The mobile phone – essential, indispensable, practically ubiquitous in our modern world. Wherever we go, whatever we do, a mobile phone is usually within reach. And it’s just the same for those of us in the diving community.
Most, if not all, divers carry a mobile phone on a dive trip. While the majority may want to keep their smart phones handy at least for emergency purposes, smarter owners actually use them as tools in their favourite outdoor hobby or sport – including diving. These days, a regular smart phone with the right mobile app can serve as a dive calculator, an electronic log book, a tide chart, a wreck locator, a reference guide, a book or a magazine. It can even transform into a dive computer, an underwater still and video cam, a compass or an emergency light rolled into one. A huge plus, as far as versatility and convenience go.
So what type of apps could be beneficial to you as a diver? Here’s a list of items you may want to consider acquiring for your mobile:
1. Wreck Locator – Wreckfinder (iOS and Android)
This app provides the GPS location, size and depth of over 12,000 official wrecks found in UK and Irish coastal waters. Wreck data is obtained from the UK Hydrographic Office database.
2. Dive Calculator – ISCUBA Plan Lite (iOS) and Dive Planner Pro (Android)
This calculator helps you compute the no-decompression limit, pressure group, surface interval, residual nitrogen and equivalent air depths and dive times for any type of mix (air or nitrox).
3. Weather – MET Office (iOS and Android)
When is a good day to dive? This app allows you to track the weather by providing blocks of three hours for the current and next day, and then day and night predictions for the next three days. It shows sunrise, sunset, wind direction and speed, and actual weather.
4. Tidal Chart – anyTide (iOS) and UK Tides (Android)
Part of planning a dive is knowing when to dive on slack. anyTide is a new app developed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Liverpool that allows the user to obtain tidal predictions for any point around the British Isles including major estuaries. Although this is currently limited to iOS users, android users can make use of UK Tides instead. This app covers seven days of tide tables and charts of 700 UK locations displaying sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset and moon phase.
5. Electronic Log Book – Dive Log (iOS and Android)
At the end of the dive this app enables you to log the dive along with the GPS coordinates while still at the dive site and the experience is still fresh in your mind. You can also sync with your computer at home or view overall diving statistics.
6. Dive Theory and Exam Guide – Scuba Exam (iOS and Android)
Planning to upgrade your certification level? Or perhaps you are still a student diver preparing for an exam? Or you just want to brush up on your diving knowledge. This is a handy app that provides a practice quiz on scuba diving principles and theories and has a dictionary of diving terms and expressions.
7. Magazine – Dive Magazine (iOS and Android)
Want to read on the latest trend or current news in diving? Why not subscribe to this digital magazine. Its free!
8. Travel Guide – Dive Traveler (iOS)
Are you a diver who travels all over the world seeking the best place to dive? This app delivers up-to-date information on a travel destination by featuring local experts from each destination and dive experts from around the world. It shows not only the world below water but also provides you with top side information such as hotels/resorts, restaurants, bars, etc.
9. Social Log Book – Diving Dude (iOS)
Available only on iOS, this app allows you to interact and share your experiences with diver friends around the world. Log your dives, follow other divers’ logs, explore popular dive spots from around the world and find dive shops near your current location.
10. Multi-purpose – iGills (iPhone)
This is by far the coolest tool you can have. It’s an underwater housing and app that’s designed to convert your iPhone (models 3GS, 4, 4S & 5) into an underwater still and video cam, a dive computer, a compass, a log book and an emergency light all rolled into one. It has a rated depth of 40m and can display your dive info even when you are snapping stills or rolling video. As soon as you surface, you can send and show your experience to friends and family online in real time. And it automatically logs and inputs your dive onto your dive log. Truly an innovation!
These are just some of the many features that current dive apps can do for your mobile. Many more are on the pipeline. So don’t be surprised if, not many years from now, the regular smart phone becomes a regular part of any diver’s gear.
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