iSail: Seven apps to set sail to

Story highlights

  • Consider whether the app requires network coverage
  • Navionics apps are some of the most popular on the market
  • TideApp is simple to use and it's free
Setting sail this weekend and want the latest information to help you along? Well look no further than your phone for everything you need. There is a wealth of data available through the thousands of apps on the market. But how do you know what is best for you?
Joe White from AppAdvice says it's important to consider whether you will have cellular coverage on your journey to determine which apps you should use. "If it's a navigation app that requires GPS then you'll need to have good cellular coverage," White explains. "But there are other apps out there that can be used offline."
Here's a list of some of the best apps to set sail to.
1. Navionics Marine, available for $9.99
While this is one of the more expensive marine apps on the market, it is one of the most comprehensive and popular. "They were working with marine software before the iPhone was even invented," says White. There is a wide selection of Navionics apps to choose from for the region in the world you're after such as the U.S., Africa, and Asia, with more specific ones on offer as well including the U.K. and Holland. Features include information on tides, currents and winds. It also allows you to take a photo while cruising and send it to your friends. It will then show the image in Google Earth so they can see exactly where you were when you took it. Despite it being more costly, experts say it's a worthwhile investment. "They continuously update the app," says White. "So after you've bought it, they keep enhancing it."
2. Boating Suite -- Log Book and Expense Book, available for $6.99
This is the ultimate app for mariners who are in need of organizing their boating admin. The Boating Suite app allows captains to track their expenses, log their fuel and keep records of maintenance. It also contains "to do list" and "shopping list" options to ensure there are no excuses for forgetting to complete the essential tasks for all your sailing journeys.
3. TideApp, available for free
"If you don't want to pay for a more fully featured application, take this app for a spin," says White. The TideApp is a simple to use application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, making it very attractive even to the less tech-savvy sailors. Tidal data is available for more than 4000 ports across the world and its features include sun and moon schedules. Developers say TideApp is far reaching, having been used in all seven continents. However like many apps on the market, a downside is that it requires network coverage to use.
4. The Weather Channel, available for free
If you're considering hitting the water, then a weather check is a must before heading out on your cruise. The Weather Channel app will give you all the forecast information you need to know. Developers pride themselves on having some of the most accurate weather information around. The app is regularly updated and with the free price tag , it is hard to go by.
5. What knot to do, available for free
For the Boy Scout in everybody, this app gives you a step-by-step guide on how to tie all the knots you need to know. "You can even enter the exact situation you're in and it'll tell you the knot to do," says White. This app is perfect for leisure sailors who may have forgotten what they learned at Scouts.
6. Find My iPhone, available for free
Do your friends and family want to keep track of you while you're setting sail? While this app is not designed specifically for sailors, it does allow for your loved ones to follow your journey. "This is can be used as an added safety precaution, a family member can find your location should something go wrong," says White. However he does emphasis that this app isn't without its downfalls for sailors. "It does require a network, so having a good connection is paramount."
7. Anchor Alarm, available for $7.99
The Anchor Alarm app is handy to make sure you stay on course while anchoring for day or night. It allows you to set your boat's position to a point, if you stray too far from it, an alarm will sound. "The application remains active during use," says White. "We recommend that users plug their iPhone into a power source when running it."