Smartphone Anchor Watch - Sail Magazine

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:
Publish date:

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

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more