ActiveCaptain with SeaNav and BoatWatch


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The latest versions of our SeaNav and BoatWatch iOS apps now include the fabulous ActiveCaptain database providing on and off-line access to information on tens of thousands of marinas, anchorages, hazards and local knowledge (bridges, locks etc.) , as well as reviews from other boaters, shown geographically on marine charts, satellite images, or street maps. The ActiveCaptain coverage is global. There is information on Marinas and Harbour side restaurants etc. from around the world including the US, Canada, UK, France, Spain  etc. . If you aren’t already signed up for ActiveCaptain you can do it for free in a few seconds here:-

https://activecaptain.com/register.php

We found Jeff at ActiveCaptain really supportive and helpful on the integration with his data and had some lovely comments back from him on how well we did it too “The Pocket Mariner developers have been exceptional to work with. They are real boaters who get out on the water with their own tools.” Jeffrey Siegel, ActiveCaptain.

We look forward to adding more features and the ability to post reviews from our apps too in the near future.

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Boat Beacon and SeaNav Apple Watch App tips

Here are some tips/pointers from our initial experience of using the Apple Watch with our Boat Beacon app.

1. By default the Apple Watch shows a watch face when you raise your wrist to look at it. If you want to see your nav data on Boat Beacon you have to press the crown and select Boat Beacon. This is really annoying when you want to see your navigation information at the flick of your wrist. Fortunately there is an option in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone to ensure the Boat Beacon app (or whichever app you were using last ) stays on top – its in My Watch/General/Activate on Wrist Raise/Resume Previous Activity  - make sure this is ticked.

2. You need Boat Beacon on your iPhone/iPad to be in Sailing mode (Sailing button bottom left selected) to get  SOG, COG , Heading and CPA/AIS information on Boat Beacon’s watch app display. The same applies to our SeaNav Watch app which also has a Waypoints display.

3. iPhone Battery is draining much faster when SeaNav or Boat Beacon app has been run on  my watch even though it is no longer being displayed on the watch and I am not running the apps on my phone/iPad.

The problem is that when you launch the SeaNav or Boat Beacon watch app (or in fact any app that needs gps) on your watch it stays running even when its not showing on the watch face and/or another app (e.g. the clock) is showing. As it is running it will keep asking the iPhone for gps info which will eat battery on your iPhone. The solution is to “Force stop” the SeaNav app on your Watch when you have finished using it. Here’s how to do this:-

With the SeaNav/Boat Beacon app showing on your Watch screen press and hold the side button below the Digital Crown for a few seconds. The next screen you see features buttons for Power Off, Power Reserve and Lock Device. When you see this screen press and hold the side button again until you see SeaNav disappear and be replaced by the home screen.  There are more instructions for how to do a force stop here

We need a way to exit the SeaNav app on the watch more easily – either from the iPhone or more directly from within the SeaNav app running on the watch. This appears to be a mistake/oversight by Apple (a lot of folks with fitness and cycling apps are complaining to Apple about battery drain) and hopefully they will address it in a future release.

Just remember to force quit it on your Watch when you don’t need it running.

4. The wrist torch mode doesn’t work – looks like Apple won’t let the watch show a blank white screen (it worked in the simulator). We will take a look at how to get this working. For now you can use the AIS Map display to shed some light in the dark.

5. The watch screen is polarised to reduce glare and visibility is good on a bright day.  Apple have got the polarisation right – just like on instrument displays on aircraft -  it works fine with Polarised sunglasses. We tested with a pair of my son’s Ray-Ban Aviators and we could see the watch face fine. seanav-watch

 

 

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Independent trials of the Pocket Mariner AIS Dual channel receiver.

With the help of a ShipPlotter user in Finland we have been able to run side by side tests of our Pocket Mariner Dual Channel AIS receiver with a mainstream commercial brand AIS receiver costing over 3 times the price. We are very pleased with the results, with the Pocket Mariner Dual Channel AIS receiver achieving almost exactly the same coverage/range/data rate of the well known commercial brand. Here are some stats comparing our Pocket Mariner AIS receiver on port 7018 (blue) and the other on port 5378 (red ) and screenshots at the same time of the coverage from the same aerial in Helsinki.

Rate of data received (bits/s)

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We also found that the coverage/range for both the commercial AIS receiver and ours was significantly improved using a relatively in-expensive AIS frequency (162MHz) tuned filter and pre-amp on the aerial feed. We used and would recommend the VHF Pre-amp from Spectrum Communications (formerly known as the Garex pre-amp). They start at around £15 for the pcb built one and around £50 for a boxed version. The ship ranges in the screenshots below is approximately 150km (100Miles).  The tropospheric conditions were good.

7018 Pocket Mariner Dual Channel AIS Receiver coverage snapshot

 

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5378 Commercial AIS Receiver coverage snapshot

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N.B. The buoys at the top of the screen (North) are over 350km away and most likely Synthetic Aids To Navigation being broadcast by a shore based station nearer our aerial.

