Logbook App Feature Overview

In today’s tech-driven world, it’s difficult to find a situation for which the term “there’s an app for that” doesn’t apply. Millions of mobile apps have been developed for nearly every activity from business to recreation, and these tools are as useful at sea as they are on land. As a sailor, using an app-based sailing logbook is a convenient way to maintain your records, track maneuvers and manage your personal or commercial activities while out at sea. Here are some of the key benefits of using a logbook app for yachting or sailing.
on deck instruments showing NMEA data


Data from your own sensors.

You have an NMEA to WiFi interface on your vesel? Perfect, save the data measured by your NMEA sensors in each logbook entry. Here is a detailed description how to use NMEA with Logbook App. Once the app is connected to your NMEA stream, Logbook can use the real wind direction and wind speed as well as other values like water depth or GPS data.

Shows iPhone with a recorded track in front offshore the croatian coast.

Automatic Logging

A log book app for boating provides more than just space for your data. It acts as a mini GPS tracking system as well as your owner personal chart plotter. These mobile systems automatically record your activity in real time discretely from the background. Better still, they operate even when the app is closed, so you can use your phone just as you normally would without worrying about interrupting your recording.

Most apps also offer the ability to adjust waypoints or specific distance, and you can choose to use a quarter, half or a full sea mile as your measurement. In addition to tracking your position, mobile GPS technology supplies a wide range of relevant information, including:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Swell height
  • Weather conditions
  • Heading
  • Course over ground (COG)
  • Location Accuracy
  • Distance to last waypoint
  • Speed over ground (SOG)
  • Engine hours
  • The position of the yacht is relative to designated objects on shore.


    Using a sailing app for iPhone devices means you are always able to track your exact coordinates according to nearby landmarks or points of interest. For example, your app can tell you how far you are from a particular lighthouse or coastline or which body of water you’re currently sailing through.

    U.S.-based boaters enjoy the most extensive geocoded coverage. If you’re sailing popular coastal destinations around the Bay Area or the Gulf Coast, you will likely be able to take advantage of the geocode features on your boating app. However, this feature does require an active Internet connection.

    iPhone shows the selection of cloudiness.

    Any good sailor takes weather forecasts with a grain of salt. While meteorology has certainly advanced in terms of accuracy, weather is constantly changing. You can use your sailing app to determine your exact location and then track current Internet information. It automatically displays and logs a variety of weather data points:

  • Cloud conditions
  • Wind direction
  • Wind force
  • Air pressure
  • Air temperature
  • Swell height
  • Precipitation
  • Water temperature
  • Like your geocoding feature, weather tracking requires an active Internet connection, which is usually not a problem along popular U.S. coastlines. The app also lets you collect this data manually or adjust it later, and you can even configure your settings to receive information from your designated selection of news sources.

    iPhone with Logbook App on the maneuver menu

    Activity and Maneuver Tracking

    After jibing, anchoring or setting sail, you can record your maneuver directly onto your phone or iPad boating log book. This makes repeat maneuvers simple to track with one touch of your finger. You can also choose to customize your list using your preferred set of maneuvers.

    Statistics with a lot of value.

    Statistical Tracking

    For sailors or yachters who are out to sea for extended periods of time, a boating logbook app is definitely an essential tool. Unlike paper logbooks, these electronic versions can analyze data over time and present detailed information, such as:

  • Average daily miles
  • Elapsed time
  • Distance traveled
  • Average speed
  • Number of logs
  • Engine hours
  • Harbor hours
  • Sailing hours
  • Moreover, users can choose to view statistics for each day, each week or for an entire journey. This is a fantastic learning tool for future trips.
    Share your position.


    If you’re the kind of sea-dweller who likes to keep in touch with friends and family, an app-based logbook is the perfect way to keep all of your loved ones in the loop. By generating a temporary URL, you can share your precise location at any time during your trip. Links are typically available for up to two months, and viewers can only track you after you send a private invite.

    Example track from year 2013 in Croatia.

    Share your position.


    Most sailing log book apps feature an impressive lineup of additional features, such as a currency converter, safety briefing templates, heeling diagrams, a packing list and a variety of nautical-themed games for periods of downtime.

    Display shows the nautical sunrise and sunset.


    Most avid sailors naturally develop a knack for astronomy, but with a mobile logbook for sailing, you have an astronomer right on your phone. The GPS and date tools determine the exact time of sunrise and sunset based on your current position. The best part about this feature is that it works even when you’re unable to connect to the Internet.

    iPhone with arrow that shows the export capabilities.

    Transfer Options

    Any mobile logbook for sailors should offer the ability to transfer your data from your app to another device in PDF, GPX, CSV or other file format. This lets you take your sailing history and view it on other platforms like Google Earth or a GPS device. Alternatively, simply email the information right from your phone or use the app’s backup feature to safeguard your trip details. For those who like hard-copy proof of an extended journey, you can use your computer to extract and print your information. Advanced users and app developers also have the option to export the entire database in SQL format. Whether you’re cruising down Big Sur or moored up in the Mississippi Delta, you definitely want to consider downloading a boating logbook for iOS. After all, there’s an app for everything else. Why not use technology to handle the busywork of sailing? These systems are accurate, easy to download and let you focus more on enjoying the ride.