Should You Go with IOS or Android as a Boatie?
Choosing which operating system to use is an important decision as a boatie, which could impact your overall success and enjoyment out on the water. There are aspects which people value in both IOS and Android, however we will explore the differences and benefits from a specifically boating and fishing viewpoint to determine which is best for boaties.
The best way to go about your decision is to first look at the best maritime applications available, compare the top devices you can use them on, and then consider other factors that may influence your decision on which will work best for you overall.
The Top Boating and Fishing Apps
Navionics (#1 Boating App in the World) Works on both IOS and Android Devices
This is the most popular navigation app worldwide. They have a Boating Australia&NZ version availble, each continent has their own version. Ours is thankfully one of the cheapest at $37.99 (NZD). Navionics also has a very reasonably priced, highly recommended annual subscription to Navionics+ (around $5-10 a year) which you can add on in order to take advantage of the many useful features. Features include: chart plotter, wind forecasts, tide and current information, vector cartography and the ActiveCaptain online community, where users share useful information to enhance eachothers boating and fishing experiences. The online community can show live updates of where fish build ups are, unsafe areas, and other helpful data.
Charts are downloaded when you purchase the app, so you have navigation capabilities while offline. This is important for safety as you can often go out of cell reception areas.
We recommend that you keep a power bank with you on the boat at all times for safety as well, these type of apps can eat up your battery and you’re likely to be out on the sea for hours, and will need access to the mobile network or internet to call for help if necessary.
There is also a free Navionics app available for download which you can take a look at called ‘Boating Marine & Lakes’. You can read more about Navionics and download the app on their website.
Fishbrain- Social Fishing Available on IOS and Android
This free app has so many features, it is worldwide with a decent amount of users in Australia and New Zealand adding data too. You will connect with over 7 million other anglers and browse over 1.7 million good fishing locations, it is a priceless tool to have out on the boat. Features include: Fishing forecast for your location (showing specific fish likely to be around, weather, tides etc), tips and tricks from millions of other fishermen worldwide, best bait suggestions for the type of fish you’re hoping to snag, the ability to identify any fish by uploading a photo, social networking to show off your best catches, maps showing where others have caught fish nearby and what types, track your personal fishing history and more.
The app is free, however there is an option to upgrade to Fishbrain premium on a monthly or yearly subscription ($7.99 USD/Month or $59.99 USD/Year). It is worth subscribing to have access to more detailed forecast information and shared catch spots, as well as quite a few extra features only available in the premium version.
To learn more about Fishbrain or download the app take a look at their website.
Anchor Watch by lukassen (IOS Only)
This is an important app for safety and peace of mind. It uses your smart phone’s GPS to check if your position has moved outside set limits (which you choose yourself). If your anchor is moving you will be alerted immediately through multiple notification types: sound alerts, vibrations, calls to you or a ship mate, popups, texts and email alerts, you can choose which of these to have activated in the settings too. You can sleep easily, rest assured that you will be woken if rough seas and bad weather throw you off course or if for any reason your anchor is lifted off the sea floor. This may also be helpful in maintaining a good fishing spot, when you want to stay in the same place that is showing a lot of fish activity.
The app can be purchased at a one off cost of $1.69 (NZD), and you can also purchase advanced nautical maps with offline downloads for each area through the app. The maps are also added to and updated by an online community of users so you stay up to date.
You can find similar anchor watch apps on the Google Play store as well, such as ‘Anchor Watch/Alarm by Peckish Sloth’, but Lukassen’s Anchor Watch app is the highest rated and most popular of it’s type available, and high up in the best boating apps overall too.
You can learn more about the features and download Anchor Watch here.
The best phones mostly run Android as an operating system. Devices that run Android are still the most common, however IOS devices definitely have the better App store, with more top apps and greater variety available to choose from.
For boaties, a tablet may be the best options simply because of screen size. It’s easier to see complex data showing from your navigation charts or linked from your fish finder on a bigger screen. Many boaties prefer to mount a tablet on their boat rather than hold and try to squint at a phone in their hand. So although the best phones generally run on Android, the best tablets run on IOS.
Other Factors to Consider
Budget: Android devices are generally cheaper than IOS devices. But weigh up the features and apps available on each for what you want and need. Also if you comparing prices, iphones usually cost more than ipads.
Other Uses: Are you purchasing a device primarily/solely for use on your boat? Or will it’s main purpose be for home life? While an ipad pro is great for on the boat, if you are sharing it with a toddler, it’s really impractical in size and fragility for them, so compromising to a normal sized ipad or an ipad mini might be more suitable for you both to use (still bigger than a phone screen to look at on the boat).
Overall, IOS does win by a very small margin. Simply because there are more app options available and all of the top apps run on IOS (most are on Android too though). It is also slightly better because of screen size, ipad pros currently have the biggest screen available of any tablet. But don’t rush to sell your current Android device, they are really very similar comparitively and Android devices are still perfectly fine for boating. But you could consider purchasing an IOS device, perhaps an ipad, when you next upgrade, to use on the boat.