Navigation depends on many parameters: weather, wind, waves, depth, water properties etc. Exactly with this purpose and thanks to our smartphones, we can download very useful sailing apps that will serve us to enjoy sailing by minimizing the risks, however, we should always keep in mind that navigation is not an exact science. Without any doubt, after your boat rental with aBoatTime, these applications might be very useful for you.
PredictWind, the best wind prediction
If the wind changes quickly while you are already a board, there is no better decision than to look up weather forecasts ensuring safety for your sailing holiday. Many sailing apps offer a real-time weather forecast, but with PredictWind you will have the opportunity to get the latest and the most precise prognosis. It’s possible to download this app online through Apple and Android (predictwind.com). This application provides information on the wind speed per hour and directions predictions for more than 20.000 places all over the world with a high resolution. At the same time, you’ll also find some routes and trip planners.
PredictWind forecast model has several variables such as thermal winds and the land areas and is able to provide you with forecasts from the Canadian Centre (CMC) and Global Prognosis System NOAA (GFS) to compare. These forecasts are generated twice per day in the majority of regions across the world.
To make this app work, you just need to introduce your location and country that will permit you to choose an appropriate map among several proposed options.
After the moment when you’ve made your choice, different tables will show the speed and wind direction according to the forecast, the waves height and estimated duration, temperature, rainfalls and cloudiness.
The graphics will also show anticipated data, speed and direction, rainfalls and cloudiness, temperature, pressure, wave height, period and direction.
The maps will show forecast maps for the local destination in the high sea where arrows of different colors represent the speed and the wind direction.
Other options include further observations, alerts, trip routes, planning and monitoring.
This free version of this sailing app is very useful for amateurs, coastal cruisers and regattas between the buoys.
Intellicast, the weather at the moment
For all those sailing fans that highly depend on their intelligent devices, a decent weather forecast app is a must. Intellicast app from the Weather Services International (WSI) is, probably, the most advanced meteorological system in the world currently. This application combines the advanced meteo information and National Weather Service forecasts (NWS) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is based in different established places.
Once installed on your iPhone or iPad, you have to introduce the place of origin. At the same time, it’s possible to add additional locations using cities, postal codes, latitude/longitude or the airports. This app permits to download the NOAA table and the NWS information for the each location.
There you can choose between the tabs menu map, overlays and alerts to superimpose in the NOAA graphics. Every piece of information appears as a unique color area or icon to help you to interpret the data.
This interesting app also shows some further climate information through the selection of various options from the menu. The map, for example, permits to see NOAA combined diagram, map layer, overlays and alerts; various reports reveal the location of the nearest data buoy, show NWS alerts, local newsletters, temperature, pressure, speed and the wind direction in conjunction with the historical comparison.
Navionics shows the right way
Undoubtedly, Navionics is one of the best cartography sailing apps, that was developed in order to enjoy its premium nautical maps with direct access from your iPhone or iPad. It offers a lot of advantages, mainly because it allows you to plan the routes, register your course while sailing, take georeferenced photos, incorporate some local elements that are not shown on the map, like, for instance, buoys, beacons, anchoring points etc. All the options are directly available from your iPhone or iPad.
AIS for Smartphones
Whereas automatic identification systems (AIS) have appeared in commercial and recreational vessels, many sailors still consider them very expensive. As an alternative, a combination of apps for the intelligent mobile devices and AIS websites has recently appeared with the aim to observe a maritime traffic.
In order to see AIS information about your boat, you will need to install AIS mobile (MAIS), a free sailing app from MarineTraffic, after introduceing your e-mail address and enter the MMSI number. This application transmits AIS information through the Internet using the GPS position from your smartphone and cellular data networks. After it’s downloaded, make a click on the “Start” button in order to start reporting your position including the state, location, direction and the speed. The system will periodically update the information until you press on “Stop”.
In a few minutes you’ll be able to see your boat on the marinetraffic.com, a websites that maintains a worldwide network of AIS receivers. In theory, the data is shared by the great number of AIS places, however, there can be some delays or outdated information about the vessels. Keeping in mind that this data is not transmitted through the VHF radio frequencies, AIS information is not shown via the nearest boats chartplotters, but only on the websites.
After watching AIS in action, there are more different additional applications. Finder Ship, MarineTraffic and Beacon Boat display the real time information about the AIS boats and other useful characteristics such as collision detection, tracking of people overboard and anchoring.
Just like MAIS, Beacon Boat also transmits the position within the mobile data network.
Total anchor control with Anchor Watch
Many electronic systems aboard include anchoring alarms that ring if a boat deviates too much while anchoring. But what happens if your are on land at this moment?
Anchor Watch app uses GPS system of the phone to track the ship position and show alarm when a vessel moves out of the security zone circle. The best option is to set your anchor position using a phone from the bow just after dropping the anchor. Then, you’ll need to leave this phone aboard and configure a second phone to receive messages when you are on land. These position monitoring apps compensate the GPS accuracy and send alarms in the form of pop-up messages, tones, vibrations, e-mails, texts or telephone calls.
Other good applications are: Drag Queen or Anchor Aweigh that are easy to use providing basic anchoring capacity. Drag Queen is characterized by the audible alarm while Anchor Aweigh uses pop-ups.
Postagram – remember your voyages
“I wish you were here…”, it’s one of the most common summer phrases, well, say hello to Postagram, a new app that serves to send postcards directly from your smartphone. This free app permits to upload photos from your phone, Instagram or Facebook and print them in the high quality creating postcards that will be sent at your home for around 2 euros. This is a great way to remember your trips keeping your loved ones well-informed.
In order to be able to use Postagram, you just need to register through the Facebook or create a new account on sincerely.com. Once registered, you create one Postagram choosing any photo from the album on your phone, Instagram or your Facebook. When the choice is done, you can move and amplify the image, select a profile picture (that will appear on a card), add a personalized message and select an addressee from the Postagram or Facebook address book.