The rise in smartphone and navigation app use provides mariners a lot choices these days. There are hundreds of apps available for the modern mariner to download from tide and current apps to charting and real time AIS information.
I view the innovation and development of maritime apps as an accepted and necessary way of life on the sea for the prudent mariner. There is little a mariner cannot glean from all the apps available to download to your smartphone or tablet. I use apps in both my professional career and recreational fishing trips. I utilize weather apps the most when working professionally. The weather apps remove a lot of guess work of predicting weather events. As an example, I can gain a complete picture as to when squalls, fog and wind conditions may improve or diminish. I also supplement my app quiver with tide, current and charting apps. I use the charting apps on a tablet that can communicate to a ships onboard data via WIFI and Bluetooth. This connection allows me to get real-time position and AIS information on my tablet. What I like about having my own tablet available is that I can set it up exactly how I like without worrying about a bridge team member changing the display I need to see. I also like the fact that having my own tablet on the bridge of a ship keeps the bridge team engaged and focused on the task at hand. It is a tool I use to establish a good master-pilot exchange before proceeding and committing to a passage.
Comments and experience are welcome to continue this discussion… more to come on app use and navigation safety.