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How To Use Google Maps For A Boat Route

In the last few decades, boat navigation has come a long way. The days of relying entirely on charts and compass readings are long gone. With the advancement of modern technology, technologies such as Google Maps can now be used to plan and navigate a boat route.

How To Use Google Maps For A Boat Route

Don’t worry if you’re new to using Google Maps for boating. It’s a relatively straightforward process. Here are the steps to plan a boat trip using Google Maps.

  • The first step is to launch Google Maps on your computer, phone, or tablet. If you don’t already have it, you can get it for free from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  • Then, in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, click the “Satellite” button to switch to satellite view. This view will help you understand the layout of the canals and any obstructions in your route.
  • On the map, mark your beginning position and your final destination. You can either put a pin on the map by clicking and holding on to the desired spot, or you can directly write in the addresses or coordinates.
  • After you’ve determined your starting and ending points, you can plan your trip using the Directions feature. Click the “Directions” button, enter your start and finish points, and choose “Boat” as your mode of transportation.
  • Depending on your requirements, you may need to modify the route you choose. You can accomplish this by simply dragging the route line to a different position on the map. You can also add more stops or waypoints to your route by clicking the “+” button and entering the extra locations.
  • When you’re ok with your route, click the “Save” button to save it. This will allow you to return to your route and make any necessary additions or modifications later.
  • Finally, it’s time to navigate your route. You can navigate with your phone or tablet by following the highlighted route on the map. You can even use a GPS-enabled device to track your progress in real-time.

Marine Navigation And Google Maps

Except for the odd commercial ferry, Google Maps does not provide boat directions in the same way that it does for vehicles, transit riders, and walkers.

To begin, you can utilize Google Maps, particularly its satellite view, to look over the area where you intend to boat. You might be able to see where various lakes and rivers are located and discover any resources available on the surrounding land, such as docks and marinas, shops, and parks.

You can also use Google’s My Maps function to draw a rough route on the Google Map, which you can then print or carry on your phone or PC. You can also use Google Maps-based sailing tools, such as the distance calculator Sea Seek, which uses Google Maps to calculate the approximate length of a prospective route or the distance between two locations.

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Google Maps Alternatives For Boaters

One disadvantage of using Google Maps for boating is that it lacks most of the information that is often included on nautical charts, such as water depths and information about navigational dangers, landmarks, and local rules. Commercial ships are required by law to carry up-to-date official nautical charts, and many recreational boaters do as well.

To plan your journey, purchase official nautical charts for the area where you will be boating from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are available in print or as a free download online. You can also view navigational information using the free OpenSeaMap service.


Finally, using Google Maps for a boat route is a quick and effective way to navigate your journey. You may plan your route, make changes, and store your map for future use in a few simple steps. Just carry a backup navigation plan, such as a paper chart, on hand in case your GPS gadget fails.

Robert Martinez
Robert Martinez
Robert Martinez is an American travel writer based in San Diego, California. His writing has appeared in NewsCamp, The Popular Me and the World With Me, among others. He is also a frequent Travel Guide writer and a regular contributor to Travel Me and the Organiser.

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