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Calling all Cruising Sailors – Do you use an iPad on board?

By Sue Richards last modified May 11, 2016 01:57 PM
Do you have an iPad or tablet computer aboard? If so, what apps or programs do you find most useful and why?

Published: 2015-10-08 23:00:00
Topics: Communications , Cruising Information , Equipment

Calling all Cruising Sailors – Do you use an iPad on board?

Courtesy of SY Totem -

Yachting World Magazine are keen to find out what cruising sailors are using their iPads for.

They are running a feature in the next issue of the magazine on using iPads afloat and would like to include some views from cruisers.

  • Do you have an iPad or tablet computer aboard?
  • If so, what apps or programs do you find most useful and why?


Any cruisers keen on assisting Yachting World with information should e-mail Yachting World – Racing & Technical Editor - Matthew Sheahan at [email protected]

johnbouy says:
May 08, 2016 10:25 PM

iPad mini 2. Used for Raymarine repeater app with C95 chartplotter. Plotter is inside at chart table iPad at helm station. Also use Navionics for preliminary route planning. Navionics app is also used with Garmin bluetooth GPS when I do delivery trips. East coast of Australia.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 25, 2015 12:04 PM

These comments from the Women Who Sail Facebook Group re. tablets on board:

We use Garmin on the IPad mini, and Seaiq, or Navionics on the IPad air.

The Navionics app is free. The charts cost between 50 and 60 Dollars per region.

We only have 7 inch tablets. For these we have the phone version of the Navionics and the charts are much cheaper. One region is about 15 to 20 euros.

The apps normally are sold by area with larger areas costing more.

We got a new IPad and actually found a "holder" made just to fit to hold it at the helm. We added Navionics and a Bad Elf for GPS. Works great!

Our iPad holder is on top of the binnacle. We also bought two other holders and put them on the angled frame of the bimini. This gives access when seated on the perch seats. One on either side.

My iPad drains its battery too quickly. Navionics on my iphone5 holds a charge much longer. But navionics has placed me off position many times in the Bahamas. I'm sticking to my Garmin

Apple sells refurbished iPads. They replace the battery and case and guarantee them for a year. It's a good option to save $$.

Some of the newer iPad mini's don't have actual GPS as the iPad 2 did. Make sure you know the details of that.

I prefer a normal size iPad for navigation. It gives so much more viewing area. Any iPad starting with iPad 2 will work well as long as it has both cell and wifi capability, as only those have a built in GPS. Wifi only does not have the built in GPS. My husband still uses his iPad 2 and I use my iPad Air 2 for navigation purposes. We have both Navionics and Garmin apps, but prefer the Navionics. Our playground is the Caribben (PR area). We also run a small Garmin GPS/chart plotter as a back up when we are sailing.
[email protected] says:
Nov 13, 2015 10:48 PM

We use IPADs (Ipad2 & mini). We couple w/ Bad Elf Pro. Use Bluecharts & INavx, and Navionics. Also use sailflow, windfinder, pocketGrib, and Active Captain. It acts as a backup to charts & chartplotter.

Of course this is all in addition to normal Ipad software that we all use when in port/marinas.

Tientos says:
Oct 20, 2015 04:14 AM

We actually only use the iPad for Google maps to find remote anchorages in Indonesia

Sailboatuser says:
Oct 16, 2015 12:18 AM

Used ipad air in Lifeproof waterproof and floating covers from French Polynesia to Australia and cruising its East Coast. Next time will buy Samsung instead. Application used: Navionics most of all, Predict Wind, Anchor Watch, Weatherzone+, Google Maps (satellite imagery is great additional source of info near the reefs and planning anchorages where mobile reception is available.

Navionics is great, updates regularly and accurate almost always.

SBright says:
Oct 15, 2015 03:14 AM

We bought an iPad mini a year ago after noticing that most cruisers have iPads / tablets on board. We use it for several things: as back-up navigation with Navionics charts; XE app for currency exchange; google maps and trip advisor etc for land travel; as an ebook; as storage for navigation info (stored as pdf files and added to ibooks); as a resource for school. There must be a thousand more uses too. Wouldn't be without it now.

vandusseldorp says:
Oct 13, 2015 06:55 PM

Using my Ipad all the time. Old version. Navigation with iNavX app and Navionics charts (Northern Europe) I have an AIS transponder with WIFI and iNavX supports this AIS overlay on the map. Perfect!

Victor Raymond
Victor Raymond says:
Oct 13, 2015 12:54 AM

We have been using the iPad for navigation since the first iPad came out already 5 years ago. We use iNavX with various chart packages but mainly Navionics. More recently we have used the iPads as a remote controller or a mobile view station for the B&G Zeus2 with the GoFree wifi unit. We also use the Navimatics app but the charts available are limited. Navimatics has the added value of Active Captain but of course AC is only as good as cruiser input.
Hopefully one day soon a chart supplier will allow the purchaser to use the purchased charts on any device you own.

Darien says:
Oct 12, 2015 07:30 PM

We use an iPad mini extensively. We are currently on a delivery from Boston To California. We use nav apps (Mostly for planning), Logs, maintenance, pubs, and even some of the vessel's data feeds to the mini. Basically, the entire library of pubs that we used to carry are downloaded to our iPads. It's often used as the go to camera, ebook, email, and social media device. We also use MacBook air computers onboard which are also tied to some of the vessel's systems. We rely only on Mac devices due to dependability of the operation systems. At sea is no place for a crash of any kind.

Keith Pomeroy
Keith Pomeroy says:
Oct 09, 2015 06:59 PM

Samsung tablet, use as backup. OpenCPN & Navionics. Recently in San Blas islands of Panama where the charts are wrong! OpenCPN was great, able to bring in the Bauhaus charts that are spot on.

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