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5 best navigation apps for sailors

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5 best navigation apps for sailors

Sailing offers freedom like none other activity. Not only can you explore the sea and other marine bodies but enjoy nature at its best. Add to that the thrill of being out there on the water; it is easy to understand why so many prefer sailing.

To truly enjoy sailing, you need an accurate navigation app. Trial and error is not an option anymore since you might get lost on the water. However, we can help you out here.

After extensive testing and research, we have compiled a list of the five best navigation apps for sailors. When you choose between these, you will no longer have to worry about finding the best route to reach your destination.

1. Navionics:

Navionics by Garmin has become famous due to its simple interface and excellent chart plotting capability. However, this app has much more than these couple of features.

Let’s face it! Even with the best app, if you do not have the connectivity, you will find it difficult to update your family and friends to find your way around or discover the latest weather information.

Sure enough, you can save the data offline in advance, but staying connected in real-time is always a good idea.

This is where Navionics has an advantage over other apps. In its recent update, they have optimized the app so that you can stay connected even with limited connectivity on water. The app allows you to export your route and share your accomplishments. You can also share your live location with your family and friends.

The real reason it is on top of our list is because of the community it has. There are over 1 million users, meaning the data collected through the app will constantly update, and nautical charts can provide you with additional information. Because of the same, it is one of the most accurate navigation apps you can use.

Not only is the charting interface simple, but it offers you multiple layers. That is why doing that is easy if you want to superimpose any information like updates by local authorities or all-weather information. Whether you’re using a tablet, an iOS device, or an android device, the app works on all these.

Apart from the sea, it provides detailed charts for lakes and shallower water bodies.

Additionally, it offers you the tide, weather information, geographical coordinate information, nearby port, docking information, and much more to help you plan your sailing trip seamlessly.

The app, however, charges you based on the region for which you want to download the charts. You need to figure out the overall cost and start using the app.

Once you pay for those charts, you can download the charts and use them offline. The charts offer you the best routes and track your route in real-time. Additionally, the chart tracks the speed of your boat and alerts you about your geographic location and depth in real time.

However, the downside is that it provides little scope for customization or adding your own data.

The holistic design of this app, coupled with over 1 million users, certainly makes it one of the best navigation apps for sailors.

Pros:

• Over 1 million users

• Extremely accurate

• Works on any device

• Simple interface

• Suitable for any type of water body

• Seamless connectivity

• Allows you to share live location

• Records and helps you download achievements

• The app is updated frequently

Cons:

• Limited customization options

2. C-MAP:

Many sailors prefer to use an app that provides professional high-quality vector charts. If your requirement is the same, this app will not disappoint you.

Also, most other navigation apps require you to compulsorily buy a paid plan if you want to get meaningful information from the app. However, C-MAP is different. It offers you a free option with more than enough information to plan your sailing. Of course, if you want all the information, you might have to go with the premium pricing, which is again affordable.

Not only does it offer high-quality vector charts, but it allows you to customize them as well, like adding a wave point. It also displays the real-time speed and course on top of the vectors by coordinating with your device’s GPS data.

The worldwide charts in the app are completely free. It means that no matter where you are sailing in the world, going with the premium plan is not necessary.

The app’s compatibility with android and iOS devices makes it easy to download and start using it right away.

It is one of the few navigation apps which offer you manual and automatic routing. That way, if you do not want to spend time planning your way and simply want to choose the best route, you can certainly do so.

Along the route, it also alerts you to various points of interest. That is why, if you want to explore the marine body to the fullest, this app can certainly help you do so.

While this app’s number of users is certainly small compared to Navionics, it is still sizeable, and the app displays the other users in your vicinity.

Once you go for the premium plan, you get complete navigational tools, unlimited offline maps, five day weather information, and custom depth shading.

Thus, when looking for a professional grade navigation app, you cannot ignore this one.

Pros:

• Offers professional vector charts

• Works on android and iOS devices

• Offers manual and automatic routing

• Tracks real-time speed and course data

• Offers numerous features in the free plan

Cons:

• Font size for real-time data is small

3. Savvy Navvy:

Savvy Navvy might not be as popular as Navionics, but it has a few features which help it stand out.

It not only provides you with clean and easy-to-read charts but the information is licensed from hydrographic offices all over the world. Using this app, you will find only the most accurate information in the charts.

With the data tracked from over 8000 tidal stations globally, you can check the tidal conditions in real time. You can use the visual chart overlay, which ensures that you can keep track of all other data while viewing the tidal data.

