3 must-have boating apps

While fishing is one of the oldest careers for coastal residents, the ways that people boat nowadays could not be more different from days of yore. With new developments and technologies being created all the time, there are so many great gadgets and devices to employ aboard your vessel.

For on-the-go boaters, sometimes the best technology is the gear that you can have on your person at all times. In the digital age, this translates to apps that are downloadable to your phone or tablet. The primary consideration for this type of tech is that these apps can eat up battery life. With most waterproof cases not able to accommodate for watertight charging it is a risk to take these gadgets on the water.

But if you are willing to risk it, here are a few of the top boating apps according to Boating Magazine:

- Garmin BlueChart Mobile – According to Boating Mag, this app was the easiest to learn for new users. This app allows Apple customers to plan routes and waypoints in the same way they would on their chartplotter. Users can access weather conditions, temperatures, radar and cloud cover overlaid on chart data, dewpoints and directions right on their iPhone, iPad or iPod. Consumers can create and plan their boating trip from the comfort of their homes then seamlessly and wirelessly transfer their plans and information to their traditional chartplotter once aboard their boat.

Navionics Boating - The mobile adaptation of the technology that is available through chartplotters and fishfinders – like those in the Elite-7 line from Lowrance – the Navionics Boating App is a free download that allows you to customize its capabilities through in-app purchases. In other words, you buy the chart coverage you want after downloading, allowing you to navigate anywhere in the world. Without any upgrades, the free app gives users track recording, tide data, wind forecasts, community edits to chart information, social media sharing, backup for valuable markers, routes, photos and videos, according to Navionics. It is compatible with Apple and Android.

- Skipper - This is the cheapest of the apps that was tested by Boating Mag's Randy Vance. Offering the options of a free app or a $10 per year subscription, this mobile app allows users to download maps and charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and set waypoints with a drag-and-drop feature on the touch screen. According to Vance, "We especially liked that the trip monitor bar at the bottom of the screen can be customized to display a variety of essential navigation data, such as course, heading, speed, current speed, ETA, position, etc. Google satellite maps are overlaid on raster charts, providing the user with a landlubber's detail in addition to all the nautical navigation information."

The great thing about these technologies is that they are accessible and usable for any type of boater. While Skipper is just for mobile devices, it is a great, cheap option to have in addition to a traditional marine GPS or chartplotting device. Meanwhile, the Garmin and Navionics options work well with traditional units and allow users to integrate the two for at home and onboard use.

If you are interested in investing in high-end boat accessories, visit ShopEpal.com today. Our knowledgeable staff can help answer any product questions you have and assist you in finding the materials that will create the best boating experience.

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