Best Boating Apps WinGPS Marine vs Navionics vs Nautical Almanac ... and 17 more

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Being out on the water is a wonderful way to spend one's time. Whether you're an angler, sailor, kayaker, or any other activity that requires a seaworthy vessel, using the right technology can greatly improve safety along with enhancing the experience. Whether you're a daily boater or just enjoy it recreationally, the apps listed below will prove useful on the water.

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Navigation, charts, weather, winds, logs, angler information, and just about anything else related to boating is covered in the apps discussed below.

Most of the apps below are available on Android and iOS and offer a free version with in-app ads and purchase opportunities.

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Method 1: WinGPS Marine

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WinGPS™ Marine is a GPS plotter that predicts the weather and utilizes AIS (automatic identification system).

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A well-rounded navigation app that can handle everything from sailing to kayaks.

  1. 1
    Type
    .
    GPS/Navigation/Travel & Local
    Advertisement
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
    Advertisement
     
    1. Easy-to-use user interface that allows easy route/waypoint editing.
    2. With Bluetooth or WiFi users can connect both AIS and GPS with ease.
    3. Man-overboard button will lock the position to help locate the lost crew member.
    4. Clean, neat, easy organization of charts and routes.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases ranging from $31.62 - $124.65 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    WinGPS™ Marine is available on Android.
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Method 2: Navionics

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Coined as the "world's most popular marine and lakes app", Navionics offers the same level of accuracy and detail as top GPS plotters.

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A highly used app that packs in a lot of features for marine enthusiasts.

  1. 1
    Type
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    GPS/Navigation/Travel & Local
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. NAUTICAL CHART - Manage your cartographic requirements with the latest and most updated information.
    2. DOCK-TO-DOCK AUTOROUTING - Creates highly detailed routes, including those for narrow waterways and channels.
    3. PLOTTER SYNC - Users who own WiFi compatible plotters can transfer markers and routes.
    4. WEATHER & TIDES - Real-time weather reports and data. Users can access hourly and daily reports for their favorite locations.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free 14 day trial begins immediately after installing the app.
    2. In-app purchases ranging from $2.99 - $38.99 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Navionics is available on both Android and iOS.
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Method 3: Nautical Almanac

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This is a great app for those who prefer to navigate using the sun, moon, stars and primary navigation planets.

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  1. 1
    Type
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    Productivity/Nautical
    Advertisement
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Calculates celestial almanac data for the sun, moon, and stars.
    2. Error calculator for both magnetic compass and gyro.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases, $3.49 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Nautical Almanac is available on Android.
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Method 4: i-Boating Marine & Fishing Maps

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Another great marine chart app that offers offline charts in addition to lake maps with depth data.

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Need assistance? No problem, this app is one of the first to include voice prompts to assist with routes.

  1. 1
    Type
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    GPS/Navigation/Travel & Local
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. Custom depth shading with various units of measurement (Ft/Fathom/Meter/km/mi/NM).
    2. Create new GPS routes and fishing locations.
    3. Provides tides and currents information.
    4. Includes waypoint support.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases ranging from $18.99 - $84.99 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    i-Boating Marine & Fishing Maps is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 5: WINDY: NOAA wind forecast app

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The Windy app is a bit more versatile in that its main purpose is for detailed wind information.

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This is important for those who participate in high wind sports such as sailing, yachting, kayaking, windsurfing, etc.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Weather
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Animated wind tracker which is a must-have for sailing.
    2. Local weather for up to ten days in three-hour intervals in knots/beaufort/mps.
    3. Ocean wave and sea swell forecast.
    4. Pressure and humidity.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases are $12.99 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    WINDY is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 6: NOAA: Buoys Live Marine Weather

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This handy app provides you with all the latest weather data directly from NOAA's buoys in real-time.

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With over 500 weather buoys available and a vast coverage area, there is no shortage of weather data.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Weather
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Provides real-time weather data from any of NOAA's 500 buoys.
    2. Get water temperature, wave height/speed/direction, air temperature, etc.
    3. Save your favorite buoy locations for easy future access.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    NOAA: buoys live weather app is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 7: Dockwa

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Don't let the headache of finding slips and moorings get in the way of enjoying your boating trip.

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Dockwa is an all-in-one booking and exploration app that lets you manage all your docking and reservations directly from your mobile device.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Marine/Travel & Local
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Access reservations at hundreds of yacht clubs, marinas, and boatyards throughout the East Coast, the Bahamas, Caribbean, Great Lakes and West Coast.
    2. Free app for boaters. No extra fees or membership costs.
    3. Compare rates, amenities, and services directly on your device.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Dockwa is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 8: SlipFinder

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Designed by boaters, for boaters, SlipFinder's primary function is to book transient slips rather than reserve them.

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This app puts the user in direct contact with marinas, eliminating any unnecessary in between stuff.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Maps & Navigation
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. A platform for marinas and boaters to communicate directly in real time.
    2. Book a slip or mooring quickly with ease, no stress.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    SlipFinder is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 9: Marine Navigation-Canada & USA

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This GPS Marine Charts app gives access to charts for both Canadian and US waters.

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For those who travel, boat, or fish around the US/Canadian waters, this app might be of value to you.

