The Best Apps for New Zealand Boaties
Make the most of summer on the water with these 14 apps
Summer in New Zealand isn’t complete without the ocean. More than 75% of us live within 10km of the sea, and many Kiwis can’t imagine a summer without being out on the waves.
Whether you’re boating for fun or fishing for a feed, there’s nothing like a clever app to make your day safer, easier, and more enjoyable.
Find the best time to set out and come back, tidal currents and warnings, locate fish, and play your favourite tunes through your all-powerful mobile device (just don’t forget to charge it up before you go!).
Check through our list of the best apps for New Zealand boaties and make sure you’ve got these in your pocket next time you head out.
Worried about mobile signal or data use? We’ve got that covered too — skip to here to find out more about our wireless modem and WiFi plans to keep you connected wherever you go.
Boaties Best Mate (Coastguard App)
The official app of the NZ Coastguard, Boaties Best Mate includes features such as:
- Log a trip — let the Coastguard know where you’re headed and when you’ll be back, so they can help keep you safe.
- Live weather updates — keep an eye on conditions and forecasts including wind, swell, and tides.
- Save your spots — easily remember favourite fishing spots with just a few taps.
Boaties Best Mate is a must-have for safety and peace of mind for anyone spending time on the water this summer.
The app is simple to use and free to download on both the App Store and Google Play.
Another essential for Kiwi boaties, MarineMate pulls together tide times, boat ramp locations, VHF channels, marine reserve information, and a checklist for packing and safety.
It also features the local boating rules in your area, making it easy for holidaymakers. The MarineMate app brings together all 16 regional navigation safety bylaws into one handy place so you can enjoy the water with confidence on your holiday.
It’s free to download, and regularly updated to incorporate new features and user feedback.
One important app for both safety and sailing optimization is PredictWind. The PredictWind App lets you access PredictWind high-resolution forecasts on the go over wifi or mobile data, in a mobile-friendly format with simple pinch zoom and scrolling.
- Weather Routing and Departure planning tools.
- Live wind observations from around the world.
- Forecast alerts directly to your phone.
They have apps for both Inshore/ Coastal sailing, as well as Offshore. Find them here.
Boating Marine & Lakes (Navionics)
Boating Marine & Lakes by Garmin subsidiary Navionics is a comprehensive navigation app, available through a subscription service.
- Detailed nautical charts for lakes, rivers, and marine areas.
- Layerable sonar chart, relief shading, terrain, and satellite imagery.
- Plot routes, place digital markers, and track past trips so you can see easily where you’ve been and where you want to go next.
Navionics is one of the most popular boating navigation app providers worldwide.
Boating Marine & Lakes is free to download and trial but for ongoing access to all the features a subscription costs USD $21.99 per year.
Make sure you don’t drift from your anchored location with alerts from Anchor Pro. Set the anchor location and allowed movement area to track your position while you sleep, or to monitor your boat from afar.
Anchor Pro is free to download and use, and also offers premium features on an annual subscription.
Weather and Tides
Operated by New Zealand’s MetService and Maritime NZ, this app has been specifically designed for boaties on New Zealand waters. Many Kiwis already rely on MetService for their weather information on shore, now this app provides that same insight and support out on the water too.
Useful features include:
- Forecasts for all NZ coastal and recreational marine areas.
- Severe weather warnings and information.
- Tide information plus sunrise and sunset times.
- Regional rain radar and three-day rain forecast.
The app also links to the MarineMate app for local boating rules. MetService Marine is free to download and use.
Windguru is not your typical app and doesn’t come with user friendly buttons or cute animations, but don’t let that put you off. Windguru is popular for its highly detailed wind information including speed, gusts, direction, waves and swells, cloud cover and temperature.
It’s ideal for experienced boaties or weather app users who want such detailed reports — beginners and casual users are better off using Windy (on iOS and Android) or the detailed Predict Wind (on iOS and Android).
From the Windguru website, there are directions to download the “Web App” to your homescreen, making it easily accessible. When clicked, it opens and operates like a website. It’s free to use.
