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Old 13-05-2019, 09:23   #1
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Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

I know there has been a lot said about Garmin acquiring Active Captain, and a lot of issues for developers. I am of course just interested in the practical effect on a casual user.

I haven't used it in a while until recently, and I am really confused. It used to be like Trip Advisor - you go somewhere (anchor somewhere) and then rate and review it. If you found a new anchorage you marked it and made your comments and it was there for all to see.

Am I seeing that now it is different? If I go to a particular spot that someone has already listed and is showing as an anchorage I can review it, but I am unable to mark a new anchorage. That seems crazy and is that really true?

I don't have a Garmin chartplotter, but I do have an inReach and I have Navionics charts. What am I missing? How do I use Active Captain now and if it has changed so significantly, what are the current alternatives?
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Old 13-05-2019, 09:38   #2
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

For starters, you have to re-register, either on the new AC app or via the website. Since Garmin also purchased Navionics, I'm not sure if you would have to pay for charts to be uploaded onto the new app. There was a deadline for registering using your old AC login, so you may or may not have to start from scratch.

The transition has been messy, but Garmin has taken some steps to fix it. Last time I tried their usually efficient tech support number, however, their wait time was almost 3 hours!
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Old 13-05-2019, 09:45   #3
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

I still use AC. I bet I've written 5 reviews in just the last few days. I write reviews via my laptop on the Garmin site. But I use the AC data base for anchorages etc from my AquaMap app that I feel is an EXCELLENT value to have
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Old 13-05-2019, 10:03   #4
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I still use AC. I bet I've written 5 reviews in just the last few days. I write reviews via my laptop on the Garmin site. But I use the AC data base for anchorages etc from my AquaMap app that I feel is an EXCELLENT value to have
That's useful to know. I was wondering if people were still contributing given the confusion that accompanied the transition. Also a good tip on the AquaMap app, thanks. Many to choose from these days, and don't want to wind up paying more than once to download charts (unless it's a reasonable annual subscription fee).
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Old 13-05-2019, 10:27   #5
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

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That's useful to know. I was wondering if people were still contributing given the confusion that accompanied the transition. Also a good tip on the AquaMap app, thanks. Many to choose from these days, and don't want to wind up paying more than once to download charts (unless it's a reasonable annual subscription fee).
I originally got the AquaMap as an off-line database for AC. But the charts on it are so much more detailed than my 18 year old chartplotter that is has allowed me to go to places I never would have before. Plus it has current and tide indo on it and since current can be a LOT different that the tide it has really been a big help. It was $14.99 at the time to get all USA charts (you can have 1 section a a time free). Probably the best app I have ever gotten.

BTW - Garmin has since brought AquaMap
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Old 13-05-2019, 10:36   #6
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

I use it with some caution. If you read enough reviews, I find there is a little bit of a 'Yelp' tendency, where you need to read things with a 'grain of salt'.

I found information that is simply incorrect. I tried to change incorrect data once. Apparently the process requires approval by the original poster. I got an IM from the poster defending why he/she was right, even though they absolutely were wrong. The incorrect data (local knowledge) stood. My only option would be to post a contradictory piece of information right next to the other poster.
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Old 13-05-2019, 11:46   #7
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

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I originally got the AquaMap as an off-line database for AC. But the charts on it are so much more detailed than my 18 year old chartplotter that is has allowed me to go to places I never would have before. Plus it has current and tide indo on it and since current can be a LOT different that the tide it has really been a big help. It was $14.99 at the time to get all USA charts (you can have 1 section a a time free). Probably the best app I have ever gotten.

BTW - Garmin has since brought AquaMap
Just checked it out and it looks much more comprehensive than any other nav app I've seen thus far. The ones designed for devices as opposed to PC's anyway. Along with AC it also has Waterway Guide (US & Bahamas), is available for Apple & Android (phones & tablets), and has AIS. I'm assuming (but don't know) that the charts are Navionics given Garmin's acquisitions of both entities.

Not sure about Android's, but when I went to the App Store on my iPhone it allowed me to download either a free version which also includes one free chart as you mentioned, or a version for $24.99 which presumably includes a chart set (haven't confirmed). The pricing for the charts is refreshingly flexible too, allowing the download of specific areas for less $$, or entire chartsets for either an annual subscription fee or a slightly increased one-time fee which includes unlimited updates. All in all it looks very attractive, and the closest app I've yet seen that operates like a modern full-function chartplotter.

P.S. Kinda reassuring to read that your chartplotter is 18 years old! After reading a lot of threads about people replacing their plotters much more frequently, I'm feeling a bit better about my 12 year-old Garmin's!
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Old 13-05-2019, 12:36   #8
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

we have AquaMap on 2 tablets and 1 phone.