  1. 1
    Type
    .
    GPS/Navigation/Travel & Local
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Route assistance via voice prompts.
    2. Alerts when vessel veers off course.
    3. Offers a distance bearing tool along with the ability to create custom waypoints.
    4. Canadian and US charts (contact support if a chart is missing).
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    $32.99
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Marine Navigation-Canada & USA is available on Android.
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Method 10: Marine Safety Signs

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Understanding marine safety signs and symbols is extremely important for anyone who regulars boats or ships.

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The dangers are elevated when on the water so it's imperative everyone is up on all safety requirements and signage.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Nautical/Educational
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. Quickly learn all the most popular signs and symbols aboard most large vessels and ships.
    2. Offers three sections: browser, quiz, and theory.
    3. Increase your knowledge at your own pace by adding more signs to be quizzed on.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Marine Safety Signs is available on Android.
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Method 11: Anchor Watch/Alarm

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Knowing exactly where your boat is at all times is very important to your safety and the safety of others.

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Anchor Watch/Alarm is a position logging app that alerts the user with an alarm if the vessel has drifted too far from the original spot.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Tools/Navigation
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Automatically sends SMS if you drift too far from the anchor.
    2. Displays GPS coordinates along with accuracy.
    3. monitors your boat's distance to the anchor.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Anchor Watch / Alarm is available on Android.
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Method 12: Knots 3D

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Boating and knots go hand-in-hand so having a knot reference app at your fingertips can be quite convenient.

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Learn how to tie even the most difficult knots with this apps detailed instructions and images.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Books & Reference/Educational
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. 121 unique knots with new knots being added regularly.
    2. Supports landscape and portrait mode for easier display.
    3. Offers animated instructions with pause, rotate, zoom, and play speed.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Try Knots 3D risk-free for a week. (7 Day Refund Policy). $2.49
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Knots 3D is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 13: MarineTraffic ship positions

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A near real-time vessel positioning app, Marine Traffic is connected to the largest network of AIS receivers and tracks traffic in most major ports.

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  1. 1
    Type
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    Marine/Maps & Navigation
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Vessels displayed on a live map.
    2. Manage your fleet right on your device.
    3. Live port arrivals and departures, with current port conditions.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. $5.99
    2. In-app purchases ranging from $1.99 - $4.50 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    MarineTraffic ship positions is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 14: Polaris GPS Navigation

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When on the water, it's never a bad idea to have additional GPS systems on-hand.

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This app turns your mobile device into a high-powered GPS unit.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Maps & Navigation
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. Great for sailing, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
    2. Navigate any waterway or body of water with your mobile phone alone.
    3. No account or subscription required, just install and explore.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases at $1.29 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility.Polaris GPS Navigation is available on Android.
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Method 15: Boating

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Boating Free is a great tool for those just getting started with boating.

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With over 200 3D illustrations, you can increase your knowledge and prepare for any boating tests or exams.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Marine/Educational
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Offers two modes, training and practice.
    2. Currently supports 100 questions (more coming) with detailed answers.
    3. Topics covered: sea marks, charts, weather, diving, international rules, sound and distress signals,
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Boating Free is available on Android.
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Method 16: Fishbrain Fishing

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Join millions of users who've shared their fishing experiences.

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This social anglers app has well over three million users who have shared two million catches.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Sports/Fishing
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Explore positions where users have had to catches.
    2. Fishing forecast for over 130 species of fish.
    3. Connect with and meet new angler friends.
    4. Track all your fishing logs.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases ranging from $7.31 - $63.37 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Fishbrain Fishing is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 17: Marinanow

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With a few simple taps, you can have a berth ready and waiting for your boat.

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Marinanow is connected to over 1000 European marinas and is expanding all the time.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Travel & Local
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. Check accommodations, services, and book a berth in a just a few taps.
    2. Access to exclusive super yacht rentals.
    3. Make money renting out your own boat or berth.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Marinanow is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 18: Marine Terms

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Get caught up on the proper marine jargon and terminology with this app.

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Whether you're new to the water or are a seasoned sailor, this app can help.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Books & Reference/Marine
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. Offers vast appendix of marine terminology.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
     
    1. Free version.
    2. In-app purchases ranging from $1.19 - $3.49 per item.
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Marine Terms is available on Android.
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Method 19: Boat Beacon - AIS Navigation

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Boat Beacon is an anti-collision app that helps keep you alerted of any impending traffic.

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Turn your phone or tablet into a fully functioning AIS receiver and display.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Maps & Navigation
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  2. 2
    Features
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    1. Specifically designed for water use with ships traffic being charted.
    2. Receives and sends AIS ship information over the internet in real-time.
    3. App works continuously in the background at all time.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    $9.99
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  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    Boat Beacon is available on Android and iOS.
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Method 20: SkyView Free

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Although this stargazing app isn't specifically for boating, it can certainly be used while on the water.

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Use your camera to accurately locate and identify celestial bodies during the day or night.

  1. 1
    Type
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    Educational
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  2. 2
    Features
    .
     
    1. Fun and easy to use, simply point your device at the sky.
    2. Supports both red and green night filters.
    3. Share captured images with family and friends via social media.
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  3. 3
    Cost/Fees
    .
    Free
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Compatibility
    .
    SkyView® Free is available on Android.
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    Advertisement

With 71% of the world's surface covered with water, it makes sense to get out there and enjoy it from time-to-time. Utilizing technology to enhance the experience is a no-brainer and we hope you can make use of some of the great apps discussed in this article.

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Travel & Leisure | Software

Recent edits by: Alma, Maria, Eng

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