Sailing Apps For Your Phone

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

There are so may apps for your phone that sailors love. Here’s a list of the ones I’m using these days, and why. Some of them are beyond cool! There are a few I’m still looking to discover an even better version, and some that I can’t even imagine they could improve.

For Weather

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


The application I use the most while day sailing is Windy or Windyty. There are layers for fog, fog predictions, thunderstorms, snow sleet hail ice rain – and wind. You can see exactly what is going to happen hour by hour.

Of course, I have about eight more weather apps, including MyRadar Pro, NOAA, Storem, The Weather Channel, Wunderground, NOAAFree, Hurricane Pro, Hi-Def Radar, and a couple others.

For Wind

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Windfinder and 
Windfinder Pro

Windfinder is the absolute winner here; on only one screen, I have a list saved of placed I go regularly. Then, in each of those locations, I have a ton of information all on one screen: Wind times, direction, strength, max knots, weather, air temperature, wave direction, wave height, wave interval, tide rising or falling, time, distance.

ALL on one screen, for the whole day. This means at a glance, I can plan out my day of sailing by choosing the most favorable directions to sail combining wind and tide information from one screen instead of three different appls. It is truly brilliant.

For Wave Heights

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Magic Seaweed

For wave apps, I turn to the surfer apps. This one I usually accidentally call “Magical Seaweed” or even “Miserable Seaweed.”

This app is geared toward surfers, who really want to know about waves and currents. I also like to know about waves and currents!

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


Another favorite of surfers. There are overlays for satellite, bathymetric, and marine protected areas. It has water temperature, (of course!) tides, and forecast.

For Tides

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


Graphically, this one does not have quite the contrast of others on the screen, however, it has a right-scroll with tides for days. Pull down, and you have the moon and its phases.

There is a 10-day forecast, and everything is so very easily accessible. It’s got it all! Very attractive screens. Also, all my locations appear instantly, and I can “favorite” ones I use often.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


For a tide application, I like the Sea Tow app because in bright light, sometimes tiny numbers are hard to read on a cellular telephone screen, and this one produces a display with a big fat bright line that goes up and down with the tide, like the letter S on its side. You can easily see if you are close to the high for the low or the slack. when I turn my phone sideways, it’s a great view.

However, I have had a lot of trouble getting it to lock in on my location, and find myself fiddling with where I am almost every day, but the benefit of having it so readable in bright light is so far out weighing the difficulty, because I’m still using it. If anyone has found another tide app with a great display, please let me know.

For Identifying Marine Traffic

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Marine Traffic

Marine traffic, any vessel that is running AIS shows up on marine traffic.

You can look them up to find out their name, their home port, how fast they are probably traveling, and where they are headed.

There might also be several pictures of the vessel, along with its length and width, and a plethora of other information. It’s great fun to use on the water, or even on land to identify vessels.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Boat Watch

Another fun app for spotting, watching, and identifying waterway and ocean-going traffic.

Works on Android, iPhone, iPad. You can “favorite” ships and track them, find boats, share boats by Facebook and Twitter.

For some reason, these apps remind me of the Train Spotting people – only – Boat Spotting!

For Navigation

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


Navionics – for charts, waypoints, seeing where you are, planning where you’re going to go… It’s a bit tricky on a cellular telephone screen, but translates very nicely onto an iPad running off of your cell phone hotspot.

I happened to grab it when it was a free app. There used to be several versions, now they are all in the new app, and subscribers were able to transer all their charts and data to the new app. The features it has are extensive. Nautical charts, sonar charts, even community edits like on Waze. It features Dock-to-dock Autorouting! Your travels add to their sonar maps, as well.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


…and you’re going to want to figure out whether you have it sit too true, or to compass.

This almost replaces the old hand bearing compasses for taking a line of position off of a lighthouse or water tower or other navigational device.

The readout is nice and large, allowing you to easily plot a position on your chart. Also, the Compass has your latitude and longitude. Know if it’s set to true or magnetic or compass.

For Mathy Stuff

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


I’m always using the calculator translate time back-and-forth into decimals, to do some dead reckoning work. I use it for time, speed, and distance calculations to figure out when we’re going to get somewhere.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone


A conversion application for converting metric to standard, time from minutes to decimals and back again, distances, anything imaginable.

Once you have one of these on your phone, you will not be sure how you did without it. This basic one has length, power, pressure, speed, temperature, time, torque, volume, weight, and even a gratuity calculator.

For Safety

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

US Coast Guard Mobile App

Checklists, safe boating information, NOAA Buoys, Nav rules, and and emergency assistance button that calls the closest Coast Guard Command Center.

You can even request a vessel safety check right from the app.

This app is like your Waze app, but on the waterway. You can report hazards to navigation, file a float plan, and report pollution and suspicious activity – just like Waze!

For Other Needs

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

The Camera

Not just for snapshots, but if I’m on an unfamiliar boat, I might take a picture of the electrical panel as the owner has it when I walk on board, so at the end of the day I can consult my photo and make sure to return everything to the owners preferences.

Also, sometimes you run across something that the print is so tiny in an instruction manual, and you can enlarge it easily after taking a photo.

If there is a certain sequence that you must perform with an electronic device, you can take a picture of that part of the manual. That way, the manual can stay nice and dry down below, while your cell phone, hopefully in a waterproof case, is with you in the cockpit and you can consult it for the steps.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Notes App

Need I say more…The notes app; write things down! When I step on a new boat and go through my pre-departure checklist, if I find anything at all not quite what it should be, I make note of it. Once you find about three or four small things, you might start forgetting the first couple, but if they are written down…

Recently I was on a boat where a couple early questions we had were answered later on, so I could scratch those off the list, and transfer the remaining ones to our maintenance log.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Meal Planning

For a week -long trip, I usually plot out on paper exactly what meals I am going to prepare when, and which ingredients are to be used.It’s no good arriving at the end of the week to realize you were supposed to use the mushrooms the second night in the spaghetti, and now on the seventh night, they are slimy and wasted.

