Weather and Tides Apps

BoatUS

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Maximize the power of your BoatUS membership with this new app. Call for a tow 24/7, upgrade your towing service, find local discounts, file a claim, check a claim status, pay bills, request an insurance quote, renew your membership, pinpoint and share your current location, and receive up-to-the-moment weather and tide info including Hurricane Alerts. Available on the App Store or Google Play. Free | BoatUS.com

Lightning Finder

Lightning Finder app

This app was previously only available to iOS users, but went live for Android this summer. It does exactly what the name would lead you to believe, displaying lightning strikes in near real-time, on a map. It also tells you how far you are from nearby strikes, and how long ago they took place. You can even set this app up to send you a text alert when lightning starts striking within a certain parameter. Obviously, this app can significantly boost your safety margin, but it isn't cheap, in app terms as there's a yearly subscription. Available on the App Store or Google Play. $5.99 annual subscription.

Marine Day Tides

Marine Day Tides app

If you have an iPhone or iPad and don't want to pay for one of the more comprehensive applications that include tidal data, this application is for you. It includes tidal data for more than 5,000 locations worldwide, sunrise/sunset/moon phase information, and tidal graphs. Available on the App Store. Free | imray.com

Mazu

mazu app

Bluewater cruisers can stay connected far offshore with email, texts, weather forecasts, location tracking, SOS notification, and basic navigation data with this Iridium satellite-based app system. NOAA charts can be downloaded, but given their size, they need to be downloaded while connected to the internet via Wi-Fi. Available on the App Store. Free download; plans start at $9.95 | mazu-marine.com

MX Tides

Available for both Android and Apple products MX Tides is a no nonsense tidal atlas. Using your geographical position derived from your device it displays data from the 10 closest tidal monitoring stations. It shows the height of tide at any one of these stations with a tap of the finger, but the entire data calendar is stored on the device itself, so you don't have to be online to access it. There's a search function to so you can see what the tide will be doing when you reach your destination or at any other place on the route. Available on the App Store or Google Play. Free.

MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar

MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar app

This app focuses on one thing: real-time radar. The fast, easy-to-use weather app displays animated weather radars so you can quickly see what is coming your way. HD Doppler radar data is processed from raw NOAA weather data from the National Weather Service. Available on the App Store or Google Play. Free download; in-app purchases. myradar.acmeaom.com

NOAA Buoy Data

NOAA Buoy Data app

NOAA Buoy Data, which was upgraded to version 5.02 late last year to fix bugs, let's you tap into the NOAA buoy system with a flick of the finger. Plus, it includes tidal data for the entire US. You can search for buoys by name or region, or set a custom search radius to find out what buoys are nearby. This one's been available to iOS users for several years, but just recently, an Android version made it possible for everyone else to join in. Available on the App Store or Google Play. $1.99.

Radar Now

Radar Now app

Knowing the current weather and what's likely to come is important to every boater. Check the weather on this app and you can track storms, check current conditions, and see what's headed your way. Easy to use and comprehensive, it includes satellite images and weather maps, along with local conditions on the ground. A five-day trial period lets you try before you buy. Available on the App Store or Google Play. Free for basic download, $5.99 for premium edition | radarnow.net

Tide Graph

If you're a left-brain sort of person then Tide Graph should appeal to you. As you might expect it predicts tides for you nearest location and has the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset, but what really sets this app apart is the size of the tide graphic. When used on the iPad it takes up a good two thirds of the screen and allows you to see at a glance what the tide is doing in your particular location. The app comes in two versions but spend a dollar more to get the pro version, which has increased versatility and access to 6,000 US tide and water conditions. At this time it is only available for Apple products but we're hoping that an Android version will be available soon. Available on the App Store. $1.99 | tidegraph.com

US Coast Guard Safety App

US Coast Guard Safety app icon

This app includes state boating information; a safety equipment checklist; free boating safety check requests; navigation rules; float plans; and calling features to report pollution or suspicious activity. When location services are enabled, users can receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys as well as report the location of a hazard on the water or pollution, or call the nearest CG command center. Available on the App Store or Google Play. Free | uscg.mil/mobile/

Weather4D

Weather4D app

Whether it's a day on the bay or a long ocean passage, knowing what sort of conditions you're going to experience is essential. Weather4D lets you download and view weather information on Android and IOS devices. There's almost too much information in this app, which is capable of showing wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, air and sea temperatures, wave height and period, current speed and direction, cloud cover and precipitation. The operator of the app can set the zone or area that they would like to have the forecast for, for up to eight days ahead in 3-, 6-, 12- or 24-hour increments. The level of detail is astonishing but, beware if downloading this information over the cell network, your data plan is going to take a serious hit, far better to download information over a Wi-Fi network before heading out. Available on the App Store or Google Play. $10.99 (optional and recommended Forecast high resolution 33.99/12 months) | weather4D.com

Weather-Routing-Navigation

Weather Routing Navigation app icon

Knowing what the weather is going to do is of primary importance to yachtsmen and we're not just talking about sailors here. Weather GRIB files can be overlaid on a navigational chart showing the best route to take to avoid or make best use of the wind. This app may seem expensive, but there's a free lite version that does not have quite the same functionality as the paid version, but it does give a good insight into just what this app can do. Perfect for longer trips, the app shows anticipated wind strengths and direction for the next several days. Available on the App Store or Google Play. $45. sailgrib.com

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