Garmin ActiveCaptain®

In-app purchases
4.01K reviews
Content rating
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About this app

The free ActiveCaptain app creates a powerful connection between your compatible mobile device and Garmin chartplotter, charts, maps and the boating community. Whether you use your Garmin products for cruising, fishing, sailing or diving, this all-in-one app will help you enjoy your time on the water.

Just pair the app with your compatible chartplotter to wirelessly transfer and access charts and maps, software updates, routes, waypoints and helpful feedback from the ActiveCaptain Community. And, with the purchase of the OnDeck™ hub(1), you can track and monitor your boat from virtually anywhere.

Please note that this app is intended for Garmin chartplotter owners and is not recommended for use as a stand-alone navigational app.


> New Garmin Navionics+™ and premium Garmin Navionics Vision+™ cartography, featuring a Navionics® style appearance, advanced Auto Guidance+™ technology(2) and a one-year subscription to daily updates, is available now for North America and Europe, and coming soon to the rest of the world.

Purchase our newest-generation charts or legacy BlueChart® g3 charts from your mobile device, and upload them to registered Garmin chartplotters on your vessel.

You will get exceptional coverage, clarity and detail with charts that feature integrated Garmin and Navionics data and much more. Plus, the NOAA raster cartography(3) and premium features can be downloaded for free through the ActiveCaptain app. Visit

- PLAN A TRIP: Plan your trip, or e-scout a new fishing spot before you’re on the water. Then, transfer your data to your chartplotter where you can view your routes and waypoints.

- USER DATA SYNC: Automatically back up and sync your data between your chartplotter and the ActiveCaptain app.

- ACTIVECAPTAIN COMMUNITY: Join a community of boaters to get up-to-date feedback on marinas, boat ramps and other points of interest (POI). Check ratings, read reviews, and view pictures of POIs to make informed decisions on the water. Contribute your own POI, reviews and pictures from your compatible mobile device.

- CONTROL YOUR CHARTPLOTTER: Using the built-in Helm™ feature, the ActiveCaptain app lets you view and control your compatible(4) chartplotter from your smartphone or tablet, even when someone else is at the helm(5).

- EASY SOFTWARE UPDATES: Receive notifications about software updates from the app, and update your chartplotter wirelessly.

- ONDECK HUB: Use the ActiveCaptain app to track, monitor and control any number of switches with the OnDeck system(1) from nearly anywhere. Door open? Bilge running? Peace of mind comes in the form of text alerts and updates.

- GARMIN QUICKDRAWTM COMMUNITY: Download the latest 1’ HD contour maps shared by your fellow boaters, and sync with your chartplotter. You can also upload your own Quickdraw Contours map data.

- SMART NOTIFICATIONS: Connect the app to your chartplotter, and turn on smart notifications(4) to see calls, text messages and more on the chartplotter display while your phone is somewhere safe and dry.

1) OnDeck hub sold separately and requires an active subscription plan
2) Auto Guidance+ is for planning purposes only and does not replace safe navigation operations
3) NOAA raster cartography cannot be viewed on echoMAP™ CHIRP and ECHOMAP™ Plus combos but can be viewed on mobile devices via the ActiveCaptain mobile app
4) Helm feature is not compatible with ECHOMAP series chartplotters
5) Check device compatibility on the ActiveCaptain app web page; visit
Updated on
Jun 27, 2022

Data safety

Developers can show information here about how their app collects and uses your data. Learn more about data safety
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4.01K reviews
Jeff Peebles
May 18, 2022
I just wasted 8 hours of my life.... I have searched for a solution, but have found none yet. In short, activecaptain will not pair with my garmin942xs Plus. I can connect to the wifi, but the activecaptain page on the device will not go past the "connect to the wifi" page. There isn't a PC/desktop version that can do everything! I would much rather plan a route and manage waypoints from a keyboard instead of a tiny cell phone. Some may like it, but IMO this app blows.
22 people found this review helpful
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A Google user
August 9, 2019
It's OK. Seems finicky with version downloads. You have an update so you download it, it connects to device, then no update needed, then you disconnect and it says you have an update. So frustrating. I bought Garmin because I consider them more of a software company than any of the other brands. Had to reset the app on the phone for the download to take. Then it says I need to insert an activecaptain card (which I had inserted and was using all along), but it wouldn't recognize it. It wouldn't recognize the updated software version from the device until I inserted a card, which basically means I had to format and re-transfer my maps (over an hour). These loops of errors are SOOO frustrating. I'll give it 2 stars for at least not bricking my device and because it at least has a way to proceed, although extremely time consuming and frustrating. So after syncing and transferring the maps, it still doesn't recognize the newer software on the device. I guess I'll have to live with the app constantly telling me I have new software to download. Buggy and annoying. I was thinking about getting a Garmin watch, but no way after this. Fitbit isn't nearly as buggy.
30 people found this review helpful
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J. S. Patterson
June 23, 2021
This app is really easy to use. I've used it to update the software on my plotter and radar and to update the charts in both my plotters. The app is very intuitive and let's you know when updates are available. It also updates the information from Active Captain and transfers it to my primary plotter. Now I can see all the map icons with the latest data. Great for keeping you out of trouble.
28 people found this review helpful
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What's new

Bugfixes and performance improvements