Anchor Alarm App - Update
08/07/14 12:19 Filed in: Anchoring
(Here is an update on our latest success in anchor alarm methods)
Having your boat snuggly anchored in a beautiful setting is a great highlight of the cruising life for many people. We love spending time at anchor but sometimes in the night when the wind shifts or a squall comes up you wonder if you are really so snug! Is the anchor dragging?
In the "good ole' days" we used our handbearing compass to take bearings on nearby shore features, but on a dark night that could be quite difficult. We might wake up to check our position and find the light ashore had been switched off, or the squall was obscuring the feature we we using to take a bearing.
Then for a few years (before chartplotters were in common use) we were using our GPS - writing the numbers down and comparing them to the numbers we should see. A big improvement but prone to errors as we all are a little more muddled waking at 3AM with strong gusts!
Back in those old days, there were crude anchor alarm features, but I never had much luck with them. GPS accuracy was poor and LORAN towers went down (remember LORAN :-). Getting a good nights sleep was still difficult.
Then GPS accuracy improved (SA was turned off) GPS got better reception and I put a small handheld plotter by the bed. I left the plotter on all night and it gradually developed a lot of fixes in an arc as we swung on the hook. Cool!! When I woke with a gust or squall I could just roll over and peer at the small plotter screen - we were still on our arc - back to sleep!
It still wasn't perfect system though. What if we had just had a large Sunday Roast dinner and a bit of wine and I didn't wake up with the squall.
Well I have finally found a solution that works GREAT in the form of an App for my phone! I have been testing it for some time, but they recently came up with an update and it is now really great!
In this screen-cap you can see the boat to the left and the anchor in the middle of the red circle "safe zone". The previous track of the boat (in this case the past 20 hours) is easily seen in various colours so you can differentiate older positions from newer ones.
When the phone is online the App also grabs a satellite image of the surrounding area which I think can be quite helpful (although it won't work in all areas) Here we are in the Bahamas and the island next to us is Thunderball Cave near Staniel Cay Exumas. You can even see we are in nice sand between grass patches!! Ain't technology wonderful!!
If you have trouble sleeping at anchor this might be worth a try! Heck its just $1.99...
The app even has a feature that it can apparently call or text you if you drag… has anyone tried this?
This app is called “Anchor!” and is here on the Apple App store.
If you have an Android phone here is one for Android... Or has anyone tried any similar apps?