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

MHS-GMR_3549

New Multihulls 2018

Farrier F-22 New Zealander Ian Farrier ushered in a new genre of sailing with his folding-ama trailerable trimarans, the best-known of which are the Corsair designs. Farrier’s last project before he passed away last year was this sweet little tri. Available in three versions, ...read more

shutterstock_373701682

Cruising: Island Comeback

The U.S. Virgins Islands have surged back from the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes, with new infrastructure plans that will benefit charterers and cruisers alike. After hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through the Leeward Islands in September 2017, it was impossible to ...read more

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Thanks a bunch  This scene is very calm and seamanlike. No frantic rope throwing or shouting. As he passes the line to the gent on the dock, the crew on the boat says, quietly and clearly, “Would you ...read more

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more