Some boaters may think their cell phones don’t have much use out on the water except maybe to snap a couple photos or play some good tunes, but there are some awesome boating apps that can come in quite handy. Naturally there are always new apps and app updates taking place, and for 2023, here are some of the latest developments. The next time you’re about to go out on the water, before stuffing your iphone into a Ziploc bag try putting it to good use by downloading some of these. Many of them work without any cell service and all of them will make your boat life a bit easier.
US Coast Guard Mobile App
Well, it’s no surprise this official app of the US Coast Guard makes about every list of its kind in the country. This app will provide you with 24/7 access to the most necessary and commonly requested resources for the recreational boating public. You can identify boating safety laws, requirements and resources available in your home state, as well as request a vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Additionally, the app will help you determine what safety equipment you are required to carry by law and offers recommendations on additional safety measures based on your boat size and type. And what counts as we begin the 2023 boating season is that as regulations change – and they do! – the app includes the latest updates. Be warned, though, that as with most government services, it’s technological component is left… wanting. Check out the US Coast Guard Mobile App.
iNavX Boat Navigation App
This app offers worldwide chart coverage from all the best providers, including Navionics, Blue Latitude, Explorer, Theyr Weather, Waterway Guide and more. Now in the latest development, you can also use iNavX Professional+ charts, which offer both worldwide and country-specific coverage. It’s great for sailors because you can not only plan routes with waypoint and route management, but also obtain GRIB weather forecasts and then keep watch with AIS overlays and integration with your current onboard systems. iNavX conveniently provides boaters with forecasts on currents, winds, and swells. It also provides anglers with tools to scout out holes and inlets, as well as monitoring cold fronts in addition to allowing you to save your best spots with unlimited markers. Truly, a boater’s app if there ever was one. Visit iNavX to learn more.
Snag a Slip App
This super convenient slip finder app is veteran owned, and incredibly useful, especially for the south-for-the-winter intercoastal wanderlust types. You can search for open slips, even last minute, throughout a multitude of regions including the Gulf Coast, Atlantic ICW, Chesapeake Bay, Florida’s East Coast and Keys, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Northeast, The Great Lakes, California, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. You’re able to check availability for your boat’s size and power type, and can book and reserve a slip directly through the app with no additional fees. How much more convenient can it get for all your last minute travel needs? New is the Marina Portal, which allows marinas to update information with the latest intel, like reservations status, management capabilities, and more. Visit Snag a Slip to learn more.
Marine Weather Forecast Pro
This app isn’t new or changed this year, but as a top-rated weather app is the real deal for the serious boater and still belongs in our roundup. It has real-time buoy data, six hour historical wave trend reports, an hourly wave watch model, hourly harmonic tide forecasts, NOAA weather map overlays and severe weather reports. The useful five day NWS Marine Forecast always includes offshore marine zones and is particularly helpful in map view, for the adventurous types out there in the big blue. Check out NOAA Weather.
If you’re in a big boating city this winter this app is truly a gem, and for 2023 made the list of Boating Industry’s “Top Products.” Boatyard connects boat owners with qualified and vetted boat service professionals. You can have fuel delivered to wherever you are docked (how’s that for convenience?). We had a 52 footer at a tiny slip in Fort Lauderdale, and they were able to bring the gas, pump it for us, all while laughing and telling us funny boat stories. What service! This app also offers on demand cleaning services, mechanical services (hopefully you won’t need this but it’s so great to know it’s available!), canvas and upholstery services, captain services, and on-water help, all within the swipe of your iphone. Also, they take requests – so if you don’t see a service on the menu that you’d like, they’ll work to make it happen for you. All payments are done through the platform so you can go back to your happy place instead of worrying about your boat. And thanks to an early 2022 update, there’s now a new Order Status page to keep you up to date plus the app has improved performance and reliability. Visit the Boatyard App.
Argo is a navigation and social boating app designed to be easy to use and as a way to share local boating knowledge. Navigational functionality includes NOAA and USACE depth layers, autorouting based on your boat’s customizable draft, and trip planning. Social features allow you to see other friends on your chart, “report pins” with local boater knowledge, and the ability to write and read destination reviews. Argo has been around for a few years and recently received a number of upgrades and additions (including intel on public fishing spots), but what makes it so interesting for 2023 is that it recently went viral on Tiktok, and blasted off in popularity – in a single 24-hour period it had 152,000 downloads and shot to the number-one navigtion app spot on the Apple App Store. Check it out at Argo.
There’s a seemingly big race out there for who gets to call themselves the Airbnb of the boating world and this app has just about everything for you boat dreamers out there. If you don’t own a boat yet, or perhaps you are traveling far and away this winter while your precious Gloria is sitting high and dry in storage, this app is just the ticket to recreate the full experience. You are able to rent boats either with or without a Captain (depending on how many drinks you plan on having), which is super convenient. You can search by boat type like Pontoons, Fishing Boats, Sailboats, small Yachts, and even Jet Skis (as if they qualify!), as well as directly chat with the boat owners through the app to coordinate the best custom experience for you and your group. Some of the rentals even provide the bubbly! With Click&Boat, renters have the perfect tool to rent a boat at the best price anywhere in the world. For the 2023 boating season, three updates have been released with new cancellation policies, the ability to quickly find boats yu’ve already checked out, and an improved ratings display. Download the Click&Boat app from the App Store or Google Play store.
When you’re ready to segway from renting to buying (or maybe just pretend that you are?) our sister app YachtWorld is (if you don’t mind us saying so) best in its class. It has the largest selection of luxury yachts in the world, which you can explore from the cozy convenience of your phone. This powerhouse database of over 100,000 world class yachts enables you with an extensive set of filters and sorting options, as well as the ability to save your favorites until you’re ready to make the big move. The level of detail is impressive, and you are also able to share listings with your friends and loved ones to make sure they approve. This app kinda makes you run out of excuses for why you don’t just buy one already. Added bonus: This one’s constantly beign improved, and in 2023 there have already been four bug fixes, updates, and improvements. Visit the Yachtworld app on Apple, or on Google Play.
Decidedly on the top of any fisherman’s list, and FishWeather remains a perennial favorite for anglers. One of the coolest features of this app is it’s LIVE WIND view, showcasing their Flow Map Forecast as well as the latest reports from real time weather stations. The Wind List is a great quick-load tool which shows you the top-rated weather stations in any area in the world, and you can get Nowcast Wind Reports for all of the top fishing destinations on earth. Additional features include onsite reports from fishermen, tide reports, radar map, satellite map, forecast maps, sea surface temperatures, and nautical charts, to name a few. What might be best about this app is that the technology as well as support and dev team certainly back up it’s great cutting edge features and functionality. In early 2023 the app received several bug fixes and performance enhancements. Visit FishWeather to learn more.
Boat Trader Mobile App
Not to toot our own proverbial horn or anything, but we DO possess the largest inventory of new and used boats for sale in the U.S. Our easily navigable app is both the solution to dreaming and buying. Not only can you browse boats by type, size, price, make, model, year, and location, but you can also filter by depth of draft, number of engines, and even hull material. Talk about finding your match made in heaven. If only there were a dating app this good! Updates for 2022 included enhanced search filters and an improved image gallery experience, and for 2023 there have been a number of performance improvements and bug fixes plus enhanced messaging to boat sellers. Check out the Boat Trader app at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
Editor’s note: This article was last updated in July of 2023.