Prototype for a sailing navigation app
Product Designer

Prototype for a sailing navigation app

I had a pleasant surprise when I stumbled on this prototype, laying there in my Figma drafts. I had not looked at it in two years but upon clicking around, it still felt relevant as a navigation app for today’s weekender on the water.
As this was practically a "barn find" type of project. I decided to keep it as-is to preserve its pre-pandemic flair. (And yes, I do cringe when I look back at it.)

Design problem

Most seafaring vessels are required to use an automatic identification system (AIS)—an automatic tracking system—broadcasting certain information (size, tonnage, etc).

Combined with navigation charts, captains & skippers will refer to AIS data to inform their decision with respect to navigating certain waters. The former provides information related to currents, depth, and the location of potential hazards, while the latter helps assess if surrounding vessels are on a collision course.

Oftentimes, both AIS data & navigation charts are one of the many views that the onboard display offers. Furthermore, they're complex nature comes at the cost overloading the user with information and requiring multiple clicks and scrolls to get the relevant data to answer a simple question. For example, whether a barge three miles away is on their collision course or not.

Example of AIS devices & chart plotters used on boats.

This makes it difficult for a skipper to keep an eye on both the real world data, AIS & charts… all while entertaining a conversation with guests onboard.


To remedy the situation, I began envisioning a simple app (iOS & WatchOS) that could notify the skipper of incoming hazards based on their vessel’s heading & speed.

While a watch dog sounds too presumptuous for such a simple app, I chose to name this concept Canary.

I had totally forgotten about this prototype until I started browsing my figma files for contenders for this portfolio.

I resisted the urge to make edits and kept it as-is. A true original from a pre-pandemic era!

For a better experience, give it a shot in full screen!
For a better experience, give it a shot in full screen!