Looking for a little more help on the boat than your first mate can provide? Maybe you’ve looked into navigation apps and are unimpressed by what you’ve found, or you haven’t found a weather app that checks all your boxes. Or maybe you’re just looking for as much help as you can get as a new boater. These boating apps range from nautical maps to boating safety guides, and we’ve sorted through all the nautical apps on the iPhone app store to find the best ones available.
Florida Boat Ramps & Tides – $9.99
This app is especially helpful for those navigating unfamiliar waters; it will give you the locations of over 3,000 free, public boat ramps in Florida, as well as providing live tides and currents information and the best satellite-pinpointed fishing spots. It provides a better wealth of information about each boat ramp than any other apps, including the condition of the boat ramp, information about the attached parking lot, restrooms, handicap accessibility, and food availability. This app will prevent you from ever being stuck without an accessible restroom or stopping point when you need one. Based on the reviews, it not only works flawlessly, but is also constantly improving.
i-Boating: Marine Charts & GPS – Free!
This marine navigation app isn’t just for marine water boaters. Not only does it have nautical charts including buoy locations and fishing maps for inter-coastal waterways and the ocean, but it also provides this information for a variety of lakes, lagoons, and rivers. It can track the course and speed of your boat, provide real-time navigation to get you to your desired destination, alert you when you veer off-course, and save multiple routes in the app so that you can plan all your trips in advance and save your favorite trips to repeat later.
United States Coast Guard – Free!
This boating app has a lot of cool features, but it’s still under development so it’s not without bugs. The Coast Guard app provides you with a huge amount of information on every boating topic under the sun. It’s another great choice for travelling boaters because it will give you all the different information on boating in various states. It lets you request a free Coast Guard safety check for your vessel, file a float plan for a safe trip (and share it with love ones), report hazards for other boaters in the area, and request emergency assistance immediately right through the app. It will even let you enter the information for the boat you’re operating and use it to let you know exactly what safety equipment you’re required to carry aboard. New features are continually being added.
MyRadar Weather Radar – Free!
This easy-to-use app starts showing weather forecasts and wind forecasts around your current location the moment you open it on your phone. This app simply does exactly what it promises to, and it does it well. Got hit by a sudden shower on the boat that wasn’t showing this morning when you checked the weather before boating? With this app, you can quickly check out the scope of the bad weather and make sure it’s going to pass quickly and safely before you decide that things have gone south and end your day of fun early.
Another super simple and super useful app, this one lets you enter specific information about your boat’s size into your phone and shows marinas near you that have slips available for you to dock in. You can even reserve a slip right from the app- it really couldn’t get any easier. It’s full of reviews from other users too to help you compare and choose the perfect marina.
If you plan on bringing your precious iPad or iPhone boating, we highly recommend grabbing a waterproof case for it before you set off on your trip. Be sure to choose one that still allows you to use your touch display. You might also want to tether a floating keychain to your device so that you can retrieve it easily if it does go overboard.