Skip to main content

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?

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 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.

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

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Barcelona Venue Shaping Up

The decision to host the next America’s Cup in Barcelona ruffled the feathers of some fans, but the Defender is happy with how the venue is shaping up. The process of allocating team bases, spectator zones and the race village is underway. “I cannot speak highly enough of the ...read more

ELAN-GT6---273

Boat Review: Elan GT6

Elan’s first sporty “Grand Turismo” yacht, the 43ft GT5, launched in 2017, and was actually a bit of a mash-up. It combined an existing go-fast hull from Elan’s sexy E5 racer with a new deck and interior optimized for cruising comfort, and a somewhat detuned rig to create a ...read more

OVI-Gyre-22_KH_Crew-clean-deck-and-catch-nets_260622-11

Ocean Voyages Institute Recovers Nearly 100 tons of Plastic Waste

After 45 days at sea, the sailing cargo ship KWAI has docked in San Francisco with 96 tons of recovered plastic, including ghost nets and derelict fishing gear from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Ocean Voyages Institute, a non-profit organization based in Sausalito, CA, uses ...read more

01-LEAD-ARC-Multi_JMitchell-JM5_2883

Multihulls and the 2021 ARC

The days of multihulls being the weirdos of the sea are gone. Nothing illustrated this better than the 2021 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which departed Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (in Spain’s Canary Islands) in November and wrapped up in December on the island of St. Lucia ...read more

01-LEAD-12364-Sunbeam_401-GSP

Bowsprits: Why They Make Sense

There is, of course, nothing new about bowsprits—sailing ships have been using them for centuries. That said, these days they are more popular than ever on cruising boats, thanks to advances in sails, sailhandling technology and boat design in general. With today’s furlers, an ...read more