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

IslandPacket349

Boat Review: Island Packet 349

After years of quiescence in the wake of the Great Recession, iconic Island Packet is back with its new 349, a re-boot of the old Estero that not only looks great, but takes the Island Packet style of sailing performance to a new level. Design & Construction First among the many ...read more

190219NEEL51

Video Tour: Neel 51 Trimaran

At this past fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, SAIL magazine had a chance to corner Neel Trimarans founder Eric Bruneel and have him give us a tour of the accommodations aboard the new Neel 51, winner of the “Multihull over 50ft” category in the 2019 Best Boats contest. For a complete ...read more

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more