The pandemic made for an uncertain start to boating season, but with restrictions gradually easing up (and canceled land-based events leaving us with extra free time), plenty of folks are back on the water.
A nautical navigation app made just for the Chesapeake launched last October and is gaining traction during the return to boating. Argo, the app launched by an upper Bay businessman, now has more than 3,000 downloads and a new round of features that launched just in time for Memorial Day.
When it went online last fall, creator Jeff Foulk told Bay Bulletin the app is primarily for navigation–similar to the turn-by-turn directions and estimated time of arrival drivers get from the WAZE or Google map apps. It also has social media elements, like “friends” and a social feed to see what your boating buddies are up to.
Beginning this week, Argo has an improved search function and an easier way to “auto-route” your cruise. If you find a great anchorage or fishing spot you want to remember later, you can drop a “place pin” on the map, choosing whether to keep it private or make it public.
Argo has added restaurants and bars as points of interest in addition to the marinas, yacht clubs and boat ramps it already listed. That feature is ready to go as pandemic restrictions continue to loosen and dining options expand. And for the first time, app users can rate and review these kinds of destinations for other boaters to see.
“Argo offers a great way to communicate with other boaters and get up to date, local knowledge,” says Foulk. “It is an opportunity for boaters trying to navigate not just the waters but also what they can do on the water.”
Foulk is CEO of a Harford County, Maryland-based defense contracting company, but spends his free time boating on the Bay. He founded Argo Navigation to help boaters share the spots we usually hear about through word-of-mouth with family and friends.
So far, Foulk tells us, users say the app is most useful for the ability to check on friends and family to see where they are on the water, in addition to destination routing and even checking the depth at specific locations.
“We are very excited with where Argo is positioned for this boating season and look forward to getting the new app into boaters’ hands for them to try out,” Foulk says.
-Meg Walburn Viviano