Best Navigation apps for sailors tested. This time we take a look at Navionics + and compare its pros and cons.
Modern sailing increasingly relies on apps on your phone or tablet to find your way. We have tested the latest and best navigation apps on the market.
Navionics Boating app
This app is intuitive and easy to use. Charts are quick to render and auto zooming of detail is probably best in class. Text is used to good effect and tells you when you need to zoom in to get more information about hazards (one of the dangers of vector charts). Arrows showing current are animated to show strength, direction and whether the tide is on the ebb or flood. Frustratingly, you have to access a different window to get GRIB/wind data, when it should surely just be an option on screen.
The Navionics Sonar option allows charts to be adapted to show depths based on real time user data from thousands of vessels, but the company sensibly warns that many other factors (such as barometric pressure) will have a considerable affect on depths.
Its automatic routing application is simple and intuitive. You can enter your boat settings such as LOA, beam, draught, height and cruising speed and it adapts partially to this: while it avoids shallows on the chart it does not, for example, calculate your clearance under a bridge. It also does not take into account wind or current, making its calculations too basic for those looking to sail.
It can be linked to a WiFi-enabled AIS device, and I really like the ability to overlay satellite pictures onto the land for easy identification of key features.
Navionics Boating app Pros
Fast to render charts
Good wind and tide information
Distance and bearing tool
Satellite image overlays
Syncs with compatible plotters
Connects to onboard AIS device
Navionics Boating app Cons
Auto routing is basic
Wind data shown in different window
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