My iPad I bought a badelf gps plugin for $99 and the tablet became a real time gps chart

my wife has an android tablet and it has gps built in, so now it is a backup to our backup and it was free as I just used my acct I setup when I did my iPad

Even $24.99 for all US charts is cheap if you travel much outside 1 or 2 titles of the charts
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Old 13-05-2019, 12:38   #9
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

and to the reader who just posted on the bob423 icw FB page looking for amno to say I'm wrong about garmin and aquamap, how many other sites are you "traveling" around in looking for opportunity to correct the internet?

I could be wrong, but does it matter any little bit
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Old 13-05-2019, 13:22   #10
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
we have AquaMap on 2 tablets and 1 phone.

My iPad I bought a badelf gps plugin for $99 and the tablet became a real time gps chart

my wife has an android tablet and it has gps built in, so now it is a backup to our backup and it was free as I just used my acct I setup when I did my iPad

Even $24.99 for all US charts is cheap if you travel much outside 1 or 2 titles of the charts
I agree SailorBoy, and thanks again for the tip. I know it's the nature of our fast-moving high-tech society, but I was starting to get frustrated with money previously expended on apps which have either become rather obsolete or are starting to charge more $$ for the same level of functionality. For the same reason I think I may be done with chartplotters and the exorbitant fees to both update and expand coverage. It appears a similar level of waterproofing & daylight readability is now attainable with PC monitors and/or water-resistant covers for phones & tablets. But just my opinion, and YMMV obviously.

Just noticed, btw, that AquaMap offers Bahamas Explorer charts (for a fee). Another plus in my mind.

Edit: What gives with the critique of AquaMap you just cited? Anything worth mentioning?
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Old 13-05-2019, 13:25   #11
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
...
my wife has an android tablet and it has gps built in, so now it is a backup to our backup and it was free as I just used my acct I setup when I did my iPad

Even $24.99 for all US charts is cheap if you travel much outside 1 or 2 titles of the charts
SB1, do you know if it has full capabilities in the Android version? Did you ever use it? It seems that the tutorial is only available on iOS, I wonder if everything else is avalibale on both operating systems.
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Old 13-05-2019, 13:45   #12
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

I have only ever used ActiveCaptain on its webpage, and really haven't seen a need to use it anywhere else. As that kind of "casual user" I can not see anything that has changed other than the branding.

It supplies some data, but like things posted on the internet in general you realize there are a lot of very ignorant people out there...

In general I make my own decisions about where to anchor. The reviews of marinas and such are generally not worth the trouble of reading through the dross to figure out whats real from the rantings of a fevered few.

I generally don't trust "crowd-sourced" stuff, and nothing I have seen on Active Captain has improved that opinion.
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Old 13-05-2019, 14:01   #13
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

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I have only ever used ActiveCaptain on its webpage, and really haven't seen a need to use it anywhere else. As that kind of "casual user" I can not see anything that has changed other than the branding.

It supplies some data, but like things posted on the internet in general you realize there are a lot of very ignorant people out there...

In general I make my own decisions about where to anchor. The reviews of marinas and such are generally not worth the trouble of reading through the dross to figure out whats real from the rantings of a fevered few.

I generally don't trust "crowd-sourced" stuff, and nothing I have seen on Active Captain has improved that opinion.
Yes, usual cross-referencing and own decision making always required with crowd-sourced data. AC is only a guide like any other. I have found it quite helpful, at least in my primary sailing areas, but ymmv.

Obviously you can only use AC on its website if you have internet service. The website also doesn't allow for much functionality akin to a plotter, or even what's available on the old Garmin BlueChart app which Garmin no longer supports. Along with some newer chart plotters (Garmin only?), AC will already be downloaded on your selected charts for offline use. There is a list of PC & phone/tablet based apps on the AC website which supports AC.
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Old 13-05-2019, 14:07   #14
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

I trust crowd source more than I do sponsored descriptions, especially if is from other sailors that I know or know to have a good feel for what makes a good anchorage or marina. If I don't trust other sailors then I have to rely on the marina that writes it's own description somewhere.

So whether the info others have given me is valid or not is not my problem. I can't seem to add a location to ActiveCaptain. Here is a printout of Bermuda's Great Harbor. There are two "anchor" symbols. I can go there, to those anchorages that someone entered, but I can't add my own.
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Old 13-05-2019, 14:12   #15
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Re: Is Active Captain still useful? How to add a location.

It's now available in the latest (consolidated) Navionics app and it seems the functionality is pretty good. Haven't tried it on the water yet, however.
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