There are more than 150,000 apps for the iPhone, ranging from the puerile and pointless (such as iBeer, that turns your $300 phone into a virtual beer glass) to the almost indispensable (Google Earth, a guitar tuner, and a virtual spirit level).
BlackBerry’s app store, by comparison, lists just 7,000—and in keeping with its businesslike image, many are dedicated to serious matters such as keeping lists or reminding you where you parked your car.
For boaters, My Anchor Watch promises to be one of the most useful smartphone apps around—and if, like me, you’re thinking about your next cellphone upgrade, it could just tip the balance in favor of the BlackBerry.
As the name suggests, it uses the GPS built into many BlackBerrys to monitor your boat’s position at anchor. A user-selected range ring shows the maximum swinging circle, and a guard zone triggers an alarm if you drag beyond it or drift into a defined no-go sector.
Onboard, it may give added peace of mind, but its real value comes when you go ashore: the phone running My Anchor Watch can be left onboard and will send an SMS message to another phone if the boat moves outside the set limits.
At $19.90, it’s one of the more expensive smartphone apps—but for the price of a few beers, it could make them taste a whole lot better by saving you the worry of wondering what’s happening to your boat.
This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.