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Nowadays there are apps to facilitate every part of our lives, from food delivery to meditation, and boating is, of course, no exception. 
 
Over the years more and more boating apps have appeared on the market, covering navigation charts, weather and tidal conditions, fishing and more. You may find yourself asking which of these are worth downloading and which are a waste of time? We’ve rounded up the 8 best boating apps to download before setting sail. Bear in mind, however, that no app can be a substitute for good boating practices.
 

Navigation

 

1. Navionics

 
This extremely comprehensive app provides boaters with everything they need to navigate and plan their adventures on the water. Its main features include detailed nautical charts and sonar charts for depths and bottom details. Navionics also includes a community feature which gathers information from fellow sailors about points of interest and navigation aids. 
 
Additionally, its advanced features include dock to dock autorouting and identification of nearby vessels and Aids-to-Navigation (ATON) when connected to a Wi-Fi AIS compatible receiver.
 
Rating: 4 stars on Google Play, 2.9 on the App Store.
Price: Two-week free trial, yearly subscription depending on coverage area. UK, Ireland & Holland subscription costs £34.99.  
Available: Google Play, App Store
 
 
screenshots of the app detailing its features
Navionics is a popular navigation app with a wide range of features. Photo: navionics
 

2. iNavX

 
iNavX is a handheld chartplotter which hosts a wide variety of chart providers. The app allows you to track and plan your route, check tides and currents and search for marinas and navaids. It also has a multitude of other functionalities to help you navigate. 
 
Rating:  3.1 stars on Google Play, 4.6 on the App Store.
Price: Free with in-app purchases.
Available: Google Play, App Store
 

3. Garmin ActiveCaptain

 
Whilst not a stand-alone navigation app, Garmin ActiveCaptain is the perfect addition for Garmin chartplotter owners. When connected with your Garmin chartplotter, it allows you to save routes, purchase new maps and connect with other boaters and see their reviews on marinas and other locations.   
 
Rating: 4.4 stars on Google Play, 3.9 on the App Store.
Price: Free with in-app purchases.
Available: Google Play, App Store 
 
review of a marina on garmin activecaptain
Garmin ActiveCaptain is perfect for Garmin chartplotter owners. Photo: garmin.com
 

Weather                           

4. PredictWind

 
PredictWind has top ranking forecast models to ensure an accurate forecast. The app has also been proven in yacht racing and offshore cruising and praised by professional sailors such as British Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie.
 
Rating: 4.7 stars on Google Play, 4.7 on the App Store.
Price: Free with in-app purchases.
Available: Google Play, App Store
 
 

Fishing   

5. WeFish

 
WeFish is the perfect app for avid anglers; with a space to record your catches, a catch map, information on the most active species by area and Fish Lab which lets you analyse data from your catches. There is also a marketplace where you can buy and sell rods, bait and other equipment.
 
The app is highly social and allows you to connect with other fishing enthusiasts, but if this isn’t for you there’s also the option to keep all your catches secret. If you embrace the social side, you can participate in fishing challenges and earn stars and prizes.
 
Rating: 4.8 stars on Google Play, 4 on the App Store.
Price: Free or Premium £2.48/month* or £25.73/year*
Available: Google Play, App Store
 
wefish app
WeFish helps anglers find the best fishing spots. Photo: WeFish App
 

6. FishAngler

 
Another fishing app to check out is FishAngler. It has map layers that allow you to explore lakes, rivers and oceans that have an extensive database of catches and fishing spots. Additional features include real time weather forecast, a logbook for your catches and a community aspect that helps you connect you other anglers in your area and across the globe.   
 
Rating: 4.6 stars on Google Play, 4.8 on the App Store.
Price: Free
Available: Google Play, App Store
 

Others

7. Navily 

 
Navily is the perfect app for looking up anchorages and marinas, with more than 15,000 logged on the app. Anchorages are rated by their 400,000 users on wind protection, on-shore amenities amongst other useful information. You can also book in over 700 marinas across Europe directly from the application. 
 
Rating: 4.2 stars on Google Play, 4.6 on the App Store.
Price: Free with in-app purchases. Premium for £17.15/year*.
Available: Google Play, App Store
 
 
navily
Find the best anchorages and marinas near you with Navily. Photo: Navily
 

8. Marine Traffic

 
This app uses the largest network of land-based AIS receivers to identify the position of marine vessels. It also has information such as speed and direction of vessels to help you navigate the sea. It’s important to mention that not all vessels are identifiable with AIS and that data isn’t real-time. However, it can be useful as a guide, helping sailors identify other vessels early on so that they can change course if need be.  
 
Rating: 4.2 stars on Google Play, 4.6 on the App Store. 
Price: Free or Starter Plan £9.49/year
Available: Google Play, App Store
 
 
*Prices marked with an asterisk are accurate according to the euro-pound exchange rate at the time of writing.
 
For more information see:
7 Best Fishing Apps
 
Main photo: Tobias Hage
Tiara Junanto
Boats and Outboards Marketing Team
Published on 2021-07-27