Boaters should have several weather apps loaded on their smartphones because knowing about severe weather in advance can help keep everyone onboard your Harris boat safe. Here are five of the best boating apps available on Android and Apple operating systems.
RadarNow! is the perfect app when there are thunderstorms in the area and boaters want to quickly discover if they are in harm’s way. Enabling the location finder allows it to automatically display the local-view NOAA radar display that’s centered on your position as soon as it opens. It also broadcasts any alerts.
Spreading to a wider view, the display shifts into composite mode, which stiches together all the radar stations in the area onto one screen. The default setting shows a 40-minute radar loop, but you can adjust the parameters by tapping on the upper left “hamburger” (three parallel lines). The Pro version is $3.99 and has some additional features and no ad banner.
Windy.app, as the name implies, focuses on the wind and lets users focus on a wide variety of sports such as fishing, sailing and sailboarding. The default map shows wind direction as moving arrows, and the background is color-coded based on intensity. Tapping the steering wheel on the right side of the home page shifts it to NOAA raster chart mode, though only offshore waters have depth readings. The Pro version is $39.99 a year, but the free version is also laden with features.
PredictWind is often used by yacht owners and offshore sailors, but it’s also perfect for Harris pontoon owners. Its best feature for recreational boaters is its wave map, accessed via the home page. It allows users to scroll around to many bodies of water, including many small lakes in the US, and it shows an animated, color-coded map of wave direction and intensity.
Tap on any section of the screen to view wave height, duration and period. Tap on the arrow in the lower left to see a rolling prediction of that spot over the coming week.
Fishing Spots by FishAngler is free and not only offers comprehensive weather conditions and forecasts but also uses a Google Earth map to show fishing spots where anglers have caught fish—including photos of the catch. For coastal anglers, a tide graph highlights the best time to fish a given location. This app will be very helpful for new boaters who want to try fishing or experienced anglers fishing in new locations.
Boating Marine & Lakes by Navionics
The Boating Marine & Lakes app by Navionics gives your smartphone the functionality of an expensive GPS chartplotter for only $14.99. In addition to detailed weather forecasting, it gives boaters full Navionics charts with plenty of display options like color shading of bottom contours.
It also features many advanced navigation features such as Dock-to-Dock Autorouting, which creates a comprehensive pathway from point A to B that takes into consideration the draft of your boat. It even has AIS tracking, which warns of commercial traffic and large boats that approach your position, even in dense fog.