One of the biggest reasons to take a boating or fishing trip is to unplug and unwind. For many of us, that means stashing our cell phones and listening to the sound of the waves instead of a series of text message alerts. However, technology does have its advantages. These five apps can help make your trips easier and safer.
- U.S. Coast Guard Mobile App: Search for the “United States Coast Guard” app and download the app for free from the Apple and Google Play online stores. You can use this app to look up state-specific boating information, a safety equipment checklist, find navigation rules, float plans, and utilize the calling features to report pollution. Most importantly, the app features an Emergency Assistance button. If you have your location services enabled within the app, the button will contact the closest Coast Guard command center in the event of an emergency while on the water.
- Navionics USA Boating App: You can access all of the Navionics charts, create detailed routes, check your estimated fuel consumption, distance, and ETA by utilizing the two-week free trial of the Dock-to-Dock Autorouting feature. After your free trial, you can access the advanced features for a $9.99 one-year subscription. The app is available for download from both the Apple and Google Play online stores.
- MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar App: Whether you are a certified weather geek or just want to know how long it will be until the rain showers pass through, this is a free app that is well worth downloading. The MyRadar App uses high definition Doppler radar data that is processed from raw NOAA weather radar data via the National Weather Service. The result is an easy-to-use weather application that displays current radar information around your location.
- WeatherBug App: In addition to Doppler radar and real-time forecasts (current, hourly and 10-day), the WeatherBug app includes a feature called “Spark” that can be a literal lifesaver. With alerts enabled, Spark will provide you with minute-by-minute, mile-by-mile lightning proximity alerts. WeatherBug is available for free via the Apple and Google Play stores.
- BoatBeacon App: The Boat Beacon app is an AIS (automatic identification system) receiver for your iPhone and iPad that covers most major ports, harbors, and coastal areas worldwide. Particularly useful for small vessel owners, this is the only tracking app that provides collision warnings, shares your boat’s position and uses real-time AIS data. The app costs $12 and is available for purchase through either the Apple or Google Play online stores.