Friday, December 31, 2010

Navimatics Charts and Tides

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: Marine Navigation and Charting
Cost: $24.99
Rating: ***

As I write this we are getting hit by the second blizzard in two days. Another 6-8 inches with 30-40 mph winds. Living in the Midwest you would think I would be use to it. I wish I was someplace warm sailing about now. Back to the review.

Navimatics has been around for years providing quality celestial, aeronautical and marine charts for navigation. The Charts & Tides program for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is claimed by Navimatics to be the first full resolution, seamless charting  program for marine navigation.  With the purchase of  Charts & Tides you can run the software on both your iPhone and iPad for one inclusive price.

Like all iPhone and iPad charting applications Charts & Tides should be considered as a backup to your onboard navigation system. 

Navimatics offers four different coverage regions depending on your use and location. It offers East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast and Great Lakes.

  • Supports standard NOAA vector charts.
  • All chart data is provided in the app and automatically updated to ensure the most recent version.
  • A true heads-up display instantly rotates your chart as your boat turns, including text.
  • The app has chart quilting which seamlessly displays the next chart as you move.
  • The full ActiveCaptain database is provided in the app for offline use. 
  • Fully synchronize the offline POI database with the ActiveCaptain server when you have an Internet connection so you can have the latest information.
  • Built-in search mode for finding any location, marina, bridge or other navigation items quickly.
  • 3D Bathymetry view for a different perspective of your navigation surroundings.
  • Plus integrated tides/currents, weather, sun/moon calendar and much more.
What I found unique about the Navimatics app is that is has the entire ActiveCaptain database downloaded in this app.  The database literally contains thousands of marinas, anchorages, hazards, bridges, boat ramps and other points of interest.  The ActiveCaptain website can also be utilized when an Internet connection is available. Having access to so much information in the ActiveCaptain database is a plus and it is what sets this app apart from any other charting app.
The app uses the NOAA ENC charts, bathymetric and topographical charts.  The app also provides tidal data for realtime current computation. The app allows the user to use it on the iPhone or the iPad with one purchase. No need to purchase two apps.

The NOAA ENC charts are free and can be downloaded from NOAA.  The author has simply put together this free information and provided it in an easy to use manner.  The ActiveCaptain data can also be accessed for free at their website  If you think it is work the $25.00 to have it on your iPhone or iPad it is available through Navimatics.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Overton's Marine App

Overton's Marine App

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch iOs 3.1 or later
Function: Marine and Boating Supplies
Cost: Free 
Rating: **

I opened my email this morning and found a nice surprise. A new Overton's App. Man this is like Christmas early.  Overton's have been around since the mid 1970s selling water skis and the quality boating gear. The business started out of a grocery store in Greenville, NC and has since grown into one of the world leaders in boating supplies. It is one of my favorite sites for boating gear.  Overton's acquired Gander Mountain in 2007 and continues to grow.


The app is brand new and is focused now on Christmas goodies for boaters. They are offering $2.99 regular shipping on all your purchases.  It is not too late to load up on goodies for your favorite boater. I am sure Dad could use a new pair of deck shoes. They are now offering a great line of marine Christmas cards and boating ornaments for your tree. Other categories include gift in the $30, $50 and $100 dollar range.

Overton's always has great prices and the many clearance items are always a bargain. Check it out! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Navigation Lights

NAV Lights Study Guide

Application: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
Function: Nautical Reference and Study
Cost: Free
Rating: **

If you ever sail at night you will want to pick up this handy reference and study guide provide by Tollway Solutions called Nav Lights. You may also know these as running lights.  These are the light that boat, yachts and ships are required to have illuminated while they are operating during the non daylight hours. These lights along with their configuration and color help boaters identify each other and safely navigate at night. These light also allow boaters to determine the position, heading and status of the vessels around them.

Did you know that navigation lights play a key role in determining who has the right of way. On boats, yachts and ships, a red light will be mounted on the left or port side of the ship and a green on the right or starboard side. These lights help two boats on a collision course determine who has right of way.  If a boater sees a vessel on a path crossing his, he will see either its red running light or green running light. If he observes a green light,  he is on the other boats starboard and has the right of way. If the boater observes a red light, he knows that the other boat has the right of way, and he is required to change his course to avoid the collision.

History lesson:

The United States passed an act in 1828 requiring steamboats operating between sunset and sunrise to carry signal lights. The United Kingdom passed regulations in 1848 that required steam vessels to display red and green sidelights as well as a white masthead light. The U.S. Congress required sailing vessels to operate with lights starting in 1848. United States held the first International Maritime Conference in 1889 to consider regulations on preventing accidents at sea. The resulting Washington Conference Rules were adopted by the U.S in 1890. The international 1948 Safety of Life at Sea Conference recommended a mandatory fixed stern light for almost all vessels. These regulations have been the standard since then.


Nav Lights is a quick reference and study guide to help boaters learn the many different configurations of navigation lights.  It has several categories to choose from.  It shows navigation lights for fishing vessel, power driven vessels, towing and pushing vessels and vessel not under command or with restricted maneuverability.

