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Winter Prep for Summer Fun


For boaters who live in cold weather climates, winter can be a good time to get summer ready. And even if it’s not cold in your area, you can use a rainy day for a boating refresher. To find classes and programs near you, visit the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary website and enter your zip code for a list of courses offered near you. You can also find a selection of online courses, both free and paid, at


In addition to brushing up on the rules of the water, there are many great apps available that can help keep you and your crew safe. Now’s a good time to locate, download and become familiar with them so when summer arrives, you’re ready to get on the water. Here are a few you might want to investigate.


Weather Related Apps


These apps are graphically friendly and track everything from temperature, precipitation, thunderstorms and wind to waves, currents and tides.



GPS Compatible Apps


  • Navionics: If you’re fishing or cruising, you’ll enjoy this highly detailed app that’s updated daily and offers accurate data for your GPS. When purchasing the app, you’ll be able to select your boating area(s) and any advanced features you may want to include.
  • Garmin ActiveCaptain: Enables you to view or plan your next trip from the comfort of your home on your iPhone or iPad. When you arrive at the boat, your plan can simply be wirelessly transferred to your compatible Garmin networked screen.
  • Tides Near Me: Allows you to select a tidal station nearby and see the past and future tidal changes, sun and moon rise and set times, tide tables, charts and predictions.


Safety Apps


  • GPS tracking apps (several are available): Great for monitoring young adults that have started boating on their own.
  • Float plan: The U.S. Coast Guard app allows you to create and share your float plan with family and friends.
  • BoatUS: This app has multiple features including a view of the weather, location options that make it easy to meet other boaters and the ability to call for towing assistance.


There are many other great apps available–a simple internet search can point you in the right direction, or getting involved with a boating club can also lead you to an array of options that would be right for you according to where and how you use your boat. Now is a good time to get yourself and your crew on the way to a better and safer boating experience.