If you are interested in having a Pocket Mariner Dual Channel AIS receiver please get in touch with us at . support@pocketmariner.com

 

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AIS Coverage

Our ship tracking network uses a global network of shore and ship-based radio stations, which receive signals from the AIS system that ships use to broadcast their positions as they travel. Our receiver stations share the ship positions with our cloud-based data server, which pushes them onwards and out to our apps and web services.

We are continuously working on increasing the coverage of our real-time AIS receiver station network. During the last two months we have added more than 50 new AIS stations across 5 continents bringing our live ship coverage to over 35,000 ships. We have supplied the AIS receiver for free for many of these sites and are now deploying our own Dual Channel AIS receiver which we have successfully had independently tested and proved alongside other manufacturers AIS receivers at a test facility in Finland.

Here is a  list of the most recent stations we have set up  and a snapshot of our global coverage on 14th May, 2015.

New volunteers are always welcome to join our AIS Network.

Africa

Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Asia

Chiba City, Japan
Singapore
Indonesia

Europe

Helsinki, Finland
Turku, Finland
Maasbracht, Netherlands
Ijsselmeer, Nethrlands
Ust-Luga, Russia
St Petersburgh, Russia
Edinburgh, Scotland
Over 30 new stations in and around Sweden.
Scilly Isles, UK
Isle of Man, UK
Lowestoft, UK

America

Prescott, Canada (St Lawrence Seaway).
Miami, Florida, US (2 new stations)
Antioch, CA.
Stockton,CA
St Bartholomew (Caribbean)
Dominian Republic.
Buenaventura, Colombia.

 

If you are interested in adding coverage for your area, please read our Cover Your Area information - we can often provide the equipment free of charge.

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Nautical Apps for Apple Watch

Sailors and boating enthusiasts now have nautical apps on Apple Watch

Wales, UK – Pocket Mariner has launched Apple Watch versions of its popular nautical apps, Boat Beacon, SeaNav and Boat Watch. These apps put powerful real-time navigation and boat tracking maps on the wrists of sailors and boating enthusiasts. With the Apple Watch being splash-proof and water-resistant, it makes a great companion device for boaters when combined with the new apps by Pocket Mariner.

“Fast access to key information and tools has been our philosophy when designing the new Apple Watch versions of our nautical apps,” said Steve Bennett CEO of Pocket Mariner. “Our goal is for boaters and boating enthusiasts to be able to quickly access information directly on the watch without fumbling for their phones.”

Boat Beacon

Boat Beacon is an app that allows sailors to monitor other boat positions, receive alerts for potential collisions and share their own position via internet AIS.

Boat Beacon for Apple Watch adds a wrist view of the user’s boat position, collision alerts and a handy set of navigation and boating tools. Boat Beacon on Apple Watch has five top-level screens: A Map screen, showing the user’s boat position and those of nearby boats; a Navigation screen showing speed and course, and which offers an emergency “Man Over Board” button; a Race Timer screen; a Compass screen; and a final screen which operates as a useful mini-flashlight, with day and night modes.

SeaNav

SeaNav is Pocket Mariner’s popular marine navigation and charting app. The new Apple Watch screens in SeaNav include waypoint navigation tools, compass, AIS and collision avoidance and a race timer.

SeaNav uses the latest Digital Vector charts, providing a wealth of benefits and advantages over raster charts. The app provides details, distance and bearings of buoys, lights, bridges, depth contours, depth soundings, rocks, anchorage areas, and NOAA weather buoys. Other useful information available in SeaNav includes tides, moon and sun times and weather.

When at sea, SeaNav provides features for navigating the course. The app alerts sailors when they’ve reached each waypoint, plus provides auto-routing to the next waypoint. SeaNav also keeps sailors safe at sea by providing collision alerts.

Boat Watch

Boat Watch, a leading “ship tracking” app, allows users to follow movements of ships and vessels anywhere in the world. The app has grown increasingly popular with people visiting coastal or river ports, who have friends or family at sea, or who rely on catching a ferry or boat as part of their daily routine. Boat Watch has been enhanced with an Apple Watch map display showing boat movements in real-time.

On the Apple Watch, Boat Watch will display a list of boats they are following, and users can tap for details on the boats with a full color photograph. The map region matches the parallel maps in the Boat Watch iOS app, so that users can follow boats either locally or anywhere of interest around the world. Users can also follow a list of favorite boats, and check on their watch where they are.

Having access to this information instantly on their wrist will make it very easy and convenient for a user to see if their ferry is on schedule or where a loved one’s cruise ship currently is. Users have the option to receive alerts on their watch when their tracked boat arrives or departs port.

All of Pocket Mariner’s nautical apps with free Apple Watch support are available now for download on the App Store.

