Best Boating Apps 2020

Some boaters may think their cell phones don’t have much use out in the ocean, except maybe to snap a couple photos or play some good tunes. But next time you’re about to go out on the water, before stuffing your iphone into a Ziploc bag, try putting it to good use by downloading some of these top boating apps. Many of them work without any cell service and all of them will make your boat life a bit easier.

Best Boating Apps

iNavX Boat Navigation App

Your $4.99 is definitely well spent here on this innovative leader in mobile charting technology. This app offers worldwide chart coverage from all the best providers, including Navionics, Blue Latitude, Explorer, Theyr Weather, Waterway Guide and more. It’s great for sailors because you can not only plan routes with waypoint and route management, but also obtain GRIB weather forecasts and then keep watch with AIS overlays and integration with your current onboard systems. iNavX conveniently provides boaters with forecasts on currents, winds, and swells. It also provides anglers with tools to scout out holes and inlets, as well as monitoring cold fronts in addition to allowing you to save your best spots with unlimited markers. Truly, a boater’s app if there ever was one.

Snag a Slip App

This super convenient slip finder app is veteran owned,and incredibly useful, especially for the south-for-the-winter intercoastal wanderlust types. You can search for open slips, even last minute, throughout a multitude of regions including the Gulf Coast, Atlantic ICW, Chesapeake Bay, Florida’s East Coast and Keys, the Carribean, Mexico, the Northeast, The Great Lakes, California, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. You’re able to check availability for your boat’s size and power type, and can book and reserve a slip directly through the app with no additional fees. How much more convenient can it get for all your last minute travel needs? Why even bother charting a course now that you can book your slips on a whim, with the swipe of your phone, as you cruise into port for the night.

US Coast Guard Mobile App

Well, it’s no surprise this official app of the US Coast Guard makes about every list of its kind in the country. This app will provide you with 24/7 access to the most necessary and commonly requested resources for the recreational boating public. You can identify boating safety laws, requirements and resources available in your home state, as well as request a vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Additionally, the app will help you determine what safety equipment you are required to carry by law and offers recommendations on additional safety measures based on your boat size and type. Be warned, though, that as with most government services, it’s technological component is left…wanting.

Marine Weather Forecast Pro

This number one rated NOAA Marine Weather app is the real deal for the serious boater. It has real-time buoy data, 6 hour historical wave trend reports, an hourly wave watch model, hourly harmonic tide forecasts, NOAA weather map overlays and severe weather reports. The useful 5 day NWS Marine Forecast always includes offshore marine zones and is particularly helpful in map view, for the adventurous types out there in the big blue.

Boater’s Pocket Reference

This is a great app to have for all you newbies out there. If your Uncle is letting you taking your new lady for a spin in his Sunseeker over winter break, this app is definitely for you. Thomas McEwen, the author of the original paperback book Boater’s Pocket Reference, provides a great organized digital guide here with a plethora of relevant information. Navigation rules and aids, understanding weather, boating terminology, essentials of good seamanship, marlinespike seamanship, mechanical and electrical resources, and boat trailering tips and techniques are just a few of the essential topics covered by the guide in a clear and concise manner. Additionally, the handy app also possess a glossary of marine terminology as well as over 100 boating-related calculators, which can prove useful to even the most experienced of boaters from time to time.

Boatyard App

If you’re in a big boating city this winter, this app is truly a gem. Boatyard connects boat owners with qualified and vetted boat service professionals. You can have fuel delivered to wherever you are docked (how’s that for convenience?). We had a 52 footer at a tiny slip in Fort Lauderdale, and they were able to bring the gas, pump it for us, all while laughing and telling us funny boat stories. What service!

This app also offers on demand cleaning services, mechanical services (hopefully you won’t need this but it’s so great to know it’s available!), canvas and upholstery services, captain services, and on-water help, all within the swipe of your iphone. Also, they take requests – so if you don’t see a service on the menu that you’d like, they’ll work to make it happen for you. All payments are done through the platform so you can go back to your happy place instead of worrying about your boat.

NOAA Tide Alert

This app has a beautiful user interface and proves itself extremely useful for both boaters and their land/sand loving counterparts. You can easily view all tide stations plotted via map, and add to a list of favorites. It has offline viewing of tide events and tide graphs, so it’s super convenient for those days when you’ve gone out fishing, and are stuck with one bar of phone service and forgot what time you need to head back in before you’re in danger of hitting ground (let alone be late for dinner). The app also provides tidal alerts with custom local notifications. One hidden gem about this app? It possesses a complete detailed moonrise calendar, so you can best time your viewings on the water.

Get My Boat App

There’s a seemingly big race out there for who gets to call themselves the Airbnb of the boating world and this app has just about everything for you boat dreamers out there. If you don’t own a boat yet, or perhaps you are travelling far and away this winter while your precious Gloria is sitting high and dry in storage, this app is just the ticket to recreate the full experience. You are able to rent boats either with or without a Captain (depending on how many drinks you plan on having), which is super convenient. You can search by boat type like Pontoons, Fishing Boats, Sailboats, small Yachts, and even Jet Skis (as if they qualify!), as well as directly chat with the boat owners through the app to coordinate the best custom experience for you and your group. Some of the rentals even provide the bubbly! If you’re looking for an extreme luxury experience, check out Yacht Life for a similar vibe with a more opulent spin.

YachtWorld App

When you’re ready to segway from renting to buying (or maybe just pretend that you are?) our sister app YachtWorld is (if you don’t mind us saying so) best in its class. It has the largest selection of luxury yachts in the world, which you can explore from the cozy convenience of your phone. This powerhouse database of over 100,000 world class yachts enables you with an extensive set of filters and sorting options, as well as the ability to save your favorites until you’re ready to make the big move. The level of detail is impressive, and you are also able to share listings with your friends and loved ones to make sure they approve. This app kinda makes you run out of excuses for why you don’t just buy one already?


Decidedly on the top of any fisherman’s list, one of the coolest features of this app is it’s LIVE WIND view, showcasing their Flow Map Forecast as well as the latest reports from real time weather stations. The Wind List is a great quick-load tool which shows you the top-rated weather stations in any area in the world, and you can get Nowcast Wind Reports for all of the top fishing destinations on earth. Additional features include onsite reports from fishermen, tide reports, radar map, satellite map, forecast maps, sea surface temperatures, and nautical charts, to name a few. What might be best about this app is that the technology as well as support and dev team certainly back up it’s great cutting edge features and functionality.

Boat Trader Mobile App

Not to toot our own proverbial horn or anything, but we DO possess the largest inventory of new and used boats for sale in the U.S. Our easily navigable app is both the solution to dreaming and buying. Not only can browse boats by type, size, price, make, model, year, and location, but you can also filter by depth of draft, number of engines, and even hull material. Talk about finding your match made in heaven. If only there were a dating app this good!

Written by: Laila Elise

Laila Elise is a former fashion model, writer, actress and entrepreneur, with an affinity for a life on the water. She has a Masters in Finance and a Bachelor's in Business Education, and has traveled extensively around the world working with top agencies and designers. She writes regularly about her passion for the sea on her blog: