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Old 01-09-2016, 08:35 AM   #1
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Ipad useful? not useful?

Looking at navigtion and in general electronic information systems for lower helm in 36 ft gulfstar. Presently have radar, and multifunction display in flybridge. lower helm nothing. I like to use active captain but it is only on my lap top and not easily accessable when making way. Weather is another issue. Use predict wind to make float plan decissions. Would love realtime weather reports in area like pireps for aviators. In any case I am thinking of bringing on board an Ipad. how do others use the ipad and has it been a help.

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Old 01-09-2016, 08:59 AM   #2
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An iPad would work well for what you discribe.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:04 AM   #3
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I use Garmin Blue Charts mobile on my iPad and it integrates well with Active Captain.

It's actually easier to use than my main Garmin plotter.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:34 AM   #4
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I also use Garmin BlueChart. IMO it's a great product. I believe the new version has much more robust weather functionality, although I have not tried that yet.

I used my iPad several times as my only nav tool before our chartplotters were installed. I'm not saying it's a replacement for them, but it's very useful on short local hops. Certainly a lot better than what we had 30 years ago.

I also have the app on my phone, which I use on the dinghy. In addition to being a good nav tool, the speed and distance traveled functions are useful on the dinghy.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:51 AM   #5
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All Ipads are not created equal. The cellular model iPads have built in GPS. The GPS works whether you are in cellular range (line of sight) or not. Start with consideration of a cellular model iPad.

There are several good marine navigation apps available for the iPad including Garmin Blue Charts, Polar View, Navionics and others. Also, keep in mind, Apple provides a good land map package and Google maps are free. They are handy when you are at the dock away from home and need to find a WM or a grocery store. Of course, Active Captain Companion is available

There are also many good weather apps for the iPad. We use MyRadar and The Weather Channel but there are many specific marine weather apps in the App Store. Prices on the apps are quite nominal for most things that are not free or advertising supported.

Other marine apps include Trawler Forum, Yachtworld, AIS apps (well kinda sorta) and there is even a HIN search app. This list isn't meant to be all inclusive.

Don't forget you will have your email and text messages available almost all the time you are in cellular range.

I personally do not think there is a more handy mobile device than an iPad. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:19 AM   #6
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For me it all depends on cruising grounds, your notion of needs and ease of laying out a course. For cruising near shore stations an IPad will serve you OK. I find a laptop much easier to use than our IPad. If you are in snotty weather and at the lower helm what would you do for radar?
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:38 AM   #7
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We have been using the Navionics application on the iPad for about one year. It is a back-up to our primary plotter, a Raymarine C80 (with Navionics card).

This year was noteworthy in that we moved to new cruising grounds, the Pacific Northwest, and I decided we would go paperless.

Our iPad does not have an Internet connection while on the boat, so I do the updating at home. The Navionics has been easy to use and fast. It is simply configured to your preference (e.g. shaded bottom if shallow). My favorite part is the tides and currents data. There are so many tide and current references on the Navionics application that I am not going to purchase paper tide tables this year (we have redundancy in the Raymarine).

I have no experience with other software with which to compare the Navionics, and I do prefer the actual NOAA and CHS charts. Navionics cartography has certainly meet our needs and I will renew when our current coverage period ends.
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Old 01-09-2016, 12:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRENE View Post
My favorite part is the tides and currents data. There are so many tide and current references on the Navionics application that I am not going to purchase paper tide tables this year (we have redundancy in the Raymarine).

I have no experience with other software with which to compare the Navionics, and I do prefer the actual NOAA and CHS charts. Navionics cartography has certainly meet our needs and I will renew when our current coverage period ends.
Yup, the tide and current near term tide and current data is very good. It does not however easily give a long look forward, 3 days or so it seems. The IPad Navionics has big holes in the charts for both Alaska and BC. I have not checked this past year though to see if any updates would be helpful.


