the execution of each one in great detail, with 3D animations that can be zoomed in in detail and rotated at will. www.knots3d.com
This app, for use at night in the roadstead, has an augmented reality function with which to mix the real sky with the tracks on the display and recognize constellations. Plus, you can time travel up to 10,000 years forward or backward to figure out where stars and constellations came from and where they will go. www.itunes.apple.com; www.play.google.com