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Apps for sailors

Smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of everyday life on board. Numerous apps are designed to make life easier for sailors - but not all of them are really that helpful. Pantaenius has compiled a list of recommended apps to enhance your time at sea and help to keep you safe.

According to a study by the University of Bonn, we Germans look at our smartphones 88 times a day. And even on board, very few sailors turn off for a "Digital Detox", and in many cases, actively use smartphones and tablets to aid their time on the water. The ever smaller and ever more powerful devices are in fact extremely practical when used on board. This is illustrated by the success of the "Navionics Boating" app, which can now be found on the smartphone or tablet of almost every leisure skipper. At the touch of a finger you can quickly and easily download the chart set for the respective area. Clever apps have also been developed for safety, wind and weather, some of which are even free.

However practical the mobile phone and tablet on board may be, apps are always only a supplement and do not replace classic navigation or VHF radio communication. Technology is fallible. The smartphone can go overboard, the tablet can fail on you. In the interests of good seamanship, you should therefore only rely on redundant systems. In other words, an official, up-to-date set of charts for the area you are sailing in belongs on every sailing yacht. Another alternative is to receive an up-to-date betting report, whether via radio or Navtex. A powerful radio also belongs on board every sailing yacht.


App tips for navigation:

• Navionics Boating: Whether for trip planning or as a supplement to the plotter, Navionics Boating is a practical app for iOS and Android. The app reaches its limits when displaying different zoom levels - think of Team Vestas, which ran into a reef at night in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 due to a navigation error. Basic version free of charge, map purchases in the app from around 40 Euros.

• Saildroid: This free app for Android devices offers a compass, speed display, position determination, distance measurement and the storage of waypoints.

• Marina Guide: This app for iOS and Android offers helpful information about marinas and ports with contact details, information about existing facilities, number of berths, water depth, etc. The North Sea and the Baltic Sea are completely covered.

• Marine Traffic: This app for iOS and Android is ideal to see which ships are nearby even without AIS.

• Maritime Calculator: This iOS app is only available in English and converts different units and calculates, among others, position and ETA.


App Tips for Security/Rescue Services:

• Safetrx: This app for iOS and Android tracks the smartphone or tablet and notifies relatives or sea rescuers in an emergency. It is available for many countries all over the world but the sailing area has to be set manually.

• DP07: The "Great Radio Conference from Borkum to Bornholm" has cult character. Captain Rainer Dietzel has also developed an app to be able to receive the broadcast anywhere in the world with iOS and Android devices. Subscription is €22.99 per year

• KNRM: With this app, the Dutch Maritime Rescue Service KNRM provides the boaters with information during the trip and alerts - if necessary and desired – also emergency contacts and the responsible authorities. For iOS and Android.


Wind and weather apps:

• DWD Warnnwetter: free warning weather app of the German Weather Service. The integrated thunderstorm monitor enables the predicted trail path of a storm to be viewed. For iOS and Android. Windfinder: Current wind, wave and weather data for water sports enthusiasts all over the world. Free of charge, for iOS and Android.

• Windy: Wind, weather, waves, temperature, cloud data in real time. In the Windy-Community you can exchange information about areas and sailing spots. For iOS and Android.

• YR.NO: Weather service for Scandinavia. Free of charge, for iOS and Android.

Apps for Tide Prediction

• Tide Prediction: Clear representation of the tide prediction at 3000 locations worldwide. With day and night calculation, for Android.

• My Tide Times: Extensive app to display the tide forecast. 9,000 locations all over the world are covered. Data can be downloaded for offline use. For iOS and Android.

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