Navigating With Apps: Top Tech Tools for Savvy Sailing

Boating is all about making the right decisions – knowing when to set sail and stay put, where to drop the hook for a peaceful night's sleep, and deciphering the good from the questionable navigational advice from the local watering hole.


There is no denying the pivotal role that technology plays in the modern age of boating, and the crucial decisions you make even before you hit the water can make all the difference between delight and distress. Choosing the right sailing apps for your nautical adventures can ensure a smooth and enjoyable time out on the water. From finding fish to finding the perfect marina, we have picked the top apps for all your tech-savvy sailing needs.  


Navionics: Your Digital Navigator 

Long gone are the eras of cumbersome paper charts; the digital age has ushered in a new era of intuitive and up-to-date nautical navigational apps and tools, and Navionics stands at the forefront of digital chart plotting.


While traditional paper charts may linger for insurance requirements, their practicality pales in comparison to the comprehensive and user-friendly features of Navionics. Trusted by seafarers worldwide, Navionics is the go-to navigation system on almost every vessel. Its globally updated charts and chart plotting capabilities provide a level of detail indispensable for anyone venturing onto the water.


Most boats have already embraced Navionics as the primary onboard chart plotting system, but the investment in additional peace of mind with the Navionics app cannot be overstated. Having your chart plotter right in your pocket wherever your adventures take you is an invaluable asset for any sailor. As we all know, boats, and especially onboard technology, can occasionally encounter those little nautical gremlins. Having a backup system for navigation becomes an absolute necessity, ensuring your time on the water remains as smooth as the waves beneath your hull. In our books, a digital chart plotter you can take with you no matter where you are is a must-have sailing app, and it doesn't hurt that you can do your chart plotting right from the bar!




Fishidy: Catching The Big One Has Nothing To Do With Luck 

Unlock the secret to consistently landing the big catch with Fishidy, a must-have fish finder app catering to anglers of all skill levels. Bid farewell to relying on luck, and let data-driven precision take your fishing game to new heights.


Fishidy empowers you with crowdsourced data and real-time catch information, transforming your fishing experience into one where the gods of fishing are perpetually in your favor. With interactive real-time maps, you can discover optimal fishing spots tailored to your preferences and be the first to know when and where the fish are biting by setting up personalized alerts.


One of the standout features of this app is that you will be able to fuel the envy of other users by sharing your catches on the 'brag board,' or choose the clandestine route and keep your newfound fishing spots a secret while still logging your impressive catches and their locations.


Fishidy isn't just a fish finder; it's a digital fishing guide. Packed with expert tips and insider knowledge, this invaluable maritime technology provides insights on angling techniques, seasonal considerations, and bait selection for your chosen body of water. Whether you're a dedicated angler aiming for the big one or indulging in the joy of catch and release, don't let Fishidy be the one who got away!


Windy: Real-Time Weather Precision 

In the realm of modern sailing, weather forecasting apps have become one of the top tech tools, ensuring a safe and enjoyable time on the water. Regarding real-time weather insights, Windy stands out as the unrivaled choice.


Voted the best-specialized weather app in its category by the World Meteorological Organization, Windy provides water and wind sports enthusiasts with professional, accurate, and up-to-date wind forecasts for a spectrum of activities – from sailing and diving to surfing, fishing, skiing, and kitesurfing. It's the go-to app for outdoor adventurers seeking reliable weather information.


Sailing's inherent connection to the elements makes having precise knowledge at your fingertips crucial for ensuring safety and enhancing the overall experience. With the Windy app, you can access detailed online 10-day weather forecasts, a live worldwide wind map, and local weather reports from the most accurate weather models available.


But the Windy app stands out because it goes beyond traditional weather apps by allowing users to compare spot conditions, engage with locals in the app chat, discover meteorological lessons, and share experiences within the thriving Windy app community.




iSailor: Your Digital First Mate 

The iSailor app is much like the Navionics app in that it is an excellent extension to your vessel's onboard systems and navigation equipment and will turn your tablet or phone into a mobile chart plotter.


In head-to-head rankings of navigation apps, both iSailor and Navionics claim top spots, with iSailor securing a solid 2nd place. Its technical prowess, rooted in a commercial heritage and widespread usage, positions it as a superior application with a rich array of controls and features. However, it's crucial to note that the added features have higher system requirements, limiting compatibility with some devices. In contrast, Navionics boasts universal compatibility, effortlessly running on any device.


Opt for iSailor if you seek more customizable controls over your charts and routes. At the same time, Navionics leans towards intuitiveness and incorporates local knowledge on maps. Both options offer a robust foundation for plotting your course with precision.


Overall, you can't go wrong with plotting your course with either one of these smart navigation tools, depending on your specific needs.


SailGrib: Precision Passage Planning 

The SailGrib Weather Routing app is an indispensable tool for sailors aiming to refine their sail plans with real-time weather precision. This nautical navigation app immerses you in a realm of meticulously optimized routes, high-resolution weather models, and prompt wind alerts—a trifecta engineered for heightened performance and safety on the water.


Whether embarking on an extended ocean passage or a leisurely day sail, SailGrib empowers you to craft sail plans with acute attention to weather nuances. Prioritize performance and safety with routes meticulously tailored to the evolving conditions, ensuring a seamless and secure journey every time.


The SailGrib Weather Routing app is a must-have tool for sailors keen on fine-tuning their sail plans according to real-time weather conditions, especially for longer passages.




Navily: Your Premier Ocean Concierge 

Discover the power of community-driven insights with Navily, an app for sharing, accessing, and contributing valuable information about anchorages and marinas. Crafted as a sailor's ally, Navily facilitates seamless journey planning through firsthand experiences and user recommendations.


Navigating global yachting destinations becomes a breeze, particularly in unfamiliar marinas or uncharted anchorages, thanks to the wealth of knowledge within the Navily community. The app's integration with partnering marinas also simplifies the reservation process, offering a one-stop solution for dockage arrangements.


Navily is a worthwhile investment for the peace of mind that comes with insider knowledge about unexplored cruising grounds. The app is a comprehensive guide for sailors, ensuring they are well-prepared for docking and anchoring challenges.


Primarily utilized in Europe, Navily has emerged as the leading online cruising guide for the region, boasting over 300,000 contributions on anchorages and marinas. Whether you're planning your first Mediterranean cruise or are a seasoned sailor returning for the 15th time, Navily is an invaluable investment for a smooth and informed voyage.


Anchor Pro: Swing Right And Sleep Tight 

There are few things in life as stressful as being on anchor on a gusty stormy night and constantly worrying about dragging into a reef or other boats. Thank the Seven Seas there are sailing gadgets and apps for everything these days!


Amidst the numerous anchor watch alarms available, Anchor Pro stands out as a highly rated and trusted solution. Offering unique features that set it apart, this app empowers you to align with your anchor rode, providing crucial bearing information. Enhancing accuracy and security, Anchor Pro allows you to input chain length, ensuring a precise and worry-free anchoring experience.


What makes Anchor Pro exceptional is its capability to stay connected with you wherever you are – whether enjoying time on land or exploring in your tender. The app communicates seamlessly, provided the onboard device has data, a SIM card and is plugged in. It's important to note that, like any powerful app, Anchor Pro may consume significant power, so ensuring a continuous power source is critical.




Marine Traffic: Real-Time Vessel Tracking 

Discover the thrill of maritime exploration with Marine Traffic—an app blending fun and safety. Track any ships or yachts globally in near real-time, perfect for locating sailing friends or exploring marine activity. Stay connected with loved ones, as Marine Traffic lets them follow your adventures across the oceans.


Whether you're avoiding traffic, identifying approaching vessels, or staying updated on maritime activity, Marine Traffic provides a comprehensive vessel database at your fingertips and is one of our must-have apps for tech-savvy sailing.


Knots 3D: Unravelling The Art Of Knots 

This interactive and user-friendly application transforms the intricate world of knots into a visual and educational experience. This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions for tying over 180 knots, ranging from everyday essentials like the bowline and stopper knot to lesser-known and intricate knots like the Garrick knot or monkey's fist knot.


What sets this app apart is its unique feature—360-degree rotation of all knots. Gain an exact understanding of how each knot works by exploring it from every angle. Whether you're a seasoned knot master or a novice eager to learn, this app caters to all skill levels. It's not just a learning tool; it's a captivating experience.


Perfect for long passages, this app is a boredom-beating companion for seasoned knot masters or an excellent resource for novices looking to grasp anything from fundamental to decorative knot-tying skills.

Hanrie Bosch