Free Tide Apps

Sep 21, 2011

If you spend time at the beach you’ll likely want an app to tell you about the tides. Whether it’s tracking when to search for treasure at low tide or keeping track of high tide so you can get around a point before the tide closes it down these apps can help. Some better than others.

Shralp Tide

I recently spent about a week at the beach and had a chance to mess around with a number of tide apps. Turns out of the ones I tried this free app is the best. While it lacks some of the features I’d like to see it has some things that are essential for any tide app I keep on my phone. My big disappointment with this app is that it doesn’t do a great job of geolocation. I was at Destruction Island and the closest tide table was for Aberdeen, WA. While these are very close and the difference would be irrelevant I couldn’t help think about the travelers around me from out of state that wouldn’t know if this was the appropriate tide table or not. The app does geolocate so you would assume it’s correct but the list of options is much smaller than other sites.

That said, what this app does have is so essential the location issue is easy enough to overlook. This app works offline. OK, no it doesn’t update offline but if you check the tide while connected either to data or wifi and then check again later it won’t puke out the data from before. With 5 days of information saved you could disconnect for a while before you’d run out of data. This is so essential as many beaches (at least here in Washington) aren’t going to have great data access. I will say that sadly the data didn’t match the posted data from NOAA at the local store though neither did any other app I tried and this was close enough to be acceptable. Much of the hiking along the WA coast involves crossing around points that close up at high tide so this window may be important if you’re counting on the app for significant accuracy (find a printed local tide table) but for those of us just looking to know when the beach will be big or small this app will do just fine.

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Shralp Tide 2
Shralp Tide 2
Developer: shralpsoftware
Price: $1.99

Tide Table

I really want to like this app. While I’m guessing most tide apps are counting on data from NOAA this one actually says it. That’s what I want… information from THE source (in my mind) of all things weather related. What I like about the app- it finds you better than other apps out there. Last weekend I was at Destruction Island and rather than telling me I was in Aberdeen or counting on me finding where I am (possible for me but unlikely for many of the foreign travellers sharing a campground with me) this app gave me tide predictions for Destruction Island. Awesome. What I don’t like about this app (and what will cause me to delete it from my phone after I write this review)…. two things really. First the app only shows three days at a time.

While this isn’t a big deal while connected to the web constantly it’s a huge problem if you’re not connected. Of course it actually ISN’T a problem when you’re not connected because the app won’t work at all when you’re not connected. Rather than store data (easy enough) from the last time you were connected this app tries to update every time you open it. This means if you step out onto the beach and no longer have a connection you no longer have any tide information. While this might work at Venice Beach it’s not functional for locations in any state where data simply isn’t available. Unless you’ll never be out of data range this app is sadly useless.

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Tide Table
Tide Table
Developer: Tudormobile LLC
Price: Free

Tides: USA Free

OK, I know that title sounds weird but this weekend I spent a bunch of time in a very well traveled (and tourist visited) National Park on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. A large number of people there were not from this state and at least a few were likely not from this country. Certainly the day hikers and other visitors often were from other places. What this means is that many likely don’t really know where they are. Sure, they know they’re in Olympic National Park, Kalaloch in Washington but is that on Hood Canal, Prosession Sound, Saratoga Passage or some other place? Heck, a lot of the places this app lists to choose from aren’t familiar to me and I’ve been living here for 39 years!

Let’s say eventually you actually figure out where you are, no small feat even for those familiar with the area, you’ll still only be given 3 days of tide data. While the app does appear to save the data for offline use the limit to how many days is problematic, especially if you guessed your location incorrectly! Finally I should add that this app did not match the data posted by NOAA for the beach location I was at this last weekend. Saying that I should add that none of the apps I tried matched perfectly but this one was pretty significantly off. Heck, maybe I didn’t know where I was!?

Tides USA:Tide Predictions
Tides USA:Tide Predictions
Developer: Wingism
Price: Free+
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