Boat Beacon

Marine AIS Navigation on your iPhone or Android Smartphone.

Boat Beacon was designed and developed by Pocket Mariner’s sea-faring CEO after a near miss at sea – the app provides an affordable and reliable AIS-based collision detection system for iPhone and iPad or Android smartphones and tablets. For the full background to Boat Beacon, read The Skipper’s Story – How Boat Beacon Came to Be

Boat Beacon is available now in the App Store for iPhone and iPad and in the Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets.


Specifically designed for use on the water, uniquely providing Bearing, Range and Closest Point of Approach (CPA) calculations in addition to all the standard AIS information. Uses up to the second AIS feeds unlike the other AIS apps which can be a minute or even more behind real time. Transmits as well as receives AIS and the only app that continuously monitors CPA, notifying if potential collisions are detected even when the app is in the background.

  • Real time map view of your boat and boats near you via AIS.
  • Over the horizon collision avoidance and alarm using Closest Point of Approach (CPA)
  • CPA calculations and AIS position updates continously in background
  • Lets others see you on Boat Beacon and internet AIS systems like MarineTraffic.
  • Compass mode to sight ships on the map
  • Current Speed, Course and GPS location
  • Share your location and track with friends and family
  • Man Overboard tracking (iOS only at present)
  • Anchor Watch and Theft Alarms (iOS only at present)
  • Ship to Ship instant messaging – chat with other Boat Beacon boats. (iOS only at present)
  • Magnetic or True North setting. (iOS only at present)
  • MMSI numbers to contact nearby boats on via VHF.
  • SART support – alarms and reports SART’s within 30NM.
  • Support for local AIS data feeds via WiFi, e.g. easyAIS, Digital Yacht, Lowrance, Simrad and B&G GoFree

With transmit enabled your boat will appear on other Boat Beacon devices. If you enable AIS sharing and have an MMSI number your boat will also appear on live AIS traffic sites and their associated mobile applications, eg:

Boat Beacon supports iPhone, iPad & Android

Other uses for Boat Beacon

We love hearing how our customers are using Boat Beacon – here are just a few examples of stories that we’ve heard…

  • Arm all the crews in a race with Boat Beacon and watch real time updates on their positions
  • Keep a watch on the other boats in your flotilla when sailing in a group.
  • Check your boat is where you left it!

Boat Beacon is available now in the App Store for iPhone and iPad and in the Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets.

To be seen on Internet AIS systems you must have a valid MMSI number for your boat. You can normally get an MMSI number for free. In the US you can obtain a free MMSI in minutes by visiting the USCG approved agent and using their online form. In the UK visit Ofcom MMSI


Boat Beacon relies on a network of shore based AIS stations for the live ship data. Our coverage is global and amongst the best in the industry, typically showing 40,000 or more live ship movements at any one time and a database of over 150,000 ships world wide. Our coverage is continuously increasing and if you would like to help by adding coverage for your area please let us know. We can provide the equipment at a 50% discount to the retail price and offer an affiliate scheme where you earn money for each new Boat Beacon user in your area. You could not only cover the cost of the equipment but make money too! There is more info about how to do this here - Cover your area.

Boat Beacon Boats around the World

Our map shows the positions of all the boats using Boat Beacon to show their positions. You can click on the dots to learn more about the boats.


iPhone, iPod or iPad . e.g. iPhone 3GS, 4, 5 or later, with an active Internet connection.

We recommend Garmin Glo to enable gps on iPod and WiFi only iPads via Bluetooth.

Android device with GPS and an internet connection.

Fortunately Cellular data coverage extends upto 15 miles out to sea and most popular boating areas are covered. Check out these coverage maps - 2G is sufficient for Boat Beacon:


User guide.

iPhone support and FAQ

Android support and FAQ

Set up an AIS receiver to cover your area

or please email us at Pocket Mariner


Recommended Devices

We are pleased to recommend AIS devices from Companies that we have found useful at sea and inter-operate with Boat Beacon

easyAIS from weatherdock


Recommended Apps

We are pleased to recommend other apps that we have found useful while at sea - Boat Battery helps you monitor your 12 and 24 batteries. And our own Compass Eye gives you an AR Bearings Compass.

License and Disclaimer

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY. Boat Beacon should not be relied upon to determine precise locations, proximity, distance, or direction or make navigational decisions. The author assumes no liability for damages arising from use of this program.
AIS data is sourced from a variety of voluntary shore stations across the world and there is no guarantee of service or availability.
The accuracy of digital compass headings can be affected by magnetic or other environmental interference, including interference caused by proximity to the magnets contained in the iPhone earbuds. The compass may need to be calibrated from time to time. When the device displays the calibration alert, move the device in a figure 8 motion until the calibration screen disappears. See for more information.

N.B. This is not an AIS VHF Transponder. Your boat will not show up on other Ship based VHF AIS systems (unless they are linked to a common Global AIS system).