May 2016 Newsletter Article
By Ron Sasiela and John Goebel
One of the great advantages of the modern smartphone is its ability to accept very specific applications that provide unique information to the subscriber.
As Fairwind Yacht Club boaters, we can select from a slew of such apps, many of which enhance our safety and enjoyment of our time on the water. We canvased members, the sailing magazines and our own assortment of apps to share with our fellow members. Many are free while a few charge a modest fee or for extra features.
We have not “star” rated them and would consider them all at least three or greater on a scale of five in usefulness. As with many of these apps, it takes a little practice to get use to using all their features, and many require your “location” to be “on” in order to make recommendations.
Consider loading them on your cellphone and let us know what your thoughts are about them. They have generally been listed by Safety, Weather, Navigation, Marlinespike, Sky watch.
- United States Coast Guard – provides a handy summary of the major USCG Rules and most importantly allows you to pre-register every Fairwind boat that you are Checked Out on into your Profile. Then by a single press and confirmation of a red “Emergency Assistance” bar at the bottom of each page you can instantly transmit your complete “User” and “Vessel” information to the CG, as well as your exact location. This is a MUST HAVE for every “checked out” Fairwinder
- NOAA – Complete coastline weather conditions 24/7
- NOAA News – iPhone app Android app – Plays VHF Wx weather forecasts just like you would hear it over your VHF
- Yachting Weather – iPhone app – Android app – gives wind and wave information
- Buoys – iPhone app – Android app – Gives buoy data ($1.99)
- BoatUS –Provides tide chart at MdR and elsewhere along with local weather conditions, wind speed and direction, SR, SS; if you are a member or not, it allows you to contact any of their emergency tow boat services
- SeaTow – Gives you weather at your current location or any other that you specify, including wind, wave, swell, temperature of air and sea, current conditions, visibility, barometric pressure, etc.
- Shralp Tide – iPhone app – Android app – Gives a nice large font and directional arrow graphic of falling/rising tides and flood/ebb time
- iSailGPS USA NOAA – iPhone app – Tracks your course progression as a magenta line on a NOAA chart. Another page gives current and average speed ($7.99)
- Boat Beacon – AIS assisted navigation of boats in traffic lanes, etc. ($12.99)
- Skipperbox – Animated nautical knots
- SkyGuide – A view of the celestial stars, where to find them and other heavenly objects
- Planets – iPhone app – Android app – Gives rise/set of the sun, moon, and all the planets, plus it displays them in 2D or 3D. It’s very cool.
If you have come across any other nautical app favorites, please let us know and a follow-up article can be planned in the future. Thanks go out to Marv Brown, and Lenox Grasso for sharing some of their favorites for this article.