Merchant shipping software idea?

Hi everyone, I’m a software engineer looking to build something.

For those of you with experience in merchant shipping, what could make your job 5x easier or make a cost 5x cheaper?


My job would become much easier and more enjoyable if I were paid 5x more than I am now.

Is there an app for that?


A replacement for Waypoint for Windows would be nice


Why would you want anything like waypoint for windows now that you have ECDIS, and similar cheap software for tablets, phones, and computers.

I still send AMVER reports, noon reports, need to demonstrate active passage plans for port state / auditors. Maybe the next ship will have a modernized / networked ECDIS but right now it’s fairly bare bones. Waypoint did this seamlessly and a modern voyage planning alternative would be nice.


An app that notifies you of all the required paperwork by geolocation. (In Port you have this this and this… Offshore, this this this… Going into Port x? You need this this and this.)

Essentially, what the books tell you but instead you get a push notification…

Might be a bad idea… Who knows


A member of MMP recently created this tutorial YouTube video. Found it on bridge

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The navigation data at the waypoint layer is in convenient format to manipulate for various other uses.

It’s useful to be able to Calculate ETAs, DTG, speed required and so forth independent of the bridge. The waypoints can easily entered into an stand-alone GPS for back-up. The printed out waypoint list posted on the bridge is the “official” route so to speak, that which everything else is checked against.

Also unlike the ECDIS all the routes for the last 20 years are safely stored in my possession in easy to search format. It’s far quicker to start with an old route than create one from scratch.

I did set up my office computer to use WP on windows 10 but it’s not the ideal solution.

This thread will give an idea what a PIA it is to try to use waypoint info from the ECDIS Transas route export/imports?

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Wow, you guys are going to a lot of trouble to be able to use an obsolete program or two. All the functions available in Waypoint can be done in any basic navigation software including OpenCPN, correct? I can’t imagine why you would need to keep software written in the 1990’s and last updated prior to 2014 around.

Although I will admit that I have never used Waypoint for windows or Skymate, so maybe I’m missing something?

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Basically Waypoint works like a spreadsheet with the waypoints. There is no charting function at all.

It was designed specifically for deep-sea, it generates a noon report in the exact format used on ships as well as AMVER reports. Also for example it has a function to generate a “slow-down” point for use with a low-speed diesel. Not that complicated a task but handy and quick on WP. A range of speeds can be entered and it would calculate the range of ETAs. It handled time zones well, etc.

Also, as was mentioned the WP would generate a legal document that had a place for the navigator and captain to sign and it served as the key element of the official required voyage plan.

A TRASAS ECDIS can also create various reports but none that had the right combination of features.

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The software that I would have coveted when I was deep sea would have been one that prepared port papers. You entered the port and using the latest information plus certificates crew details etc printed out the port entry papers. Enter a port say Chennai, make sure the printer tray was full of paper and push a button and you had 80 pages only requiring your signature and stamp. Nigeria would be a challenge to keep up to date.

This right here is why we all hang tight onto Waypoint… I could give a rats ass whether it’s flashy, or runs on my iPad… on a deep sea ship we have very specific needs, if it’s old and ugly and it meets that need without bells and whistles that suck up computing power on the cheap pieces of crap computers the companies install, then it’s perfect! If Promar would recode it for 64 bit (or even 32 bit) platforms, they’d have a LOT of happy Captains out there.

I have the second mate email the waypoint file as an attachement. I keep them in outlook in a "waypoint " folder. When I need an ETA or distance or whatever I double click on the file and Waypoint opens and just enter the departure time or what ever. At sea I almost always had it running and update straight off the GPS in my office.

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You get some strange Captains who still want compass errors and celestial navigation sights calculated manually when you have programs that can do the calculations much faster, it’s bizarre. To some people it seems to be like a dick measuring contest in terms of who can do the calculations manually the fastest.

I suppose that many of those captains had the same experience as myself in that we were barred from using calculators in the exams. I had a calculator that over 45 years ago that could calculate azimuths and sights but most of us still used 7 figure log tables to improve our accuracy and speed. The ocean navigation exam required speed to complete the questions. The chart work exam that I sat for mates was a combination of a cryptic crossword and a deep examination of geometric principles far removed from everyday navigation. Four of us passed out of 15. One of those that passed redid one question. Our instructors were amazed that he had managed it in the time available.
I have nothing against juniors using what ever technology they wish as long as they achieve a satisfactory standard of accuracy. The schools now teach first an understanding of the principles and the exams allow non programable calculators or calculators where the memory has been wiped.

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Was lucky to have a ww2 vet on convoys teach our class regarding celestial nav. He developed a program that made a big difference and was legit to pass the exam with our dinky calculators back then. Used his own sextant from way back when to demonstrate what he was teaching, Wish I could remember his name. What an effing prince.

There are books and tables that let you calculate them a lot faster too but the academies only teach us the hard way of doing it.

Maybe it’s because schools teach us math the hard way. Ever see a Chinese sailor do celestial? Some of the can do it in their head… and it’s not because they are any smarter. It’s because they were taught different.


Clarence Holm…?

JD, that may very well be his name. Took the class in Florida. Clarence rings a very distant bell. A frigging wizard and a gentleman to boot. Also strategically paired us up to help each other throughout the course. Most of my pals that attended his classes are not with us anymore, but all enjoyed his style and professionalism. He made what could have been a tough program easier and actually fun when the light bulb came on. He smiled as much as us that we were getting through his course. That oceans/celestial endorsement really helped my paycheck back then.

Thx JD for bringing a smile to my face , If I can remember to ask a few of my pals that are still with us that took that course what that gentlemans name was. I think you are correct.