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There’s an App for That Apps for navigation, weather and tides By Dan Dickison


The mobile app from Navionics puts a nav system in the palm of your hand. Courtesy Navionics.


May 2017


ver since the advent of smart phones, mobile apps for sailors have been popping up everywhere. Unless you’ve been cave-bound for the past decade, chances are the word “app,” has taken up residence in your vocabulary. Most of us throw that term around like millennials using the word “awesome.” But mobile applications for smart phones really have become ubiquitous. And if you’ve used them out on the water, you already know that some of these can be extremely useful. Apps for navigation, tidal prediction and weather tracking can be particularly valuable around the coastal Southeast, particularly in Georgia, South Carolina and some of North Carolina. This is a region where the depths are challenging to discern by eye, can change from month to month due to silting, and currents play a pivotal role influencing marine transit. Essentially, anything that’s reliable in aiding navigation ought to be welcome, particularly if it’s handy enough to fit in your pocket. In order to determine what apps really merit a download for this area, SOUTHWINDS checked in with a couple of active captains in the region to find out what their go-to apps are. Dan Valoppi is a Charleston, SC-based delivery skipper who has been helping boat owners get their craft up and down the Eastern Seaboard from Antigua to Maine for over three decades. (He last appeared in these pages in the November 2014 issue.) Valoppi spends some 250-plus days on the water each year, and when he’s not moving boats around, you can find him racing aboard a variety of different boats from Newport, RI, to Key West, FL. “The apps I use for navigation are Navionics and iNavX,” says Valoppi (both are available on the Android and iOS platforms; Navionics is a free download; iNavx is normally $49.99). He says he uses Navionics roughly 90 percent of the time. “I like Navionics’ app for overall planning and routing. For me, its ease-of-use and highly recognizable, easy-toread charts are the best. Navionics + is an in-app purchase that offers dock-to-dock routing and sonar charts. With the additional cost and added features, this app allows me to upgrade the charts on a regular basis. Before every delivery, I check to make sure I’m using the latest chart update. In addition, if you have the right equipment on board (i.e., WiFi router connected to the ship’s instrumentation), this app will allow you to create bottom contour charts for the areas where you navigate regularly.” Valoppi considers iNavX a more in-depth program. “It uses government-based charts converted to electronic charts,” he explains. “The only downside is the fact that you can’t upgrade the charts, so you’re limited to the last release

Southwinds May 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

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