List of the Best iOS and Android Sailing Apps
1. Knots 3D
Thanks to careful boat design and engineering, sailboat rigs are more straightforward than ever. Sailing vessels from decades past once had enough rope to satisfy any scoutmaster, but now it’s a lot easier to sail without managing too many lines. Nevertheless, even new rigging requires a certain amount of knot expertise. Improperly tying knots can be disastrous at sea, and a bad dock tie-up can cause your boat to break away and drift. Not only that, but who wouldn’t want to impress the guys at the yacht club with impressive knot-tying abilities? Now, with the Knots 3D app, you can learn and master over a hundred essential sailing knots with ease. This app allows you to view the knot-tying process in three dimensions, which is a lot easier than looking at a static book page. You can use the app to improve your existing skills as well, and it’ll make you look like a champ while tying up at the dock. Knots 3D is available for $1.99 on both iOS and Android phones and tablets.
2. United States Coast Guard
This app is an absolute essential for anybody who sails in the United States. If you’ve owned a boat on U.S. waters, you’re certainly familiar with the Coast Guard and the essential work they perform every day. They’re the primary lifeline for sailors and boaters, and they also enforce the many maritime laws and regulations of this country. Remember, sailing isn’t like driving a car on the road. While you still have to follow the rules, you don’t need to do anything wrong to be ‘pulled over’ out on the water. The Coast Guard can (and often does) board you for no reason at any time. They do this to ensure you follow all of the mandatory safety and environmental regulations that apply to your boat. The Coast Guard app will help educate you about the rules, which will keep you safe and ensure you don’t receive a citation for a preventable violation. The Coast Guard’s rules are reasonable, but you have to know them to follow them.
This app isn’t just about following the law. It also gives you access to the latest weather updates from nearby NOAA buoys, which helps you navigate and prepare for foul weather. The Coast Guard regularly updates the app when they find new navigational hazards and allows you to report them as well. Along with the mandatory VHF radio, the Coast Guard app is an excellent navigational and safety tool to take along on every sailing journey. The Coast Guard App is available free for both iOS and Android.
3. Go Sailing
Go Sailing is an excellent app to connect with other sailing enthusiasts and find the best local spots when you’re out cruising. It’s a social media platform for sailors, and it’s a great way to meet people who share the hobby. Others often use the app to find other sailors to join them on their trips, and others use it to find crew members or spare parts in an emergency. It’s always great to be part of a community, and this app can help you find people who can be a great asset during your sailing trips.
A social network can be a great tool to improve a sailing trip, especially if you’re cruising to a new area. You can use the app to get in touch with the locals and attend events or secure supplies when you’re unfamiliar with the area. The user interface of this app is seamless; it works great, plus it’s fun to connect with people over a mutual enjoyment of sailing. The Go Sailing app is available free for iOS and Android.
One of the most significant hazards of sailing in a harbor is tide changes. Every year, hundreds of boats run aground or damage their hulls in shallow water. Many prudent sailors have gotten stuck at some point in their sailing career, and it’s a massive inconvenience (if not serious safety problem) whenever it occurs. Usually, people run aground due to inexperience or insufficient tide data, which is an understandable reason to have an accident. Now with the AyeTides app, you can access real-time and accurate tide data from over 12,500 locations around the world. AyeTides takes the guesswork out of navigating shallow waters. This gives you the ability to avoid hazards and plan ahead of time without complicated and inaccurate tide estimates.
While it’s still necessary to have tide charts, the app can help confirm information and keep you and your boat away from dangerous shallow areas. AyeTides keeps you up-to-date with the best available data so you’ll be in the know as conditions change. It can also help you predict future conditions to decide where (and where not) to anchor for the night, which is always a big plus. The AyeTides app is available for iOS for $7.99.
5. Cruisers Sailing Forum
Forums are one of the best online resources for how-to tutorials, troubleshooting, and locating hands-on experience from other sailors. The Cruisers Sailing Forum app gives you easy access to the renowned online platform, along with access to all of its recent and archived content. The forum offers excellent resources for sailors, and it’s a great place to ask a specific question and find somebody with the experience to answer it. Thousands of Cruisers Sailing Forum members contribute regularly, and there’s information about virtually everything already there. When you have a problem with your rigging or just need to find a good local spot to fish, you can post a question to the forum and get an answer from somebody who knows.
Forums are an incredible perk of modern technology, and the Cruisers Sailing Forum app makes it easy to access a priceless trove of information all from your phone or tablet. Resources are available there not only for boat maintenance and repair but also for great local spots and sailing locations that you may have never found otherwise. There’s a great community on the forum, and it’s certainly worthwhile to join and introduce yourself. You can bring along the answers wherever you go and use it any time you need. The Cruisers Sailing Forum app is available free for both iOS and Android devices.
