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The 5 apps you must have for the boating season

Post by Team Dockwa - Published on 3/19/15 1:30 PM
Whether you're anticipating your first season owning a boat and you're looking for tools to help you get started, or you're an experienced pro hoping to streamline your trip planning this year, you won't want to start the summer without checking out these five online resources for boaters.

From real-time hazard updates, to route planning guides, to help booking boat slips, and more, these tools are guaranteed to make your boating season fun and frustration-free.

1. US Harbors. Not sure when the tide goes out at a marina along your route? Curious about the water temperature? Before you set sail, visit US Harbors. The website is a one-stop source for important information like monthly tide charts, on-land and marine forecasts, weather buoy data, and local information for the marinas on your itinerary. Bonus: Sign up for the site, and your home harbor and preferences will be remembered, so you'll have all the info you need as soon as you login.

2. ActiveCaptain. Another must-visit site before you begin any boating excursion. Like US Harbors, ActiveCaptain offers information on tides, weather and harbor-area attractions. But, the most valuable feature of the site is its Interactive Cruising Guidebook, a comprehensive database which includes vast, user-generated data on everything from water hazards and boat ramps, to route sharing, satellite images, and plotted locations of bridges, inlets, locks, and more. ActiveCaptain's data can also be accessed offline, and synced with your onboard GPS device.

3. Waterway Guide. Waterway Guide is one of the most trusted resources for boating information in the cruising community. In print, Waterway Guides have been available since 1947, and are available for six different regions: Bahamas, Southern, Atlantic ICW, Chesapeake Bay, Northern and Great Lakes. Each year, the company's editors update the books to ensure the most accurate, up-to-date information. Online, Waterway Guides' "Explore Your Waterways" tool taps the company's wealth of knowledge to offer interactive nautical maps that show area marinas, the services they offer, max vessel length/number of slips, and contact information, along with anchorages, bridges and locks, navigational alerts, fueling stations, and more. 

4. Sea Tow. Hopefully, you'll never need Sea Tow. But if your engine dies, you run out of fuel, or you get stuck on a sandbar, you'll be glad you've heard of them. Sea Tow offers towing and fuel assistance, as well as 24/7 direct access to an experienced captain. The company also offers multiple levels of coverage, for both freshwater and open-ocean boaters, along with recreational and commercial memberships. Plus, though SeaTow's Savings Club,  members get discounts on things like fuel, lodging, dining and more. 

5. Dockwa. Of course, our list wouldn't be complete without a mention of our own service, Dockwa. The first of its kind, Dockwa allows boaters to research and reserve boat slips and moorings at marinas directly from their phones. Among the many benefits of using Dockwa: in advance or last-minute bookings, direct contact with marinas in your area via your mobile phone, the ability to automatically pay for your slip directly through the Dockwa app, and local travel and marina information via our blog. 

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