Is there a good and affordable marine navigation software for OS X or Windows that includes charts? Offline usage is a must, as there's no reliable internet connection after leaving coast.

Mandatory features include

  • Shows water depth, sea markers (buoys etc.). "The usual stuff"
  • Shows current location on the map, based on GPS. Preferably works with any NMEA device, but requiring specific (cheap, say, <50€) GPS is okay too.
  • Shows speed and course
  • High-quality charts for Europe (other parts of the world are obviously a plus). OpenSeaMap is rather incomplete.
  • Price including charts less than 200€

Optional things - "nice to have":

  • Night colors mode - during night, having dark theme (in addition to adjusting brightness of the display) is really useful for preserving night vision.
  • Recording tracks and showing recorded tracks
  • Custom markers - adding markers to locations with custom description.
  • AIS support (shows other boats on the map)
  • GRIB support (weather information)

Here's an example of good map view (without boat location): it includes stones, land, depths, buoys, lighthouses (with sector colors), underwater pipes etc.

Example map

OpenCPN is free with good feature set. Unfortunately, marine charts for European countries are usually crazy expensive - for Finland's coast, a full set of OpenCPN compatible electronic charts costs approximately 1000€ ($1351.40). That isn't too much for professional usage, but for private use, it's pretty steep.

For Android, there's Navionics, which is affordable (35€/$47.31) and includes charts for whole Europe (different edition for Northern America).


1 Answer 1


French navigators use to consider MaxSea as the leader in this domain. Obvioulsy, their softwares are not free, but at least they allow offline navigation (they're used on round-the-world races).

I must admit I've never used it myself, but I've only seen good reviews about these products.

Typically, starting offers like MaxSea TimeZero Navigator (price 499 €) will include

GPS positioning

Marine weather forecast service

Free worldwide tide database

Management of Routes and Waypoints

North America Tidal Current with ETA calculation (only available for the US market)

Concerning specific marine charts, they stand that

MaxSea Time Zero Navigator Wide package includes the marine software navigation MaxSea TimeZero Navigator and a chart area to be selected from a wide variety of electronic marine charts.

In the US, MaxSea TimeZero Navigator includes free NOAA US raster and vector high resolution charts covering the entire US Coast, including Alaska, Hawaii, Pacific Islands and Great Lakes.

I guess you should give them a call to have a better view on what charts are offered for your navigation in Finland ...

  • 1
    @Olli I will leave my recommandation to use MaxSea, even if price tag is not in your expected range, oonly a s a possible solution (disclaimer : I do not work for MaxSea :-)). I however do understand it won't be the best fitting recommandation.
    – Riduidel
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 10:45

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