Navionics App for the iPhone review E-mail
Written by Allen Bushnell   
Tuesday, 18 May 2010 08:14

It is hard to make a case for bringing any device on the water that connects you to the rest of the world while kayak fishing but your iPhone might be the exception. The Navionics App for the iPhone is GPS and charter plotter software that works off a satellite signal even when there is no cell signal. The technology is pretty straight forward, you purchase the App for your region (I was able to get the East Coast for $14.99), download it to your iPhone and you’re ready to go. navionics app

I have owned a couple of handheld GPS units so I sort off knew what to expect with seeing charts as I kayak an area. What I didn’t expect is how much more functional the iPhone and Navionics App are together compared to handheld GPS. The first feature that got my immediate attention was the zoom function. It works by moving your two fingers on the screen. It’s so easy.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re zooming in or out, showing wider areas of the chart is a breeze. For test purposes I took my handheld GPS (uses the same Navionics chart software) along to see how they compare. I found the iPhone to be much easier to navigate, whether it was setting a waypoint, starting a track or following a route.  The screen on the iPhone is actually bigger than on my Lowrance GPS and it was easier to view.  There were times I did have to change the angle in direct sunlight.  I really like the Google Map overlay which lets you see the actual satellite view before it switches over to chart view. This lets you really relate the chart to the actual coastline.Iphone next to GPS

I also had an opportunity to compare what the chart was showing me and compare it to what was on my kayak’s depth finder, for the most part it was pretty close and you can’t expect it to be exact especially in areas with lots of drop offs and shoals but it was close enough to help you find ridges or the edge of flats. You can do all the standard stuff like saving routes, get moon phase, sunup and sunset times and marking waypoints all in a super simple manner.  It has a very user friendly menu with clearly marked touch buttons. The Navionics App and your iPhone can act as all in one information source while on the water.  You can easily see tides for any given area or currents for a waterway, figure out distances, see your current and average speeds and of course locate areas that look fishy. My phone also has additional apps that show me current weather and wind forecasts.

The app is also loaded with fun geotagging features so I can easily share routes, tracks, markers and either email them or send them to Facebook or Google Earth for friends to see.  What’s great is this can all done from the water! You can take photos along your route and these will be attached to your track. Here is a track I did in Jamaica Bay, NY.

A few negatives, the battery life is an issue and a long day with a lot of use will drain your battery within 10 hours so you have to keep that in mind. The iPhone does not play well with water so you have to get a waterproof case; I used one from Otterbox and all the touch features worked fine.

Iphone waterproof case from Otterbox

If you have an iPhone (more phones to follow), the Navionics App is pretty much a no-brainer, at between $4.99 and $14.99 it can turn your phone into a fully functional GPS and chart plotter that can help your find areas that will produce fish and then help you find them again. It will also act as a safety device that can get you home quickly if the fog rolls in or you get lost. This along with some fun features that allow you to share trip info with friends makes the Navionics App a perfect companion for the kayak fisherman.

For more info go



0 #1 Guest 2010-06-06 08:09
I went to the OtterBox site to look for the iphone case you talked about, but couldn't find any waterproof cases that would let you use the touch screen. Can you tell us exactly which model you use.
-1 #2 info 2010-06-06 08:34
Here is the link
0 #3 Guest 2010-06-08 19:21
From the Otter Box website:

Environmental Protection:

Case provides added protection against bump, shock, drop and dust intrusion. Case is NOT protective against water.
0 #4 The_Nothing 2010-06-09 06:17
I have the OtterBox Defender and I can tell you that it is NOT a waterproof case. It is, however, resistant. It does well at protecting the phone, adding rubber seals to the mute switch, headset plug, and charge port. However, you'll note that the loudspeaker and microphone are completely exposed at the bottom. The earpiece manages to over some protection, and I'm unsure why they didn't use the same material below.

The Navionics software is awesome. I have it and play with it from time to time. I use it to plan trips on occasion, but most of the time figure I have it for back-up use since my fish finder also has GPS.
0 #5 Guest 2010-07-18 18:54
I put an Otter Defender inside a Dry-Pak bag. The bag fouls the touch screen without the Otter case, but it works fine with both together. Of course, you can't get a power cord inside there.
0 #6 Guest 2010-08-29 20:51
There isn't an otter box that's water proof that let's you use your phone only water resistant look on eBay under Idry works very well and a good price at $20
0 #7 Guest 2010-10-20 10:34
How about a simple quart freezer zip lock?
0 #8 Stoneroller 2010-12-15 15:05
what is the cost differential between an iphone + software and a handheld gps + softwar. and with anything kayaking, if it isn't waterproof on it's own, it's just a matter of time before it's a waterlogged paperweight.
0 #9 Guest 2011-07-30 15:17
Can you change the "safety depth" on the iPhone version to something between off and 6 feet?
0 #10 Joey2509 2011-07-30 17:28
I believe the safety alarm can be set to any depth
0 #11 Guest 2011-08-02 19:27
Joey -thanks but I still can't figure this out. On the Navionics app there's a setting on "safety depth" for "off" and then the next one is for "6 feet" and nothing in between. Is is possible to set it for 3 feet for example? I ask because when you set it to "off" it doesn't show ledges here in Maine which are exposed at low low tide.

-2 #12 Guest 2011-08-07 05:52
I emailed them but never heard back. THe more I think about it, I cant seem to chnage it either so I think it might have to be a 6 ft min.
0 #13 Cheated 2012-01-26 08:08
I bought 2 charts - the USA and SAmerica. This week I bought the new iPhone and tried to update the charts to my new iPhone. They don't show up inky list I'd apps as PURCHASED?!! I have emailed Navionics but they have. It acknowledged my complaint. DON'T BUY THIS UNLESS YOU WANT TO BUY IT OVER AND OVER WITH EVERY UPGRADE!!!!!!

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