If you are happiest when you are at the helm of your boat and sailing away from dry land you will already rely on a number of gadgets and innovations to help your journey and keep you safer.
There is always room for more, and your smartphone can get in on the action too with some useful apps that deserve a place on your home screen every time you weigh anchor.
Here is a look at some innovative gadgets and apps aimed at seafaring navigators. Including a viable alternative to a GPS plotter, how to track marine traffic, a waterproof phone charging solution, and an innovative transport option to consider having on board.
Easy access to navigation charts
Your phone could become a very useful navigation tool if you download an app such as Navionics HD.
This is a leading app that is almost universally popular amongst a good number of the sailing fraternity, and one of the fundamental reasons why it is so well regarded is that it claims to offer the same detailed charts that are normally only found on the best GPS plotters.
In addition, you might also want to download a local weather app that gives you real-time information, which could be crucial when you are plotting your route.
Keeping an eye on marine traffic
Some stretches of water are extremely busy and you always have to vigilant and look out for other marine traffic.
If you want an app that gives you access to over 800 million recorded vessel positions on a monthly basis and offers other features besides, marine traffic could prove a useful addition to your phone.
It uses AIS vehicle tracking technology and it will help give you a clear picture of what sort of marine traffic is around you and on your route.
You don’t want anything to happen to your phone while you are sailing and that is why you have probably invested in a waterproof case for it.
It would also make sense to invest in a product like the Lifedge Ultimate Cable, which is corrosion and tangle proof, plus it gives you waterproof phone charging when you use it in conjunction with a compatible case.
Hands too cold?
A classic conundrum for sailors is when the temperature is dropping and you are wearing some gloves to protect your hand, it renders your smartphone virtually useless as you can’t get the touchscreen to respond unless you take your gloves off.
The solution would be a pair of touchscreen gloves, so you can swipe and navigate your phone controls with ease and don’t have to suffer cold fingers in the process.
An easy way to get around when you drop anchor
If you want a quick and easy transport device to get around when you leave your boat to do some exploring or pick up supplies, a bicycle would be useful to have on board.
The problem is the amount of space a conventional bike takes up, but if you want a hi-tech solution, the JVR folding bike might be what you are looking for.
Billed as the first ever folding, electric, chainless bicycle, it only weighs 15kg, gives you a 20-mile range and won’t take up much space at all on your boat. It doesn’t come cheap but it does offer a practical and fun solution to getting around when you are back on dry land for a while.