Smartphone Anchor Watch

Many onboard electronics systems include anchor-watch alarms that sound if a boat drifts too far from where you anchored it. But what if you’re ashore at that time?
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Many onboard electronics systems include anchor-watch alarms that sound if a boat drifts too far from where you anchored it. But what if you’re ashore at that time? That’s when anchor-watch smartphone apps come in handy. 

anchor-watch-app

Anchor-watch apps use a phone’s GPS to track the boat’s position and raise an alarm when the boat moves outside the safe-zone circle. It’s best to set your anchor position using one phone from the bow immediately after you drop the anchor. Leave that phone on board and configure a second phone to receive messages on shore. These apps track your position, compensate for GPS accuracy and send alarms as pop-up messages, tones, vibrations, e-mails, texts or phone calls.

There are over a dozen anchor watch apps on the market, ranging in price from free to $9.99. Drag Queen ($0.00) and Anchor’s Aweigh ($0.99) are easy to use and provide basic anchor-watch capability. Drag Queen raises an audible alarm, while Anchor’s Aweigh displays pop-up messages.

apptable

For more than just basic functionality, Anchor Alert ($3.99) and Boat Beacon ($9.99) display the boat’s position on a map or satellite image with a compass rose. Additionally, Anchor Watch ($0.99), Boat Monitor Local/Remote ($1.99/$4.99) and Boat Beacon display the boat’s track, allow custom alert configurations and send e-mail alerts. Boat Monitor also interfaces with boatmonitor.com to send SMS alerts and to provide remote monitoring via a web browser. 

Each app functions slightly differently, and it’s important to experiment with a couple before making a selection. Test for functionality, alarm modes, battery drainage and false-position filtering. Remember that constant use of GPS will dramatically decrease your device’s battery life, so consider if you’re going to be able to keep it plugged in. Think about which kinds of alarms you prefer – I found the track display and e-mail alerts were key. I particularly liked Drag Queen for its simplicity and price, and both Anchor Watch and Boat Beacon for their tracking and e-mail alerts. Boat Beacon also provides integrated AIS monitoring.

Whichever app you pick, you’ll find one common result: greater peace of mind.

Related

SF3300-Jean-Marie_LIOT

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300

Though best known for its cruising boats, Jeanneau has long kept a hand in competitive racing with its Sun Fast line. The newest of these French-built speedsters is the Sun Fast 3300, which takes the place of the long-lived 3200. Design & Construction A collaboration between ...read more

03-200123_PM_MIAMI_31326_3065

U.S. Team Strikes Miami Gold

If there was ever a time for the U.S. Sailing Team, which has been experiencing a serious medal drought of late, to start peaking it would be now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to begin in July. Luckily, it appears the team, which has won only three Olympic medals since 2004, ...read more

shutterstock_1466239997

Charter: the Greek Isles

If there’s one charter destination that’s impossible to tire of, it’s Greece. This Mediterranean jewel is simply so large, so varied and so special it’s impossible to relegate it to just a single checkbox on a list. This past year a group of friends and I chartered from Navigare ...read more

IDECsport_180919_106-2048

IDEC Tri Breaks Tea Route Record

Francis Joyon and his crew aboard the maxi-tri IDEC Sport have set a new record for the “tea route” from Hong Kong to London of just 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes. In doing so they bested the previous record set by Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini aboard the trimaran Maserati ...read more

DawnRileyforSAILmagazine

An Interview with Sailor Dawn Riley

The 2019 sailing documentary Maiden received rave reviews as a human-interest story that featured excellent racing footage and the heartfelt recollections of an all-female team led by then 25-year-old Briton Tracy Edwards. During the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World race, ...read more

IMG_9978

Charter: More for Your Money

Though summer may not be when you typically think of escaping to a tropical island, it could, in fact, be the perfect time for a charter holiday. Despite popular perception, the Caribbean isn’t hot as Hades during summer. In fact, the highs vary by only about 8 degrees F ...read more

Riley-and-Elayna,-Sailing-La-Vagabonde

Sailing in the YouTube Era

At the risk of both dating myself and being accused of gross hyperbole, I will say this: it was a bit like 1964 when the Beatles first landed in New York. What I’m referring to is last fall’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Playing the role of the Beatles were not one, but two ...read more

Bill-Hatfield-copy-1024x665

Cruising: Solo Circumnavigators

There seems to be no age limit for solo-circumnavigators. Not so long ago we had Californian Jeff Hartjoy set a record for the oldest American to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted, at the age of 70. A few months ago, 77-year-old Briton Jeanne Socrates became the ...read more