The Sea Drive Blog

Why we're building Sea Drive

Published on Apr 26, 2021 by Jared Rada · 3 min read

This is a bit of a story about myself, going from lake boating into "ocean" sailing, and then into the what will seem like obvious reasons why we're building Sea Drive. First off I want to mention I'm a software engineer by trade and grew up programming and building apps, all of which have failed but were great learning experiences. I'm also a life longer boater, most of my boating time was spent on a lake in Connecticut. For the ski boaters out there my parents had a Mastercraft Tristar 190 but I later upgraded to a Mastercraft X-Star.

About six years ago I ended up trying my hand at sailing (I'm still terrible at it) and went on to buy a 30' sailboat with a buddy from work. It was a Catalina 30 for those who are interested (same boat in the blog picture). I quickly found out learning ocean/salt water boating is a lot different than lake boating so there were things I had to learn like tides and currents, COLREGS, anchoring, and also charting. One of the first things I started doing was looking for the best iPhone app for marine charting.

That's when the disappointment started building quickly. Why isn't there a Google Maps for the water, an app that's free and works flawlessly 99% of the time? So I wont call out any names to avoid ruffling feathers, but here's what I dont like about the big name apps:

  • Charging for chart data This is for my US boaters (ocean and lakes)- you've already paid for marine chart data (it's produced by NOAA) with your tax dollars. Every app was asking for money just to view the charts. Why do I have to pay again?
  • Weak user experience Using a marine app should be as enjoyable as using Google or Apple maps. Everything pans and zooms smoothly, its easy to navigate, the app just works. Everything I tried sucked when compared to land lubber navigation apps.
  • Juggling multiple apps I often found myself going into a variety of apps to get what I needed: detailed wind data, offline tides/currents, "autorouting," POI information from, etc. Why cant one app do all of that and do it well?

So that's my sales pitch. We have a talented crew (get it?) working on this app, and while it's just begun we already have a great community response, user feedback, partnerships in the making, iOS & web platforms, and more in the pipeline. If you do decide to try our app (it's free to use forever) please always feel comfortable reaching out. We're building this for boaters and everything we do is driven by users like you. Happy boating!