Once you’ve used a nautical navigation app you’ll wonder if you're chart plotter is even necessary. You might also ask yourself why your built-in plotter system and charts cost so much money when you can do the same thing with your iPhone and a quick download or two. Not all of these apps are worth your time and effort, though, so we’ve had a look for you. Here’s our list of the best iPhone apps for nautical navigation.
The best iPhone apps for nautical navigation
17 May 2017, by Cherry Mae Torrevillas
Embark offers free navigational tools and nautical charts you’ll love to have with you on your next trip on the water. Features include the ability to instantly sync your chart and settings across all devices, you can bring your charts tie you wherever you go, you can search for anything maritime, and you can create your own chart. This app will make your boating trips more fun, more pleasant, and simpler. There are also night and sunshine charts for when it’s dark out, or really bright. Want offline charts? An in-app purchase offers more features.
- Sync your charts and settings
- Create your own routes
- Record your trips
- Save your favorite places
- Free with in-app purchases
iBoating offers users access to marine charts for many countries. Features include customizable shallow depth, detailed vector charts, long-press feature to query the details of marine objects, customizable depth, voice prompts for marine navigation, auto-follow with real-time track overlay and predict path vector, tide and currents prediction, seamless chart quilting, and maps for 23 countries. You get multiple GPS features, route management and trip planning, information on tides and currents, and more.
- Route editing
- Vector maps
- Sharing options
- Free with in-app purchases
Navily is called your mobile cruising guide for a reason. If you need to find an anchoring spot, this is the app to use. You can send berth booking requests directly from the app, get information on over 2,500 anchoring spots like seabed, depth info, photos, and more. You can rank mooring fields based on atmosphere, prices, and quality, and upload photos for other members to view. You can create and manage wish lists to plan future trips, calculate ehe price for your boat at any point of the year, and easily navigate by sliding left or right.
- Provides the boating community digital tools
- Discover more than 2,500 anchoring spots
- Share your experience on mooring fields
- Request harbor berths
- Free iPhone app for nautical navigation
Whether you are going to the beach for surfing, fishing, boating or to work on your tan, this app will keep you informed on all of the latest tide information for over 9,000 tidal stations across the globe. Find tidal information based on location, view sunrise and sunset times, view 7-day forecasts, download information for offline viewing and more. This app provides a lot of useful information via a clean and friendly user interface. It’s easy to use and very accurate.
- Reliable, accurate and easy to use tidal app
- Get tidal information for over 9,000 locations
- View sunrise and sunset times, 7-day forecasts
- Download information for offline viewing
- Great for anyone visiting the ocean or beach
iNavX gives you a clean, intuitive interface to use as you pan, zoom, and rotate charts. It’s compatible with a bunch of different charts and you will find it quickly becomes your number one marine navigation app. You’ll get access to hundreds of detailed charts, an advanced chart plotter, advanced navigation functions, advanced instrumentation, an essential toolkit that includes an anchor alarm, and more. The app integrates AIS data and alerts, gives you an automatic course up display, and gives high-res weather forecasts. This app is great for boaters, anglers, and sailors alike.
- Leading marine navigation app for cruisers, boaters, sailors, divers, and fishermen
- Advanced chart plotter
- Advanced navigation
- Essential toolkit
- One price includes all features
SEAiq Open is a marine navigation app that lets you load your own charts, and you can automatically download charts from NOAA for the USA and download raster charts based on satellite imagery. You also get night cool modes, an anchor alarm, waypoints, WiFi-based AIS and NMEA, chart measuring tools, routes, tracks, and the automatic download and display of weather. The app is free to download and try out for seven days; after that, if you want to keeping the app you will have to make an in-app upgrade to the premium version that includes all the features.
- Night color modes
- Chart measuring tools
- Anchor alarm
- Load your own charts
- Free to try for seven days
ezSights is a celestial navigation app that gives you the ability to enter sight parameters, plan the navigational bodies to use and time of day to make observations, and enter the observations made using a sextant. Then just tap a button and a fix is determined from the observations. Features include internally calculated Nautical Almanac values good through 2059, an animated star map, two different methods for determining a fix, and more. The app computers moon phase, HP, semi-diameter, and parallax as well as rise and set times for the moon and sun, and supports running fixes. You can save current data and up to seven previous fixes.
- Animated star map
- Internally calculated Nautical Almanac values
- Supports practice sights using a large body of water using dip short
- Integration with iOS Maps
- One-time purchase
Memory-Map offers GPS navigation with offline topographical maps and NOAA marine charts. Use this app to turn your iPhone into a marine chart plotter. When you don’t have Internet you can still use it since maps are stored on your device. Features include the ability to create and edit marks, import and export GPX files, plan routes, and more. The app records tracklogs even when running in background, auto-rotates, shows altitude, and offers fast zooming and scrolling. You can load maps from Memory-Map PC navigation software and you can email position marks or tracklogs as GPX files.
- Support for GPS and Compass sensors
- Screen lock
- Shows speed and direction of travel
- Offline maps
- Free with in-app purchases
Boat Beacon is an AIS receiver for your iPhone, connected to the largest network of AIS shore receivers in the world. It covers most major ports, popular coastal areas, and harbors. Features include over-the-horizon collision avoidance, constant transmission and reception of position information, real-time ship map view, Man Overboard tracking, and NOAA US Marine raster charts. This is a great app to keep a watch on other boats when sailing in a group, or to let friends and family members know where you are. This is not an AIS transponder so you will not be visible to other ships on their VHF AIS systems.
- Local AIS via WiFi
- Boat-to-Boat instant messaging
- Anchor watch
- Man Overboard tracking
- Over-the-horizon collision avoidance
Navigation Rules gives you the information you need to know when you are learning about going on the water. It includes an annotated table of contents, a search function, a Favorites page, and an option to share a page with others. It gives you a complete copy of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, including amendments and the Inland Navigation Rules. All boaters should know this information. If you’re a maritime student, raising a child who needs to learn about water rules, or you just want to have the COLREGS at-hand, this is a great app.
- Quick guides
- Updated copy of International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
- Table of Contents
- Search function
- Favorites page