With laptop based Trident and Nobeltec VNS we see no need to fuss with the Ipad too much.
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:05 PM   #9
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Don't leave home with out it ! Be sure to get the cellular with wifi - first class piece of equipment - too many plus' to talk about - when cruising or at anchor, on 24/7 -
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:09 PM   #10
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If you are purchasing an iPad, wait for the next Gen of iPad. I have an iPad 2 that is just over 4 years old. With IOS updates, they have become nearly useless. I stopped updating the IOS after 7.1.2. I had heard that IOS 8 severely crippled the iPad 2, so did not proceed with that or later updates and for the most part it works fine. My wife however has the later IOS and she's having problems with hers. I did however update the apps. The recent update of Ayetides crashes on my iPad with IOS 7.1.2. I contacted Ayetides about this and they confirmed there is a problem and they are working to correct it and will contact me when it is up on the App site.

I really like iNavx. I have $600 in Cdn CHS charts on my iPad so I have invested heavily in it. I will replace it when the next Gen iPad comes out, which is supposed to be in March 2016.
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:16 PM   #11
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The iPad is awesome....the end!!! I just bought an Apple Watch. I wonder if I can get turn by turn navigation on the water????...

Seriously, what a great tool for use on a boat. It should serve all the purposes you listed. All major airlines use iPad and it has made my life significantly better. As I type that, I wonder if you can get engine manuals in .pdf form?? I am sure you likely can. Then you could store your manuals on an iPad and potentially even have more functionality. Anyway....I think everyone has answered your question!!! Best Buy has them for "cheap" right NOW. $100 off. An iPad Air 16gb with cellular at $429.
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
If you are purchasing an iPad, wait for the next Gen of iPad. I have an iPad 2 that is just over 4 years old. With IOS updates, they have become nearly useless.
While I hear you, that is a testament to the quality of the hardware. At some point, software is going to outrun that hardware....and I guess that point is 4 years. You can likely find a use for that old iPad and get you a newer one relatively cheaply.

With that said, Apple has realized that people are hanging on to their iPads longer(you are a perfect example). SO if you did not notice, there was no announcement of a new iPad this past year. They only announced a bigger iPad(Pro) and kept the previous 2 generations in the product line up. All I am saying is that I think you will see a slower progression of hardware into the future and therefore better support for longer. It is usually the app developers that cause the issue. They assume their main market runs the latest iOS so the optimize their apps for the latest iOS. I think that is a fair way to do business and they are correct in their assumptions.
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:26 PM   #13
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We're new at the iPad for navigation but from what we can tell it's pretty darn good. We have Garmin Blue Charts. The app is free and charts for both U.S. coasts, including the Great Lakes, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands & major inland rivers. Coverage includes the Bahamas, the Turks & Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico and the Pacific coast of Canada for $30. They are as accurate as the CMap charts on our laptop and have much better detail for the Bahamas (which is why we bought the iPad) plus you can over lay Active Captain.

Jim: I'd be curious to see how the Garmin CA charts on the iPad compare to what you have.
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:47 PM   #14
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While I hear you, that is a testament to the quality of the hardware. At some point, software is going to outrun that hardware....and I guess that point is 4 years. You can likely find a use for that old iPad and get you a newer one relatively cheaply.

With that said, Apple has realized that people are hanging on to their iPads longer(you are a perfect example). SO if you did not notice, there was no announcement of a new iPad this past year. They only announced a bigger iPad(Pro) and kept the previous 2 generations in the product line up. All I am saying is that I think you will see a slower progression of hardware into the future and therefore better support for longer. It is usually the app developers that cause the issue. They assume their main market runs the latest iOS so the optimize their apps for the latest iOS. I think that is a fair way to do business and they are correct in their assumptions.
Well, It's been very frustrating! The iPad Pro is too expensive and doesn't fit our needs. By the time you get all the bits and bots, cases, etc they aren't cheap. I talked to the vendors recently and the speculation is the new one will come out in March of 2016, and I'm holding out for that for now. For the most part, I use my Coastal Explorer when navigating the vessel. The iPad is for backup and trip planning when away from the boat.

Baker: The vendors basically confirmed what you said about the upgrades to the hardware being more minimal in future. Quite frankly, the old IOS software and hardware served us just fine. Everything else is window dressing, as far as I'm concerned.

Larry: I also have the vector navionics charts for the iNavX. They work fine. I just like the look and feel of the CHS raster as they are basically the electronic versions of the paper charts that I am used to.
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:00 PM   #15
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Whatever you purchase make sure it actually has a built in GPS. Do not get just the cell tower position finding which will not work on most parts of our coast.

