Technology can be both good and bad at the same time, we’re sure you’d agree. But when it comes to safety and keeping yourself up to scratch on what’s going on, you can’t beat a bit of technology! The apps on our phone have the power to be either distracting or useful. We’re hoping the apps in this article will fall into the later of these categories. Here’s our top 6 useful paddling apps to download to your phone NOW to help plan paddling adventures.
- Met Office – available on Andriod and Apple. There are fancier weather apps out there, but the Met Office is the leading weather provider for the public, so we thought we’d keep it simple! Why is it important to check the weather before you plan your paddle? Many reasons! Lots of rain a few days before could mean river levels are high in the area. If river levels are high, rivers will be faster flowing and there could be added dangers below the water. Plus, there’s a higher chance of debris in your path. It’s also useful to check if there’s a storm due, we wrote an article about to do’s and don’ts of paddling in storms here. On the flip side, you also need to know how much water to take with you, suncream, and how to dress appropriately for the conditions you might face. Rule number one. Always check the weather forecast if you’re going to be exposed to the elements!
- What3Words – available on Andriod and Apple. Another marmite app, but there’s no denying that What3Words has saved lives over the last few years. We use it in PaddlePoints to ensure you can pinpoint a launch location. It’s one of those apps to have ‘just incase.’ And as the Scouts say – ‘Be Prepared!’ If you ever find yourself in difficulty, the app can locate you down to a 3m square for emergency services to come to your rescue. Of course, we hope it doesn’t come to that!
- My Tide Times – available on Andriod and Apple. A useful paddling app for paddlers living by the coast or planning a coastal trip over the summer perhaps. Why do you need to know the tide times? Well, there’s a few reasons! Check out our paddling on the sea beginners article here. In short though, you want to be working with the tide to save yourself energy. Make sure you’re paddling out with the tide (between high tide to low tide), and arriving back with the tide (between low tide to high tide). It’s always good to check the tidal ranges too! Sometimes to sea goes miles out between high and low tide. Other times it’s less obvious. So be aware of how far out the sea is likely to go! Before anything else though, make sure you’re well prepared for paddling on the sea. When using the app, the low tide peak is when the sea is as far out as it can go (so you’ll see lots of sand or shingle infront of you if you’re stood on the beach). The high tide is when the sea is as far in as it can go (so there’ll be very little beach to speak of!). Tides change with the moon, so the tide timetable is always changing. Make sure you’ve checked the tides before you go, as they’re unlikely to be the same as the last time!
- River App – available on Andriod and Apple. As mentioned earlier, knowing the river levels of where you’re going to paddle is essential! Especially in the winter months. Heavy rainfall or dam releases can affect the waters you normally paddle on, so it’s always worth checking on the app and visually in person as well. You’ll get used to knowing what’s the normal range for your favourite river, but the app also has options to upgrade so you can check levels against it’s normal range.
- Wind Finder – available on Andriod and Apple. Knowing exactly what the wind is doing is another must. It’s not just the wind speed that can catch you out, but the wind direction as well. For example, you wouldn’t want to be paddling on the sea or exposed lake with an offshore wind. This is where the wind is blowing you away from the start. Nor would you want to paddling an out and back route and find yourself paddling into a strong headwind on the way back when you’re tired. Within the app you can change the settings from knots to mph or other units. Whichever you prefer! The more you use it, the more familiar you will become with what those numbers actually mean! The app shows wind direction in the area, air temperature, weather (always good to cross reference!) and wind speed. Really useful especially if you’re paddling open spaces, on the sea or you’re paddling an out and back route.
- Paddle Logger – Available on Apple with Android coming soon. Paddle Logger allows you to record your epic sessions on the water for free. Alongside being able to record your journeys and track your goals, this app is a useful tool for keeping you safe on the water too with it’s pro PaddleLive service. Whilst this feature does require a monthly subscription (of $6) it allows you to share your trip live with your loved ones so they know where abouts you are on the water. Plus the pro version provides access to detailed session data and virtual race features. But then again if you just want to log the miles it’s free version is just the ticket.
So there you have it, our top 6 useful paddling apps to have on your phone to help you plan your paddling days out. Better safe than sorry!
…Pst, for an extra useful paddling app…
TOP TIP – GO PADDLING – USEFUL PADDLING APPS: Did you know you can save the Go Paddling website as an app to use on the go? You do now! When using the website from an iphone, tap the middle button at the bottom of the screen. It looks like a square with an arrow coming out of it. From there, scroll down and click ‘add to home screen’. You can then save the Go Paddling website to access like an app from your phone. Super helpful for checking trails last minute or PaddlePoints on the go!