Top 10 Best Marine Weather Apps for Boaters
Marine weather apps can be amazingly useful for boaters, but which are the best marine weather apps of them all?
Whether you hit the water on your own boat, go out with a friend, or rent a boat, there’s no question that having marine weather apps on your phone can come in handy. Boaters of all sorts are subject to rain, wind, and extreme heat, so being prepared for the weather and keeping up to date on sudden changes is critical. But there are a ton of weather apps out there. So, which is the best marine weather app of all? Different people will have different favorites. But these 10 will surely be at or near the top of the list for most boaters.
- National Weather Service Mobile
- Weather Underground
- Wind Alert
Buoyweather includes location-based forecasts and full weather intel, but its unique, strong suit is the ability to deliver current sea conditions, including wind, wave height, and tide, at a glance. Unlike some apps, it also gives wave period along with the height. Note: this one used to be at the top of everyone’s lists but has taken a beating in the rankings lately on Google Play due to updates causing problems; as of August 2022, they said they had engineers working to fix the issues. Price: Free, but like many apps, some of the best features are locked unless you pay for in-app purchases. Visit Buoyweather.
This app also made our list of the 10 Best Fishing Apps because it’s oriented towards providing the weather intel anglers need most. It has weather maps with wind speed and wave height, and its users say the wind forecast models used by FishWeather are among the most accurate they’ve ever seen. The “Plus” version provides advanced features like sea surface temperature charts and current high-resolution data. Price: Free; $3.99/month for Plus. Visit Fishweather.
Strictly speaking, myAlerts isn’t a weather app, nor is it intended specifically for boaters. But it has much value for mariners since it allows you to set up alerts by location and severity. Set it and forget it, and then when bad weather is heading your way, you’ll be glad for it. Price: free. Visit AlertSense.
There are times when all you want to see is the weather radar, and you want to see it asap. That’s when MyRadar comes into play. Without additional features or menus to scroll through, this app gives you single-tap access to reliable near-real-time animated weather radar. MyRadar boasts over 50 million downloads, has a 4.5-star rating, and we’ve been happily using it for years on our phones. Price: Free. Visit MyRadar.
National Weather Service Mobile
Yes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have its own app. Several, actually, but the one for boaters concerned with the weather delivers National Weather Service forecasts and weather info, including weather radar, forecast maps, and more. Price: Free. Visit National Weather Service Mobile.
Sailors swear by this one since it provides live wind speeds, forecasts, and mapped wind charts, plus their unique animated Flow map showing precise wind direction out into the future. It also has advanced features like radar precipitation maps and sea surface temperatures, but these require upgrading to one of the paid versions. Price: Free. Visit SailFlow.
One of the longest-used and most popular general weather apps around, WeatherBug is a good one for boaters to keep handy, too. While it has a lot of weather data more pertinent to landlubbers, the marine weather data is still there, and the future radar predictive map will be particularly useful on the water. For all-around general use, this one’s a winner. Price: Free with ads, or $0.99/month without. Visit WeatherBug.
A perennial favorite for all-around weather use, Weather Underground covers all the basic bases and scores points for ease of use and simplicity. It’s also attractive because you get quite a bit of functionality without resorting to paying for upgrades. (The price for that, naturally, is a plethora of advertising). Price: Free. Visit Weather Underground.
Wind Alert has a list of features many weather apps provide (charts, radar data, etc.), but the clincher for this one is the ability to set up custom wind alerts via text or email, letting you know when wind speeds will be at levels critical to your boating adventures. Price: The basic version is free, but as usual, multiple upgrade levels unlock the cool stuff.
Wind is commonly a top concern for both sailors and powerboaters — even though the former may be hoping for more and the latter may be hoping for less. In either case, Windy is a simple, straightforward app that predicts wind conditions days in advance. It’s one so many people depend on; we included in 5 Apps No Boat Captain Should Even Try to Live Without. Price: Free, with in-app purchases. Visit Windy.
Interested in other apps for boaters? Also, see:
With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.