We’ve discovered an awesome use for our iPad on our boat.
There’s an app called Navionics that runs on an iPad (or iPhone) and for just $9.99 you get the app AND the detailed nautical charts for the entire west coast of the U.S. Yes, these are the same charts that you would pay several hundred dollars for if you bought them to load on your dedicated GPS unit on your boat.
The app works seamlessly with just the right number of features (measures distance, direction, GPS coordinates, etc) and best of all you can zoom in and out using the patented Apple ‘flick your fingers’ technique. Overall it’s much faster than any dedicated GPS unit we’ve ever used.
The only downside, of course, is that you need a 3G phone connection for it to work. There’s this great misperception that an iPad or an iPhone uses GPS. No James, there is NO GPS sending or receiving unit in an iPhone or iPad. They simple use cell towers to triangulate your position. No towers, no signal, no phone reception, no position. The other downside is that this program uses lots of power (drains your iPad quickly, so it’s best to have it plugged in) and it really uses a lot of your data so you’ll need to upgrade your data plan to accommodate it.
Since there isn’t a good holder for our iPad on our boat (we like to move around a lot from the flying bridge to the inner helm on our power boat, or all over the place on our sailing cat) we’ve found the best way to protect our iPad and keep it from sliding around is putting it on a PotSticker. The sticky silicone pad keeps it secure and the slightly raised bubbles on it help to keep it cool by letting air circulate under it. Same with our laptop – they work great!
Usually we’ll position a couple of PotStickers side-by-side so that the iPad has lots of grip. We’ve been heeled over to almost 25º and the iPad stays put. And if we have to move it quickly, it’s not permanently attached to any mounting apparatus that takes an engineering degree to figure out.