It also has a neat section with flashcards to test your knowledge once you have mastered all the lighting configurations.  If you are pursuing your Coast Guard Captains license this app will help you study for the requirement to identify vessels by their navigation lights. Whether your a weekend boater for seasoned captain this is a handy reference and a must have app for your mobile device.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Navionics Mobile Upgrade

Navionics Marine and Lakes 1.0.1 "NEW" Release

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: Marine Navigation, Charting
Cost: $9.99
Rating: ****

Navionics has some new releases, but are they worth it?  Navionics 1.0.1 has been released and they have decreased the number of Marine apps from 30 down to 7 regions. The regions now include; Marine and Lakes USA, Marine and Lakes USA and Canada, Marine Caribbean and South America, Marine Australia and Africa, Marine Europe, Marine UK and Holland and Marine Denmark and Greenland. The new Marine and Lakes USA includes the ability to download Lakes in any state plus Marine charts for coastal regions. The two major changes are that the NEW apps now include User Generated Content (UGC) and a selection box that you size to select an area to download maps.

UGC is a neat feature that allows users to add information to their charts and have this information available to all user. The addition of this "local knowledge" will make the charts more usable, accurate and up to date. It will be much like having your old paper charts and being able to pencil in notes and points of interest right to the chart electronically. Under Menu make sure the Community Layer is turned "ON".

To add an UGC object to the chart simply Tap and hold the map on the spot where you wish to add an object. Next tap Edit Your Map. Next Select Object. Choose from the major categories that appear, they include Rocks and Wrecks, Buoys, Beacon and Signs, Lights, Shops and Repairs, Ports and Marinas, and Anchorages and Moorings. Once you have selected the Category then select the subcategory your object falls under, fill in the fields and save. You also have the option to edit move or delete an object. These changes will be save to the chart and shared with the Navionics server and community.

The other new feature is the map download. The old set of 30 apps were broken up that way to make the file sizes manageable. The seven NEW apps have a feature where you select what area of the region you want to download.  This is done with a selection box that you can adjust by moving the four corner to enclose the area of the maps that you want. Simply select download and those maps are then saved to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You will have to be connected to WiFi or a cell network connection to download the maps and share your UGC content.

The NEW version of the apps are not available for the iPad yet.  Although the HD version for iPad has been upgrade to version 5.0 which has the new UGC feature. The iPhone and iPod touch can continue to use the retired 5.0 versions. The added features to the NEW versions are nice but probably not worth buying the app again unless your like me and always need the latest and greatest version. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nautical Signal Flag Information

Signal Flag Info

Application:iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: Nautical Signal Flag Code
Cost: Free or $9.99

And you thought those pretty flags were just a way to decorate your yacht on holidays.  Signal flags have been used for centuries as a way for ships to communicate in situations related to safety and navigation. This international code works well especially when language difficulties arise. This handy little app will help you identify any of the 40 international code flags. Each flag spells out a specific letter and also has a specific meaning. For instance the square Yellow flag represents the letter Q(Quebec) and also is known as the quarantine flag flown by arriving vessels in a foreign port requesting entrance.


The free Signal Flags Info version give you a reference to the commonly used flags by warships, merchant ships, commercial fishing and private yachts. I also provides the full International Code of Signals for Visual Sound and Radio Communications document, Revised 2003.

The $9.99 version includes everything the free version has but also includes the United States Coast Guard Inland Navigation Rules and a handy Quiz tab to help test your memory on the flag signals and their meanings.


This information is readily available on the Internet but the author has put it in an easy to use form for your iThing.  The addition of the navigation rules is useful because it is a required safety item on all boats over 39.4 feet.  This is a very nice reference tool for helping the occasional boater and seasoned skipper to interpret the meaning of these signal flags.


I personally would not spend the $10 bucks to get the Signal Flags version 1.2.  It does allow multitasking for iOS4.0 if you need that.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Maretron Marine Electronics N2KView

Maretron N2KView App

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: System Control and Monitoring
Cost: App is free, separate licensing needed
Rating: *****

Monitor and control your yacht from you iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, wow, how cool it that! Maretron has long been known for their yachting monitoring and control systems.  The N2KView app simply take their systems and makes them available to any one of your iThing devices. 

This has to be one of the greatest apps in boating. The 3G iPhone and iPad app will work from anywhere you can get a 3G connections.  A WiFi only iPad and iPod Touch will only work over the ships network connection and act as a remote monitoring and control device for all your yachts systems.

This application can be set up to monitor and control just about any device on your yacht. It requires that you first have all these devices networked on an NMEA 2000 system.  Once connected to a PC the data can be made available to another PC or many other handheld devices such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.  An Android version is also available if your not an Apple fan.

  • Allow the monitoring of just about any system or device on your yacht.
  • Works with your yachts NMEA 2000 network devices.
  • Is flexible and allows the user to design screens and controls to their specifications.
  • Requires that your NMEA 2000 network is connected to a networked PC via a USB device.
  • The PC acts as the server and required a licensed dongle.
  • Two levels of service, basic and platinum, one server license and one client license is provide with each service. Additional client licenses can be purchased.
  • Display and graphing of almost any monitored function.


The app is fully configurable to monitor and control many of your yachts systems including Air Conditioning (HVAC), Anchor Watch, AC Power, Battery, Depth, Engine, Environment, Fuel Management, GPS, Heading, Ice Makers, Navigation, Rudder, Speed, Tanks, Time, Transmission, Watermakers, Weather and Wind.

Maretron allows the user the flexibility to design and develop the screens to their own specifications. It allows the user to determine the number of screens, size of the controls and layout. They offer two levels of service with varying levels of monitoring and control.

If you already have a NMEA 2000 network on your yacht, this may be the next step in bringing the data to your fingertips anywhere at anytime.


The system requires that you already have a NMEA 2000 network. While the app is free, additional licensing is required to allow the client device to connect to the PC network server.

With all this cool technology you may be watching your yachts systems more than the beautiful scenery around you.