It's 2012, and technology seems to be invading everything we
do and everywhere we go. There are internet-connected LCD televisions, a
smartphone in the hands of every one of those 65,000 screaming fans at the
ballgame and wifi internet at even the most remote roadside cafes. But there's
one place that new gadgets and gizmos seem to be taking their time invading:
the boating world. Even today, the most high-tech option you can get for your
pontoon boat is an MP3-ready stereo system, hardly something you'd expect for
the 21st century.
But never fear! PDB is here to show you how to use
today's technology to make the most of your boating lifestyle. From smartphone
apps to social media services designed to help this to be the best summer of boating yet, we've
got you covered.
Let's start with the mobile applications, designed to be
taken anywhere, even on the water. With mobile internet connectivity available
even in the middle of the most rural lake you have an array of information and
entertainment at your fingertips at all times. There are plenty of options to
choose from, both for iOS and Android devices. Let's take a look at a few.
To begin, let's take the view of someone who is new to
boating, or just wants to trade in their older craft for a new one. For this
individual there is Boat Trader, for all mobile Apple devices. This app is
designed to put more than 100,000 new and used boats right in front of you, and
with GPS functionality, you can even narrow your search to those boats for sale
in your hometown. This app even uses Google Maps to give you driving directions
to that boat dealer you're interested in or used 'toon on the other side of
town. Boat Trader is a free app from www.boattrader.com, and a great addition
to anyone's iPhone.
Next on the list the aptly-named Miami Boat Show app, for
iOS devices. This is a must-have for anyone attending the annual winter event
in sunny Florida, and gives you access to show information, a list of
exhibitors, boats that will be on display, available seminars, how to get
tickets and even where to park. This particular app came in handy when we
attended this show back in February. With these two apps, plus hundreds more
like them, you can search for and find the boat of your dreams without ever
leaving your recliner.
Once at the lake, both the Apple and Android app stores
offer Boat Ramps, from Fibercode and www.TakeMeFishing.org. This free app works
to find all boat ramps throughout the country at the touch of a button. Also
using GPS functionality, Boat Ramps will steer you to the nearest ramp every
time, a great tool to have on your first visit to a lake or reservoir.
And while you're at it, grab the free Zinio app for mobile PDB
reading. Available on all mobile devices, this is a great way to catch up on
back issues of the magazine or get the latest release as soon as we get it out
the door. Packed with videos and other goodies we can't print on a page, the
digital version of PDB is a great way to go.
Get Where You're Going
The Android Market has a strong offering for anyone looking
for marine navigation on a mobile device: Marine Charts HD, from EarthNC, Inc.
This app features official charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, and allows you to download them for offline use, in case you're
really in the middle of nowhere, or maybe are really close to your data limit
for the month. Marine Charts HD is $9.99.
One of Apple's offerings in this area is Marine&Lakes: USA, from
Navionics. This $10 app includes hundreds of nautical charts, designed for
boaters who need to avoid underwater objects and navigate unfamiliar waters. In
addition to giving tide information, this app also gives you access to
information about marinas and major ports right when you need it.
Both stores have a plethora of weather apps, from The
Weather Channel (free) to the more involved NOAA Radar US, which costs
$1.99, and beyond. These apps can do everything from give you a basic five-day
forecast to show low-pressure systems moving in from the west to radar images
which update every five minutes. Never get caught on the water again during a
thunder storm; these apps can give you plenty of warning notice before hail
starts to fall from the sky.
For The Anglers
Fishermen will be glad to know that the fishing industry is
as plugged in to mobile technology as anyone these days. There are thousands of
available apps for every smartphone out there, like Fishing Calendar, from SIS
Software. This calendar combines weather forecasts with fishing predictions to
help you plan the perfect weekend to finally land the big one. It even lets you
record your catches with a photo, as well as size, weight and location. Fishing
Calendar costs $4.99 for iOS devices and has received excellent online reviews.
Android's answer for the fisherman looking for a leg up is
My Fishing Advisor, from MyFishingAdvisor.com. A free tool for freshwater
fishing, this app analyzes weather patterns, the sun and moon positions, moon
phases and other factors to tell you exactly where the fish will be and if
they'll be in the mood to bite. You can choose where you want to fish and what
species you're after, and My Fishing Advisor will give you dates and times to
A new kind of Facebook stalking
Finally, using social media is a great way to enhance your
boating lifestyle. BoatTrader.com has a Facebook page where they regularly list
boats for sale. PDB also has a Facebook page, and it's a great place to
get sneak peeks for future issues and meet other people who love their 'toons
and deck boats, too. Do a search for your local marina on Facebook, and you
will probably find a place where you can meet up with other boaters you know
and plan get-togethers and other activities. Make it a group thing.
There you have it, a whole bunch of great ways to use
today's shiny gadgets to make boating a bigger part of your life than it
already is. Whether you use these apps and websites to be safer, make a deal or
just have a roaring good time this summer, here at PDB we'll consider
our work complete.