For more information, visit PocketMariner.com.

 

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Row around Singapore Island (RASI), Mission to Seafarers and Boat Beacon AIS tracking

Pocket Mariner are very pleased to be sponsoring the  Row around Singapore Island  in aid of the Mission to Seafarers .

A group of 40 enthusiasts from the maritime and insurance community in Singapore have come together, to undertake a 24 hour endurance sea challenge, all in aid of the global maritime welfare charity, The Mission to Seafarers.

Mission Row Around Singapore Island (RASI), will see two teams in ocean-going rowing boats attempt the 140km journey, taking on the seas and shipping lanes (not to mention two live military firing ranges) to complete a non-stop circumnavigation of the island of Singapore. The event itself will be held during the 50th anniversary year of Singapore’s independence and will also coincide with Singapore Maritime Week on the 22nd / 23rd April, 2015.

Pocket Mariner have provided their Boat Beacon app to both teams so they can share their position and speed during the event and everyone will be able to follow their progress on our live group tracking web view service.

http://boatbeaconapp.com/portwatch/missionrasi.html. If you would like to add the view to your own web page you can use the following iFrame:-

<iframe src=”http://boatbeaconapp.com/portwatch/groupwatch.php?group=MISSIONRASI&drawtools=1&embed=1&groupgetotherships=0″></iframe>

 

If you are organising an event or a race and are interested in having live tracking available please contact us :- support@pocketmariner.com

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Watermark Round Britain Voyage Summer 2015 and Boat Beacon AIS

Watermark is a Beneteau First 33.7 Cruiser/ Racer  currently on a round Britain voyage.  She is using Boat Beacon to share her position over internet AIS with friends and family on Boat Watch and our new live iframe “embed” web page that lets you add a map showing your boat’s location to other web pages (e.g. a blog). Use the following as a template, you can set the width and height to fit your page

“<iframe style=”border:none;height:600px;width:1800px;” src=”http://boatbeaconapp.com/see/MMSI?embed=1″></iframe>”

Where MMSI is your boat’s MMSI number (as set in Boat Beacon). If you don’t have an MMSI, we can provide you with an internet AIS one, or you can use your Boat Beacon identity instead starting with BB (see the bottom of My Boat Details in Boat Beacon to find your Boat Beacon id). If you don’t have  blog or web site you can also give out a web link to your web page on our site – e.g. http://boatbeaconapp.com/see/MMSI

We wish Malcolm and Watermark a safe and very enjoyable circumnavigation and look forward to following their progress. Here is his current postion :-

 

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Apple Watch – Pocket Mariner apps

We have been working hard to ensure Apple Watch versions of all our marine apps are ready for you as soon as you get your new Apple Watch. Boat Beacon, our signature app, now gives you collision alerts directly on your wrist with CPA time and distance information and a map overview. Check your next waypoint wherever you are on your boat with a compass view, cross track error (XTE), distance and ETA on our SeaNav watch app.  Spot nearby boats, track your ferry or a boat of interest and get arrival and departure alerts with our Boat Watch app on Apple Watch.

 

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SeaNav and Boat Beacon Navigation view

 

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SeaNav Waypoint face.

 

 

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Boat Beacon and SeaNav Compass view

 

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Boat Watch, Boat Beacon and SeaNav map AIS view

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As ever – ship photos to help you identify it.

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And the great news ….. the watch apps are all free upgrades to our existing apps :)

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Melbourne to Port Fairy Ocean Yacht Race

Pocket Mariner are pleased to be sponsoring the  ORCV’s (The Ocean Racing Club of Victoria) Melbourne to Port Fairy Ocean Yacht Race this Easter. We are providing complimentary copies of our Boat Beacon app to all the entrants and race officials so they can track the fleet over the 135 mile race.

You can view and see the tracks for all the boats live here

http://boatbeaconapp.com/group/ORCV 2015 PORT FAIRY

We have also set up 5 Artificial Aids to Navigation for the start and finish of the race, marking Drapers Reef at the start line, ORCV Virtual Buoy, Point Lonsdale Light, Corsair Rock  and Nunn buoy at the finish line.

The AtoN’s are visible in Boat Beacon and our Boat Watch apps.

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You can read more about the AtoNs for the race on the ORCV web site here:-

http://www.orcv.org.au/index.php/port-fairy/4413-boat-beacon-ais-smartphone-tablet-app-aids-to-navigation

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New AIS Aerial in the Caribbean on St Barts

Our latest AIS aerial  on St Barthelemy in the Caribbean has just gone live. If only I could go out and test it! Thanks to Emmanuel at Jicky Marine Service

http://boatbeaconapp.com/station/7017

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Our AIS aerial on top of Jicky Marine Service’s office.

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Jicky Marine’s office from the other side of the Harbour

 

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Plan of Gustavia  looking from the land side out to sea (North is bottom right) showing the office location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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