Water Sports - 13 min read

10 Best Sailing Apps (For Beginners & Experts!)

Nicole Abbott

Nicole Abbott, Updated October 18, 2022

As a boat owner, when you’re out on the wonder you’re most likely on your phone a lot less. However, there are apps available for you to download that when in need can be life-saving when it comes to being on the water. Being able to access highly-useful information when in need could make your adventure more enjoyable and stress-free.

With modern technology improving every day, there are several sailing apps available at your fingertips that are great for monitoring weather, navigation, anchoring, sailing, and monitoring tides. You’ll find that these sailing apps will be available for downloading on your iPhone, Android, or both. While some apps are free, others are available for a small cost.

Now sit back, relax, and join us as we dive into our collection of the 10 best sailing apps. Let’s get started!

Best Sailing Apps For Beginners

Below, we have compiled a list of 5 sailing apps for beginners. Each app listed has its own cost and features to make it unique and useful to boat owners.

1. Savvy Navvy

Credit: Savvy Navvy / Sail World

Availability: iOS and Android
Price: Free, Premium: $69.99/year

Savvy Navvy was designed by Jelte Liebrand and was designed to have all of the sailing information that you need in one place. The app was designed to remove any need to use multiple apps  while you’re out on the water. The employees who work for Savvy Navvy have designed its features based on the feedback they receive from their customers.

Features

  1. Savvy Charts: These charts show the essential marine information from an easy-to-read interface.
  2. Tidal Data: This feature allows you to view over 8,000 tidal stations from around the globe.
  3. GPS Active Tracking: With this feature, you can view your position and check your course and speed over the ground.
  4. Wind Map: All of the charts come with a wind map to check the wind direction.
  5. Weather Forecast: With this feature, you’ll be able to view changing wind directions, speed, and weather conditions.
  6. Route Planning: With route planning, you can plan the best route based on your departure time, charts, weather, and other boat data.
  7. Arrival Estimation: With this feature, you can plot from start to finish to get estimates of travel and fuel requirements.
  8. Fuel Efficiency: This feature lets you estimate fuel usage based on your cruising speed.
  9. Departure Time: You can schedule your departure time based on your route, wind, and tidal conditions.

2. Navionics

Credit: Navionics / Navonics

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free, Subscription: $24.99

Navionics is one of the top, best-known apps for marine navigation. What makes them stand out is that their charts have depth markers, beacons, buoys, relief shading, terrain, and more. Their information is displayed on one map so it might take some time to read the data and symbols.

Features

  1. Dock-To-Dock Route Guidance: This feature creates a suggested route from start to finish based on chart data and navigation aids.
  2. Sonar Chart Live: With sonar chart live you’ll be able to create new maps of uncharted areas.
  3. Plotter Sync: With plotter sync, you’ll be able to transfer routes and markers, update the chart layers, and more!
  4. Sonar Imagery: This feature gives you highlights and vivid color in both subtle and dramatic transitions.
  5. Relief Shading: The relief shading feature will give you detailed shading of colors and shadows to make information easier to interpret.

3. Sea-pilot

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free, Annual Subscription: $39.99

Seapilot was founded in 2011 and is one of the top sailing apps available. This navigation app focuses on functionality and design toward commercial shipping standards. They were the first navigation app in the world to release the feature known as the Automatic Identification System.

This system makes it easier to see other vessels moving around on the nautical charts. They also provide in real-time the AIS weather. This feature alone made them the most popular and ranked number 1 as the Top Grossing App in Apple’s App Store.

Features

  1. Chart Coverage: Seapilot offers charts for 24 different countries.
  2. GRIB Data and Presentation: a GRIB file has wind or forecast for regular points over a location.
  3. Internet AIS: With Internet AIS you’ll be able to view other ships in the Seapilot app.
  4. NMEA: With NMEA you’ll be able to connect your sensors on board to wifi and receive information in real-time when you’re outside of coverage.
  5. Polars: These diagrams show just how fast a sailboat is going at different wind speeds.
  6. Download Polar Files: Seapilot offers you the option of downloading their polar files if you don’t want to create your own.
  7. Social Boating: With social boating, you’ll be able to find your friends at sea.
  8. Weather Forecast: This feature gives you real-time weather along with MeteoGroup.
  9. Weather Routing: With weather routing, you can GRIB files and other forecasts for easier access to weather routing.

4. Tides Planner

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free, In-App Purchases

The Tides Planner app is one of the top apps and serves as a companion for sailors, fishermen, and anyone who loves spending time at sea. You’ll receive instant access to 8,000 locations with no connections needed. If you want to access more data on this app, more purchases are required.

Features

  1. Tidal Graphs
  2. Minimum/Maximum Depths
  3. Chart Depth/Actual Depth
  4. Global Search
  5. Time of Sunrise/Sunset
  6. Moon Phases
  7. Currents and Tidal Streams
  8. Date of Spring/Neap Tides
  9. Scrolling Scales

5. Predict Wind

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free

The PredictWind sailing app is to make sure you have the most accurate forecast available right at your fingertips. They have the top-ranked models, in addition to high-resolution PredictWind modeling to give you unmatched forecast accuracy. This app comes highly recommended by navigators and meteorologists from all around the world.

Features

  1. Save Locations: You’ll be able to set up your favorite locations for quicker access.
  2. Access Forecasts: You’ll be able to view the tables, graphs, and maps for your location.
  3. Extreme Weather Warnings: Stay up to date on current and future weather forecasts.
  4. Departure Planning: This feature allows you to schedule your departure to plan your route from start to finish.
  5. Weather Routing: Gives access to high-resolution forecasts in small file sizes.

Best Sailing Apps For Experts

Below, we have compiled a list of 5 sailing apps for experts. Each app listed has its own cost and features to make it unique and useful to boat owners.

6. Anchor Watch

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free, In-App Purchases

The Anchor Watch app is simply one-of-a-kind. This app gives a signal letting you know when your boat has drifted off of your safety zone when it’s at anchor. There are many apps in comparison, but Anchor Watch is ranked to be the best.

When you drop your anchor, you will easily press the position button and adjust the perimeter that you don’t want to leave. For example, you may adjust your perimeter so that you don’t drift more than 10 meters. This app remembers where you dropped your anchor and will monitor your position throughout the night.

Features

  1. Comfortable: Allows you to easily adjust your position as well as your defined radius.
  2. Alerting: This gives you visual and sound alerts that will grab your attention as soon as your boat drifts away from its designated area.
  3. Remote Monitoring: This feature keeps a close eye on the current location of your boat.
  4. Anchorage Search: With this feature, you’ll find the best spot to drop your anchor away from other boats.

7. Vessel Finder

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: $9.99

Vessel Finder is an application that tracks vessels and provides high standards of AIS-related services. They show positions and data of over 200,000 vessels from all over the world. Their employees consist of programmers, engineers, designers, and writers.

The app makes improvements based on customer feedback and expectations. Vessel Finder has apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

Features

  1. Locations: You’ll receive updated positions on over 200,000 vessels daily.
  2. Communication: Port calls and master data.
  3. Destinations: You’ll receive a detailed voyage history for every vessel.
  4. Management: Their My Fleet management systems make for more efficient monitoring.

8. Navily

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free, Premium: $19.99/year

Navily has more than 600,000 users across the globe and is the ideal companion app for boat owners. The guide on the app has over 30,000 anchorages and marinas. With this app, you’ll be able to sail smarter with the knowledge of locals.

With the touch of your fingertips, you’ll be able to easily book from more than 700 partner marinas. Since there are so many members within the Navily community, you’ll be able to read their reviews and browse their photos to get a first-hand experience of their community.

By being able to take advice and listen to reviews from others in the community, you’ll be setting yourself up for a more enjoyable sailing experience.

Features

  1. 72-Hour Weather Forecast: This feature gives you 72 hours of weather forecasts and a protection score on all anchorages. You’ll be able to get the weather in 3-hour increments for each marina, along with the temperature and weather.
  2. Automatic Protection Score: Their protection score will analyze to predict in real-time if the anchorage is suitable for weather conditions.
  3. Advanced Map Filters
  4. Offline Mode

9. MarineTraffic

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free, Starter Plan Annual: $9.99

The MarineTraffic app will give you real-time positions of ships and yachts across the globe. It uses one of the largest networks of land-based AIS receivers. The application covers the majority of major ports and shipping routes.

You’ll be able to view live wind and 48-hour wind forecasts. You’ll have access to port arrivals and departures for over 4,000 ports and marinas, along with current conditions in ports and arrival estimation. In addition, you’ll have access to marine environments that include information such as sea beds, sea marks, and landmarks.

Features

  1. Weather Forecasts: This feature includes wind contours, wind and flow gusts, temperatures, wave metrics, clouds and precipitation, ocean currents, and more.
  2. Route Planner: This tool will allow you to plan a route on the map, measure distances, and calculate your ETA.
  3. Marine Environment Access: You’ll have access to berths, dry docks, terminal locations, positions of buoys, lights, lighthouses, and depths of water.

10. Tide Alert

Availability: For iOS
Price: Free, In-App Purchases

The tide alert app gives you the tide forecaster data along with the moon phase calendar with an easy interface to use. This app has one of the best features that allow you to set your alerts for any high tide or low tide events. The tide alert app even works offline when you can’t be connected to the internet.

The tide alert app has thousands of tide stations that are available in the United States. This app is perfect for those who love to sail the waters, along with kayakers, surfers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Features

  1. Layout: This app has a new landscape layout for your iPad that take full advantage of the larger screen.
  2. Favorites List: You can add tide stations to your favorites list with one touch of a button.
  3. Tide Data: With this feature, you’ll be able to view tide data for the whole month, along with the highest and lowest tides of the month.
  4. Times: With this feature, you’ll be able to view times for the sunrise, sunset, and moonrise.
  5. Adjustments: This app automatically adjusts for daylight savings time and different time zones.
  6. Tide Alerts: With tide alerts, you’ll have custom local notifications.

Can Google Maps Be Used for Marine Navigation

As car owners, we all know that Google maps are a great tool to use for navigation. The question is, can Google maps be used for marine navigation? The answer is no, you can’t use Google maps for marine navigation, however, there are other applications you’ll be able to use.

I-Boating

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: Free

The I-Boating marine navigation app has some similarities compared to Google. This app will give you free access to their charts and maps. On their online portal, you can look around and see what an area looks like in terms of navigation.

In this way, it makes it similar to Google Maps that they both offer you the opportunity to explore an area to navigate. Even though it’s not Google maps, the I-Boating app is a great app for navigating on the water.

OpenSeaMap

Availability: For iOS and Android
Price: $0.99

OpenSeaMap is a long way from Google maps, but it still has potential. The only similarity that this app shares with Google maps are the free charts. Currently, it has information about buoys and other navigational marks, but in terms of depth information, it is very limited.

One similarity that it has to Google maps is that it’s free to use on your web browser. Now that you know that there isn’t an app like Google maps for boating, you might be wondering if you can just use Google maps.

Again, Google Maps is available to use for boating, but it will only give you a general overview. Google maps do not give depth information and the navigational features are not present. You can use Google Maps to gather some information, but you can’t use it for navigating on the water. 

Is There an App for Water Depth?

If you’re wondering if there is an app for water depth, then you’ve come to just the right place. The answer is yes, there is an app for water depth and it is called Navionics. We covered Navionics a bit earlier in our reading.

Navionics

The Navionics app is a great app to use to check the bottom contours of the waters that you are sailing or plan to go to. This app is very accurate and helps you find depth changes, humps, underwater points, and more!

FishSens

The FishSens App has a camera and is great for capturing underwater photos of fish habitats. With this app, you can easily start and stop the camera right from your phone. This app allows you to see down in water depths that most cameras will not.

Another great thing about this app is that you can use this camera without even needing a boat. If you want to test it out, you can always start by dropping it under a dock or pier. If you need a clear picture when navigating water depths, you’ll want to download this app.

Wrapping It Up

No matter what way you are choosing to sail, you can use one of these useful apps to come to your aid out on the water. Even though we’re always told to not entirely rely on technology at sea, having these apps available for use can be very helpful and make sailing more enjoyable.

These apps allow you to have access that mariners never had access to before such as weather forecasts, wind trackers, charting, water depths, and more. These apps can make sailing easier and safer for boaters. Before you head out on the water, check out some of these apps and see which ones work best for you.

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