Sailflow is an excellent app for planning a sailing trip, or for using on the water to get accurate weather information. The SailFlow app uses real-time and precise weather data from over 50,000 weather stations around the globe. This information is vital for both planning trips and predicting weather conditions. While accurate weather data is available elsewhere, it always helps to have a handy app that’s easy to interpret and available on the go.
Reliable weather information is always beneficial when you’re out sailing. A weather radio is a great tool to have also, but not every dangerous weather condition is broadcast over the air. A severe thunderstorm warning over the radio can certainly help keep you safe, but it doesn’t take a particularly powerful storm (which would be harmless on land) to cause significant issues over the water. With the SailFlow app, you can screen incoming weather conditions and determine for yourself if it’s safe to keep sailing. The SailFlow app is available free for iOS and Android, but there’s a pro version available too that offers some great perks.
The INavX app is the app you need for precise and accurate navigation. It features many excellent navigational tools, including up-to-date charts that are on-demand whenever you need them. The INavX app works with your onboard GPS and enhances navigation with ease. You can use it to monitor weather, check on tides, and find the best local places to go wherever you sail. You can use it to pin a previous location, so it’ll always be easy to find that great spot again. Remember, it’s still essential to have proper training in the use of charts to navigate waterways. INavX is not a replacement for charts and GPS systems. Instead, it’s an extremely handy addition to your navigation toolkit, and it offers a ton of great digital features that you wouldn’t have access to on paper or in a traditional navigation system. The INavX app is available for $14.99 on iOS.
8. Fast Track GPS Tool
Here is another great GPS and navigation app for sailors. It’s called the Fast Track GPS app, and it offers plenty of great navigational aids for sailing and boating. Like most traditional GPS apps, it features real-time location services to serve as a cross-reference with your primary navigation systems. Additionally, it has a large database of waypoints to assist in navigating areas where the information may not be as clear. The FastTrack GPS app also features live weather information and forecasting to ensure safe passage when other weather data is unavailable or unclear. This app allows the user to precisely pinpoint and save their location, which helps keep track of where you’re going and where you’ve been so far. It also includes live wind direction data, which can help you decide where to go and when to tack. In addition to an onboard radar system, you can also use this app as a proximity-alert device to help avoid collisions with the shore or unsafe and shallow waters.
Charts and proper navigation systems are still vital for safely navigating, along with a real person on watch in case somebody makes a mistake. However, this app provides some extra resources which can be extremely handy, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas. The Fast Track GPS Tool is available on Android devices for free.
9. BoatUS App
Being a member of BoatUS is a lot like AAA for motorists, and it’s a fantastic way to add a sense of security to your trip. Mechanical failures and accidents at sea can be a total nightmare, and BoatUS can help ease some of those worries so you can enjoy your time on the water headache-free. The BoatUS app gives you access to 24/7 boat towing in many locations, just in case something happens, and you need assistance. In addition to towing and dockside assistance services, the BoatUS app is also a great resource for important marine data including forecasts and small craft advisories. With notifications turned on, you’ll get a buzz every time a weather authority shares an advisory or warning that you’ll need to know.
BoatUS doesn’t just deal with sailing hazards—they also provide great location-based information on discounted goods and services such as fuel and mooring. Their resources include locations and prices for services such as boat repair, dining, parts, mooring, and fishing information too—it’s your local guide that fits in your pocket. They also have a location-based map of West Marine stores so you can stock up on spare parts or accessories for your boat when out of town. You can use it to share your location to friends and family on social media, and also automatically via text and location so somebody always knows your recent position. This well-rounded and useful sailing app is available free for iOS and Android, but you’ll need to sign up for access to towing services.
10. PredictWind Marine Forecasts
Here’s another great weather app for sailing, and it features plenty of great tools to help you stay in the know. This isn’t any old weather app—it features full resolution maps, tables, and charts constantly updated with live data. Using the PredictWind app, you can monitor real-time wind speed and direction reports on an interactive map, along with temperature data and live forecasts. This app has uses a proprietary PWG and PWE marine weather monitoring system, with ECWMF and GF5 models, ensuring pinpoint accuracy, reliable forecasting, and excellent resolution. Also, the app is designed to be easy to use, allowing you to find and interpret important weather data without trouble or confusion. This is a very handy app to have around, and it can help you chart a course in confidence. The PredictWind Marine Forecasting app is available for free on iOS and Android.
However you choose to sail, you can benefit from one (or many) of these useful apps. We shouldn’t rely entirely on technology when sailing, but it can be very helpful to have around to make the experience more enjoyable. We can now access information and tools that mariners never had before, and it makes sailing easier and safer for everyone. Check out these apps and see for yourself how they can enhance your time out on the water.