The app alerts you to your course over the ground and your speed in real-time. It does so through active GPS tracking. It alerts you to the features and modes near you so that you can better plan your route.

The indicator ensures that you know immediately when you’re facing inclement weather and when the weather is ideal for sailing. Apart from the wind conditions, it also lets you know about the weather forecast in advance. That way, planning your route and your sailing trip certainly becomes easy.

If you do not want to plan the route manually, this app can help you with route planning. It also alethe best departure time according to weather conditions, port data, tidal information, etc. It also allows you to explore all this data so that if you want to use it on a separate chart plotter, you can do so.

Savvy Navvy is one of the few apps that provides data on fuel usage and helps you calculate fuel efficiency. That way, you can manage the cost of your sailing trip better.

Apart from the salient features, this app offers usual features like marina and anchorage information, satellite mode and night mode, offline charts, the ability to export routes, and a dedicated customer support team.

With different plans available, you can reduce the cost of using this app depending on the exact features you need.

If you prefer a navigation app that provides a clean and uncluttered interface to help you find your way around, this one is a good choice.

Pros:

• Simple and easy-to-read interface

• Excellent weather and tidal information

• Helps you plan routes automatically

• Tracks fuel usage

• Dedicated customer support

Cons:

• Support could be faster

4. Seapilot:

Seapilot is not only a navigation app for sailors, but it is a social boating app. It combines the social and navigation features to make the entire experience more entertaining for you. Besides that as well, it offers quite a few features.

To start with, it offers you wind as well as the current forecast of the weather. That way, you can better plan your navigation.

The app uses internet AIS to give you an idea regarding the real-time traffic in your vicinity. It means that you can avoid most traffic as well. This is available in the US and northern Europe.

Additionally, the app can connect to the sensors on board using Wi-Fi connectivity. After that, using a GPS compass helps you track your ship’s real-time route and navigation information. That way, it can provide you with the most accurate recommendations regarding routing. Not only that, it helps you maintain a stable and reliable position on the route you want to travel on.

Once you get a subscription, you can use it on five different devices. It doesn’t matter whether you have an iOS or android device; it will work on all of them.

There is a free plan as well. The free plan provides a fully functioning navigation app, tracking your position, searching on the charts, and so on.

If you need weather routing, social boating, and past tracking, you need to go with the premium version.

This app offers all the necessary features you might look for in a navigation app, and thus, it is on our list.

Pros:

• Social boating feature

• Offers weather information

• Can be synchronized with sensors on-board

• Helps you maintain an accurate position

Cons:

• A premium plan is a necessity while using this app

5. iNavx:

iNavx offers you customizable charts from various providers. Because of the same, you can aggregate the information easily and plan your route much better. The amount of data it offers is much higher than some other apps.

Because of the data from multiple sources, this app has a learning curve. That is why, if you’re willing to spend some time learning how to maximize the efficiency of this app, it is one of the best navigation apps you can go with.

The app can synchronize with NMEA data from your boat. Because of the same, the real-time tracking that this app provides is much more accurate. It means that whenever you’re deviating from the crowd, you can view it on the app and opt for course correction in real time.

Additionally, it offers customizable waypoint icons as well. That way, you can read the navigation routes in no time.

Apart from the advanced features like synchronization of charts from multiple sources, this app allows you to easily zoom, rotate, and pan the charts. Because of the same, reading the charts is easy.

Measuring the distance between different waypoints is equally easy. You can also do that when you want to analyze the logs of your actual route. Of course, the export feature is available as well.

All of that is available whether you’re looking for tidal or weather information. Additionally, it lets you know about the port and docking points nearby. That way, when you want to find a nearby docking station, it helps you with the same.

The only downside is that the premium plan is certainly expensive. However, if you want to get professional quality velocity vectors and all the data to navigate your route, the premium plan is also necessary.

Thus, if you’re looking for a navigation app that synchronizes data from various sources to offer you the most accurate data, you should go with this one.

Pros:

• Synchronizes data from various sources

• Real-time navigation on offer

• NMEA data integration

• Allows tracking and logging mechanism

Cons:

• The premium plan is a bit expensive

You no longer need to struggle with routing or finding your way around on the water. Simply choose between these five best navigation apps for sailors, and you can find your way around in no time. It is now time to leave the routing on these apps and enjoy the experience of sailing rather than always worrying about reaching your destination.

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