Thursday, September 10, 2015

Swell Avantage Boating Location App

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iOS 8.0 or later
Function:Marine GPS tracking and location
Cost: Free

Swell Advantage is a brand new app just released this summer in July of 2015. It was developed by the Novia Scotia based Canadian group called Swell Advantage, ahh!  Co-founders Iaian Archibald and Craig Sheppard wanted to develop a different kind of app to bring boaters together on the water.

I was recently contacted by Mike Hardy from Swell Advantage. He was excited about the new app and wanted me to check it out and review it if possible. I am always looking for new apps to review so I said, heck yah!  So, lets lift the hood and see what this app has to offer.

The iOS version is out now and an Android version will be available soon.  SwellAdvantage is a new and different kind of boating app at first look!  It is meant for all levels of boater to use in marine navigation and to improve the social and safety aspect of boating.

Have you every asked the question, have our friends left the dock yet? Where are they now? Are the kids jet skiing with the neighbors? Where is the raft up party? SwellAdvantage helps answer these questions for you and helps guide you to your boating friends.

The main screen at left shows your present location with the arrow and range marker. The view can be changed from North up to Course up by tapping the arrow icon in the lower left of the screen.

The Menu is accessed with the icon in the lower right of the screen.  A list of your Friends is accessed with the icon in the top right of the screen.

The app provides functionality to easily notify you when your friends are out on the water and then it provides the tools to interact and locate them if you wish. This is not just another navigation app but a tool that enables socializing with other boaters.

SwellAdvantage allows you to share your position and other data including speed and heading so you can see your friends and they can see you on the water. Boating is a social sporting activity. Many boaters, sailors, paddle boarders or kayakers like to rendezvous with each other to raft up, share stories or have an impromptu race.

I have two kids who are always on the water. This app would be a great way to keep track of them when they are out boating, sailing, jet skiing, kayaking or paddle boarding.

The app not only provides notifications locally but you can also track your friends around the world when they go boating.

The app provides the option to share your location or not. A simple flip of the switch in the Friends menu will turn location sharing off. Your location is only shared while you are on the water and it is blocked when you are on land.  This will prevent your friends from tracking you when your not boating. The app must have some locational software that determines when you are on a lake, river, pond or ocean or land.


  • Viewable Maps, Satellite and Bathymetric displays
  • Display Course, speed and drift
  • Imperial or metric settings
  • Entering water notification
  • Custom boat data
  • Invite and add friends through your Facebook contacts
  • Visually locate your friends’ locations, distances, and headings on the water
  • Receive notifications when friends and family get on their boat
  • Location tracking is automatically disabled when you're on land
  • Users can manually disable On-Water location tracking
  • Your course due to drift, speed, and heading is visually shown on the screen
  • Unique interface that puts the user at the center of their boating experience
The app is pretty basic so far.  There are hints that the authors will be adding more marine navigation and charting features to future versions of the app.  I like what they have done so far and will be patiently waiting for the next update and the addition of more functionality.

What features would you like  to see added to the app? I personally would like to see NOAA charts, tracking, waypoints and routes to start with.

There are other apps similar to SwellAdvantage in the iTune Store. Many of the big name apps have AIS locational information through NMEA WiFi or through land based AIS systems that rebroadcast position data over the Internet.

ActiveCaptain recently came out with the Locations app which I reviewed recently.  ActiveCaptain is best know for their crowd sourced points of interest website and the many charting app that have embraced their POI database. They have a bigger vision in mind which will also connect boaters much like SwellAdvantage is trying to do.

So download the app now and start building your very own social boating network of family and friends! I bet it will even work this winter when those Canadian lakes freeze over and everyone goes ice fishing. 

~~~ Sail On ! ~~~ /)


Monday, September 7, 2015

iNavX Version 4.7.0 Brings New Changes and New Ownership

If you have updated your iNavX app recently you might have notice the new logo.  The logo is not the only thing that has changed. The creator of iNavX, Richard Ray has reportedly sold his iNavX, MacENC and GPSNavX applications to NavX Studios LLC.

You can check out their new website  for a list of all the features and support links.  It is cool to see if you click on the Tutorials tab on their website it takes you to my blog, i-Marine Apps site.  All the tutorials that I did for iNavX can be accessed there.

Over the years I have written numerous articles and tutorials about iNavX for a good reason.  It is still ranked #1 on my list of Best Marine Charting apps. I hope the new owners and developers will be as engaged at Richard was with the boating community.  The MacSailing message board for iNavX is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn all they can about the app and it's capabilities.

In the past there were only iPhone and iPad versions of the iNavX. MacENC and GPSNavX were programs for iOS computers.  I am sure there are many users out there that would love to see an Android version of the industry leading iNavX app. Maybe the new owners can work on that.

Over the years I have made many suggestion for improvements to the app. One of the main things I do hope the new owners address is the xTraverse website.  It would be so much easier to download charts if the app allowed in app purchases.  The whole process of paying for the xTraverse yearly membership and then purchasing charts through the site is a bit cumbersome and frankly more complicated that is has to be. I am not sure why is set up this way but in app purchases would be a great improvement.

I will keep an eye on the new iNavX team and report any new developments. Stay Tuned!!

~~~ Sail On ~~~~ /)