Boat Cruiser Review
During the week of February 12th, we performed a field test of Boat Cruiser. Out trip took us from Hayden Island, Oregon (near Portland) to Cathlamet Washington which is 40 miles west of Portland and 20 miles east Astoria, Oregon.
Planning the Trip
The night before our departure, we plotted our intended route from Portland to Cathlamet. Setting up the route was simple and straightforward as new waypoints can be added to the route by simply right-clicking and placing the new waypoint. River navigation requires that routes are plotted precisely and Boat Cruiser made the task very easy by allowing zooming in and out while placing the waypoints. Once the route was layed in, we printed the route from the nav manager. This was a really nice feature as we had a paper backup of turn angles, waypoint and trip distances. In the case of a gps failure, we could use the paper printout along with our compass to safely navigate to our destination.
Once underway Boat Cruiser displays ETA to next waypoint, time to destination as well as other standard navigation such as cross track error. Having AIS target information on the display gave us plenty of advance warning of the numerous panamax class ships and grain barges on the river.
Having C-MAP charts available was a real treat. Although there is much attention paid to ENC charts these days because they are free (in the United States), the C-MAP charts are extremely detailed and have animated lighted bouys that actually flash at the proper interval. Since we began our trip in the evening, this was a big help verifying range markers along the way. The ability to change the aspect of the chart view was also a nice feature while navigating the Columbia River as we could see much more of the route in the fixed screen size of our laptop display.
Boat Cruiser performed very well for our weekend trip on the river and although a river trip didn’t allow us to exercise many of the advanced features, I should mention a few of them. The range circle and parallel line index would be very valuable while crusing offshore as it provides the same functionality as traditional paper chart tools right on your display. Another useful feature was the ability to create zones. This would allow you to define any area (even a very irregular shape) as an area of interest. Once the zone is created, alerts can be set when the zone is entered. Defining danger zones would be the obvious use but it could also be used to define a safe area with an alert if you travel outside of the zone.
*Special Note: One C-Map chart region is included free with the purchase of Boast Cruiser. A voucher is provided and used to unlock the region of your choice using the C-Map map management software which is also included on the CD. If you have any questions or comments about our reveiw, please email firstname.lastname@example.org an we’ll be sure to respond promptly.