LINZ Tide Predictions
Another web app, the LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) Tide Predictions webpage is one to bookmark before you set out.
The webpage provides daily tide predictions for specific locations around New Zealand, with an easy-to-use search function. They also include tide timetables for offshore islands such as Raoul Island, Chatham Island, and the Sub-Antarctic Islands.
Further down the page you’ll find notices and news for mariners, and links to other useful information such as sea rescue, seafarer certification and ship registration, boating education, and accident investigation.
As it’s a website, it’s free to access anywhere you’ve got data or an internet connection. Find it here.
This American-based app also includes forecasting for New Zealand, and is popular for its ease of navigation and accurate predictions.
Some key highlights include:
- Save favourite fishing spots and find them again easily using the GPS and compass in your phone.
- Get reports on fish activity to plan the best time of day to head out.
- Tide prediction, weather, solunar, and marine forecast information.
- Create a log of catches including photos, weight, and length.
The Fishing Points app is free to download and use but does come with a Premium subscription option. Note that it doesn’t have nautical maps for NZ.
The Fishbrain app is designed to help you find the best local fishing spots, using meteorological data. On top of this, it’s popular for sharing images of your catch, comments, and tips with the online community.
Use the app to fish smarter, maximise your catch, and share your successes all in one place.
Fishbrain is free to download and use, but also has a paid Premium option.
NZ Fishing Rules
Created by Fisheries NZ, NZ Fishing Rules is the go-to place for regulatory information on the fish species available around the country. Using your GPS in your phone, the site directs you to the relevant regulations for your area, or you can search by region or fish type.
Photos help you identify your catch, and check it against the minimum legal size, maximum daily limits, and area bag limits. Videos in the app show you how to safely release undersized fish, and there is also a section to help you report a suspected poacher.
Finally, the app is also a trusted source of local notices about temporary closures or toxicity warnings.
There are a few different apps for learning fishing knots, which is a great practical way to pass the time while you’re waiting for a bite. The Fishing Knots app is easy to use and simple to follow, which is why we’ve chosen it here.
The app includes images, videos and step by step instructions to help you learn all the knots you’ll need for fishing and boating.
Fishing Knots is totally free, and also works offline.
Entertainment on the water
Spotify / Apple Music / ROVA
Nothing passes the time (or helps pump up the mood) like some good beats. For optimum listening, you’ll also want to have a portable speaker that can connect with your phone over Bluetooth.
Spotify needs no explanation: it’s the most popular music app in the world and has endless hours of playlists, albums, and stations for every genre of music. The free version includes ads, while Premium lets you listen ad-free and download playlists for listening offline.
Apple Music is the Apple version of Spotify, with 75 million songs available to create your own playlist, browse existing playlists, and listen for days to your favourite artists and genres. Like Spotify, you can download music to listen offline. New subscribers get 3 months free.
ROVA is the Mediaworks Radio app, where you can listen to Mai FM, The Edge, The Rock, George FM, More FM, and more. If you like listening to hosts banter, getting the latest on new music, and catching the headlines all in one place ROVA is the app you need.
Netflix / Disney+ / Amazon Prime / Neon
Really nothing biting today? Kids bored of staring at the sea? Rain set in and nothing to do? Load up a TV show on your phone and while away the hours in another world with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, or Neon.
Each streaming platform charges a monthly subscription fee, and offers a catalogue of old and new movies, TV shows, and documentaries. Make sure to download a couple of things before you set out, for a seamless offline or low-signal experience.
Make it happen with portable WiFi
We all know the feeling: you pull out your phone to check something, only to see a single blinking bar of reception — that won’t do much. While a portable modem can’t create reception from nothing, it can receive a stronger signal than your mobile antenna alone.
Simply plug the portable modem into your boat and connect all of your devices as if you were at home, with a 4G connection* that will often work even when your mobile loses coverage.
Our portable modems work in tandem with a Lifestyle plan (with special deals for Coastguard members), allowing you to take the internet with you wherever you go this summer.
*Dependent on location. Check our coverage map for more detail.