I supply pre-configured navigation laptops with marine navigation software with charts and GPS antennas. Sometimes, my clients ask me what other nautical software they can run on my units. Therefore, I am assembling an up to date list here. Every other list I found online was either out of date, or very incomplete. These PC marine navigation apps all run on Microsoft Windows, and provide chartplotter functionality. I also have a similar list for Android and iOS marine navigation apps. Keep in mind that you need a hardware NMEA compatible GPS antenna for real time tracking. This can be cheaper and much more affordable than buying an expensive MFD from one of the major brands. My heavy duty field ready Toughbooks are perfectly suited for a marine environment, if you are interested in taking a look. They can be used outside in the elements and feature outdoor viewable screens on some models. Feel free to contact me with any questions!
OpenCPN PC marine navigation software
OpenCPN is one of the most famous, and well known windows software for marine navigation. If it’s not, it should be! This is the package that I supply standard with my navigation laptops! It supports a large number of affordable digital radar models. It has very low system requirements and runs on even single core computers acceptably well. The latest version has a polished interface, and is quite easy to use. There a vast and ever growing library of plugins which is constantly being updated. You can’t get small inland lake maps, unfortunately. It runs well on any of my navigation laptops, including the basic models. Read more here about getting a laptop for OpenCPN, or just get one from me!
Rose Point Coastal Explorer PC marine navigation software
Rose Point, the makers of Coastal Explorer, are based in Seattle. It’s deservedly popular with many recreational boaters along the US & Canada West Coast. Many of my clients run this package on one of my navigation laptops. They provide excellent customer support. The software has extensive functionality, and abundant chart sources. It’s fairly heavy and requires midrange or premium units out of the ones I offer. I am happy to supply you a laptop for Coastal Explorer!
TimeZero PC marine navigation software (formerly Nobeltec & MaxSea)
An incredible navigation package which requires no introduction, TimeZero has very extensive functionality. The only real downsides are that it be can be slow to load, and will empty our your wallet pretty quickly. If you’re looking for the best of the best, look no further. I have a page with multiple TimeZero video tutorials, if you’d like to check it out. I am happy to supply you a laptop for TimeZero!
i-Boating PC marine navigation software
The software has access to inland rivers and lake charts, as well as satellite overlays. It may not be as refined as some of the above alternatives, but the pricing is quite reasonable. Runs on my midrange or premium units. It requires Windows 10 on PC. I am happy to supply you a laptop for i-Boating!
P-Sea Windplot PC marine navigation software
This is an old school piece of software which has been around for over 20 years. Nevertheless, it’s supported and has access to the latest charts. Why fix something that isn’t broken? It has pretty extensive functionality with radar and even fish finder support. This is more geared towards commercial fishing than recreational boating. I am happy to supply you a laptop for P-Sea Windplot!
Olex AS marine software for commercial fishing
This is a high end bathymetric package popular with commercial fishing fleets. The cost is high, the capabilities are impressive. You can do bottom surveys and generate your own highly detailed charts. I am happy to supply you a laptop for Olex!
EuroNav SeaPro nautical GPS software
This is a UK company that I’m not too familiar with since I’m based in North America. The interface looks pretty clean, and is fairly customizable. The cost does appear somewhat higher than some of the other options below. They do provide quite a lot of equipment, so it could be convenient. I am happy to supply you a laptop for EuroNav SeaPro!
PC Plotter marine navigation software
This is another smaller company. PC Plotter software can use data from Navionics cards: Navionics+, Gold, SonarCharts, Platinum and Platinum+, Hotmaps and Hotmaps+. You can likely expect direct and very helpful support. The pricing is reasonable. Seems like a great option to consider if you already own a Navionics chartplotter card. I am happy to supply you a laptop for PC Plotter!
StarNavPilot marine navigation app for Windows
This software is made in France, and I am not very familiar with it. The interface looks very customizable with widgets of various sizes which can be docked pretty much anywhere. It is current, and up to date. It comes with French coast charts included, and the price is very reasonable. I am happy to supply you a laptop for StarNavPilot!
Expedition Marine for Windows
This software is geared towards sailing and yacht racing in particular. It’s an old school software that’s been around for ages, yet is still currently supported and up to date. The interface is not what you would call modern in 2022. It is geared towards weather routing and sailing. It supports a lot of marine charts, including: S-57 ENCs, S-63 ENCs, BSB RNCs (v1-5), C-MAP 4D, C-MAP MAX/NT+, NV-Verlag, Softcharts, Maptech PCX. I am happy to supply you a laptop for Expedition Marine!
qtVlm Navigation and Weather Routing software for Windows & Mac
This excellent program was brought to my attention by David Burch who teaches a lot of navigation courses. On PC, Linux, and MAC it’s completely free. On mobile devices, I believe there are much better alternatives available in terms of the user interface. Fully customizable, with the ability to download ENC US charts just like OpenCPN. The user interface is definitely powerful, but will take some getting used to for some. Perhaps not as clean as OpenCPN, but a very strong competitor. Able to display OFS model forecasts of tides and currents. Supports a wide variety of charts, including MBTiles. You can download it for free here.
Navionics Boating Marine & Lakes for Windows?
This is a very common question I get, and I have a whole separate page about it. No, you cannot run the Navionics Boating app on Windows. It’s only available on iOS & Android tablets and phones. I sell tablets with the boating app and GPS!
Why use a navigation laptop or tablet as a chart plotter?
My navigation laptops can be much more affordable than Garmin, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Furuno, Humminbird, Raymarine, Si-Tex. I will also support the GPS laptop your purchase forever! Furthermore, I believe that some of the commercial chart plotter brands gouge their customers. Large companies force their clients to upgrade. They stop supporting older units with chart and software updates. In addition, they charge outrageous fees for simple things like a larger screen size. I don’t do any of these things, and never will – guaranteed! Moreover, please take a look at other advantages as well. A GPS laptop can offer a compelling alternative to major brands!