The allrecipes app lets me plot out every day’s meals, and the shopping list is also already on my phone. I can save recipes to use again, and build up a repertoire of boat-tested options.

Some people prefer to use apps for tasks such as this, instead of paper.

On land, I use a style app to plot out what I am going to wear to work every day so I don’t wear the same outfit every other day for two weeks straight. In the morning, it presents me with a picture of the outfit, and says, “You’re going to look great in your outfit today!” And, it shows me a picture of all of the items of clothing I’m going to wear. A meal app that says, “breakfast is going to be delicious!” would be a nice reminder to get up out of your bunk and start cooking!

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Packing Clothing

Currently, I use Stylebook, as I mentioned above, to plot out my whole month’s daily outfits. It saves about ten minutes every morning, so, over three hours a month.

For travel, and sailboat trips, I use it to pack my bags. I pick out the outfits I want, and it presents me with a packing list.

I don’t over pack, I don’t under pack, and I don’t end up at the end of a trip with unused items. Space on a boat is limited, so it’s best to have just enough clothing. Once I return home, I can adjust the items so I pare down even further to the essentials for a regularly-planned trip, like a regular three-day weekend.

For Maintenance Logs

Your boating maintenance log is the one for all of the mechanical things. Date of the oil change, how much oil and what type you used, how much it cost you, every one of those details.

There is one of these applications for your vehicle, called gas buddy. If you want to be horrified, you can see the total amount that you have spent on fuel for your vehicle in a year. Boating maintenance apps can cover all the same needs, and more.

Some of these apps even have a module that you plug into your engine and read diagnostics!

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

ShipShape Pro

ShipShape Pro can be used for voyages, but it’s more powerful application is storing all your technical information on boat systems. You can establish check lists, record engine maintenance, and even set yourself reminders based on engine hours.

Boating Suite

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

The Boating Suite App also has spreadsheets, trip logs, fuel logs, maintenance logs, expenses, shopping, and reminders. You can pull reports based on date or information.

I’m still looking for the BEST Engine Log – let me know if you have one! I have a wonderful one for SCUBA diving, but need one specifically for engine/boat maintenance lists, concerns, timetables, and more.

For Recording Your Travel Journal

The second long you would want to keep would be your travel log – what boats you met up with, who you met, what you saw, fish, birds, sea life, harbors and anchorages, anything out of the ordinary that you saw or did or cooked on board

A travel log that is an app, of course, limits you to when you have battery power or electricity. There are so many travel apps that plot your position. Also, if you are using your cellular telephone to take photos; those are integrated with your entries, and even shareable with friends.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Day One Journal

The Day One Journal has a free version, or you can upgrade for all those cloud, design, and multimedia features.

The basic can sync across all your devices – a very good plus for me as I like to use cell phone, laptop, pc, and tablets.

I’m still on a search for the BEST Boat Travel Log – comment below if there’s one you love! I imagine there are some travel logs that would work well for this.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

There’s an App For That!

Here’s an App for finding apps – appsmart. You can search for apps by category or by need. There are reviews and rankings, recommendations and notifications of price drops.

There’s probably an app for everything imaginable. For instance, if you fish a lot, I imagine there is an app where you record every detail from when you caught a fish. I bet it has places to record the weight of line, the type of sea floor, humidity state, the cloud state, the air temperature, the water temperature… so that you could replicate those exact conditions again and catch another fish again. People used to keep track of this on paper, but now with so many smart phones, your life down to the smallest detail can be documented to pull up and compile statistic statistics or review later.

There are apps I use for diving that are similar, with tons of points of entry for information about actual dives, the equipment, the site, the dive shop. For shooting practice, there are apps to record misfires, statistics, and more.

So, for anything you can imagine, there are probably several apps.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

Contacting Developers

If you have an app, and you really like it, but it needs something more, something less, something better; contact them.

You might be surprised how responsive most of the developers are.

I have contacted four different app developers about functions I wanted added to apps I use; and they added them!

For one of my apps, I needed the size of the screen to increase, and the developer must have finally had enough requests for the same change, so it was altered and is now much more user-friendly.

Just as much as you want your apps to fulfill your every need; the developers want to meet as many needs as they can. So, contact them.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

HAM Radio

This article below is a comprehensive list of HAM radio apps. It is so well written and inclusive that there’s no need for me to cover the topic!

The Best Amateur Radio and Shortwave Apps for iOS, Android and Windows Smart Phones

Apps I Would Like to Have:

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone
, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

A VHF Radio Application

Wouldn’t that be awesome, to be able to talk on the VHF radio, but using your cell phone? Kind of like that app that always re-surfaces during hurricanes, when there’s not so phone service, but people want to use their cell phones like a walkie-talkie to contact each other. I think it’s called Walkie-Talkie or something like that? Right now, there are several apps that allow you to practice your VHF speaking skills, but none that actually connect to that wavelength.

, Sailing Apps For Your Phone

 A Mast Height App

I would love an app to verify mast height. I imagine the Vert App can do it, and I’ve been testing out the new measuring application on my iPhone. You still would need to know how far off the water you are, and add it to the mast height. Sometimes I just want a little more information before I go through a bridge…

If you have come across any particularly wonderful, well-designed, perfect boating applications, please comment below. I’d love to improve my own selection I’m using currently – I’m always looking for a better way to boat.

What to read next: Fueling a Sailboat Safely and Efficiently


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