Way ahead of the competition in terms of advanced features, including augmented reality view, but not as quick for general usage. Options for Europe, Canada and USA.
SeaNav UK (and Ireland) introduces some innovative and interesting tablet-specific features, but it isn’t the strongest app for general usage. The program features customisable mapping layers, waypoints activated with one touch and a navigation window with a sensible amount of data. The app can accept data feeds via NMEA from a good range of compatible devices and it links to the Active Captain network.
However, SeaNav is a little slow – perhaps due to the advanced extra functionality – tidal information is only available if your device is online, while a request for weather information simply links you to the Met Office web page.
The innovative part involves linking an AIS feed with the device’s own camera and compass to create something called augmented reality. This feature overlays navigation and AIS data on the live video stream being simultaneously captured and displayed on your tablet. It is activated by installing Boat Beacon, the ship finder AIS app from the same company that makes SeaNav. This is both clever and accurate for features between 0.5 and 1.5 miles away. I tested the AIS while delivering a boat through the Strait of Dover. With constant mobile data signal it was accurate enough to give me good situational awareness. It should not be relied upon for close quarters situations but it certainly gives a fantastic overview.
Augmented reality could help when entering new ports, and to teach navigation, plus the ability to overlay internet AIS data is useful for boats not fitted with AIS on board, but it’s not a long-term solution. I wouldn’t choose this app as my primary means of navigation but the AIS feature could come in handy if you were making a trip on a vessel where this was not installed. There are options for Europe, Canada and USA too.
The basics on this app were not as intuitive as others and responsiveness was slow, however the internet AIS layer could be useful if you are likely to spend time on boats with limited instrumentation or for sailing instructors.