Reviewed: ActiveCaptain for iPhone/iPad - Sail Magazine

Reviewed: ActiveCaptain for iPhone/iPad

In SAIL’s June issue, we reviewed 10 of the best apps for navigation (“Navigating the App World”). One thing I emphasized was the importance of an app being able to use data from ActiveCaptain. But what is ActiveCaptain and how does it work?
Author:
Publish date:
 Where cruisers help cruisers create a guidebook

Where cruisers help cruisers create a guidebook

In SAIL’s June issue, we reviewed 10 of the best apps for navigation (“Navigating the App World”). One thing I emphasized was the importance of an app being able to use data from ActiveCaptain. But what is ActiveCaptain and how does it work?

ActiveCaptain is a popular community-based sailing website that contains user-generated information about marinas, anchorages, marine hazards and local points of interest for sailing grounds around the world. Founded in 2007 by Jeff and Karen Siegel, the ActiveCaptain community now has more than 200,000 users. It began as a website but now there is a companion app, as well as a database for several smartphone and tablet navigation apps.

After you register (free) at activecaptain.com you can access the Interactive Cruising Guide and select an area either by searching or by panning and zooming. Then, you can view the area as a nautical chart, a Google-type map, a satellite image, or as a hybrid image. Colored markers appear indicating marinas (red), anchorages (blue), hazards (yellow) and local knowledge (green); at any point you can hide one or all of these categories. When you click on a marker, the marker type and name pops up, along with a summary of details.

Marina markers include contact information, navigation details, information on docks, fuel and services, and community reviews. Anchorage data includes a description, information on the approach, dinghy access and services, ratings and reviews. Local knowledge markers show position and notes. Hazard markers show position, description and comments. Markers for land-based locations are, by design, not included, since these are available through other online sources. Curiously, info on big-box grocery or warehouse stores are included, as they are popular with cruisers.

Registered users can create new markers by pressing and holding the mouse button. Within each marker, users can edit the information or add reviews based on their own personal knowledge and experience. New markers and updates to existing markers are reviewed by the staff at ActiveCaptain before they are included in the database.

Several popular navigation apps integrate ActiveCaptain’s database into their own interfaces, including Garmin Blue Chart Mobile, Navimatics Charts & Tides, SEAiq, PolarViewMX, SailTimer, and Skipper by TrailBehind for Apple; and C-Map/Jeppesen Plan2Nav and SmartChart AIS for Android.

ActiveCaptain also has a companion app, which is better suited for smaller displays on mobile phones. Last year, NOAA licensed ActiveCaptain data for its internal “cartographic toolkit in the chart evaluation system” for identifying hazard data for additional surveys or chart updates. 

I really like ActiveCaptain. When planning a cruise, I use it to check out local knowledge, hazards and anchorages. The website works flawlessly and is easy to use. I also appreciate that the marker data is integrated into various navigation apps. I give ActiveCaptain 5 stars for quality and content.

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more