We went with a Nexus 7 tablet, 2 of them, and have found them terrific. Both have the Navionics.
I can park one directly in front of me which is a huge bonus.

We used and still have an older laptop which now has NOTHING on it but the chartware. But it was well off to one side so was not easily used by me.


The Nexii fixed that. My wife has hers, I have mine and the two give us redundancy if one fails.
There is a disadvantage with the small screens and that is the small screen. The laptop had a huge advantage that way but it has been overridden by better positioning, ease of use and uses a LOT less space which we are short of.

I suppose if we were on a long cruise to unfamiliar territory I would take the laptop as it still works well.
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:37 PM   #16
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I am a fan. We use an iPad *without* a cell SIM, so just use the embedded GPS for when travelling and jump on wireless when in port. No cell or data plan and works fine.
We use the iPad with Navionics as a backup plotter and find it works very well. The Route planning addon (about $5?) makes for fast route planning - when trying to look at pros/cons of a number of different routes. We then create a final route separately on our main plotter.
GPS has been great. A few times out by 50' or so but not bad. We did find a few times up near Bella Coolla in the narrow fiords that it could not get a fix, but 99% of the time has been great.
As other poster have noted, make sure you get one with the GPS. The Apple store techs often don't know the details and get wireless location services confused with true GPS.
IMHO a low cost and high value addition. I think you'll like it.
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:49 PM   #17
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An external wired or Bluetooth GPS such as a Bad Elf, Dual, or Garmin GLO allows you to place the antenna in a fixed location. It is generally faster fix as well, and in the case of a Bluetooth one, can transmit to multiple devices.

They are cheaper to purchase than the upgrade to a 3g/4g iPad.
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:46 PM   #18
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We use my Samsung Note with Navionics and then tether it to one of our cell phones when we need internet and do not have shore based WiFi. Works great.
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:57 PM   #19
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We have an iPad II and a newer Mini. Both of them have been upgraded to the current IOS, 9.2, and this has greatly improved the functionality and usefulness of both of them.

We do not use the iPad for navigation. We prefer dedicated plotters-- Furuno, Echotec, Standard Horizon--- for this. But we have a wonderful charting application on them that shows our current position and can be zoomed out to show an area larger than Vancouver Island and zoomed it to show one small portion of our home harbor, all with a couple of finger swipes.

The app covers the entire west coast from Mexico north through BC and all of Alaska and Hawaii. We use it in lieu of papercharts/chartbooks to give us the instant "big picture" something that can take some time to do using the zoom function of the chart plotters. This app also overlays Active Captain, so we have all that information at our fingertips.

Both iPads are digital models so we need no connectivity of any kind to show our GPS position on the charts.

We also use them to get weather information in as much detail as we need. Generally the local NOAA marine forecast is all we require but we can get radar views and all the rest of it if we want. We have weather apps that automatically post alerts if there is some significant change or event on the way or happening.

We have an anchor alarm on the iPads and iPhones which is one more level of assurance.

If we're interested (but we never are) we can call up AIS information but it is not real time so it is no substitute for an actual AIS if has a need for this kind of information.

Add in the other communications capability and social media and the fact I can work on my writing projects on them when we aren't actually driving the boat, the iPads have become an indespensable asset to our boating.

I will eventually need to replace the iPad II with a current model but I'm not going to do that until the II ceases to function or can't do what we need it to do. I've had it for at least four years if not more and so far it has been virtually trouble free. I take it everywhere in the world with me because in addition to being an asset to my work, the fact it can recieve GPS/GLONAS postitioning data with no connectivity means I can use it to find our way around in the middle of China, South America, etc. As long as it's got power and can see the necessary satellites it knows where it is.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:08 PM   #20
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I have two iPads on board. A new air and an old iPad 2 (which is running great after all these years). My primary chart plotter is a Garmin 5212.

Using Garmin's Bluechart on the iPad, I can quickly plan a route and upload it to the 5212. I do that pretty much every day. As stated previously, Bluechart, with charts and Active Captain is under $50. The charts are the same as the charts on the big Garmin.

I also use Nobeltec Time Zero which is a full function chart plotter app.

Add weather from a zillion sources, email, Internet, apps, etc. and the iPad becomes a terrific tool.

The iPad 2 was used every day while doing the Great Loop and was indispensable.

Get one, bring it on board, and never look back, ��

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