While I haven’t seen any official statistics yet, I’m fairly certain the integration of mapping and GPS functions into tablets has likely made a dent into the sale of traditional chartplotters and marine GPS units. Today we look at Apple iPad marine mount options for your vessel.
An important decision that needs to be finalized before selecting your Apple iPad marine mount is where you wish to place the tablet. There are mounts for almost anywhere. You probably want to keep your Apple iPad somewhere sheltered to keep it dry. While the mounts might be waterproof, the Apple iPad is not, so you will want to keep it dry. The boat helm is a popular place and so is the console (or anywhere flat within a sheltered area of your boat).
You should also measure your Apple iPad. A lot of people use a case for protecting the device and we recommend doing that as well. Also, not all Apple iPads are made the same, you may have an Apple iPad Pro, Apple iPad Air, Apple iPad Mini or a traditional Apple iPad. Most of the mounts we will discuss fit all of these and utilize a universal expandable cradle so regardless if a case or skin is in use, the mount should fit your tablet just fine.
It’s important that a mount that’s sufficiently rugged be deployed. There are a lot of mounts available for tablets. Not all are suitable for a boat. Your vessel will navigate some rough waters. A mount that grasps your tablet tightly and will not fall off is important. So gauge your needs. If planning to sail in rough waters, go with a metal bolt down mount. If you are on small lakes or rivers, a lighter duty mount might be sufficient Not surprisingly, the more rugged a mount, the more expensive it will be.
The Arkon Boat Helm Tablet Mount with Universal Tablet Cradle makes for an excellent Apple iPad marine mount and fits all sizes up to the Apple iPad Pro. The mount attaches to a boat helm that has a diameter up to 1.25 inches. The cradle is expandable for eight different sizes of support legs. Depending upon the size of your tablet, you will select the best combination of legs to hold your tablet firmly. The tablet can swivel into landscape or portrait mode. The mount requires a screwdriver to attach to the helm.
Bolting a mount to a flat surface is the most secure way to attach a mount. The Arkon Heavy Duty Flat Surface Mount for Tablets uses the same cradle we just discussed combined with a metal bolt-down mounting base with 10″ arm. The mount pivots at the base and tip with a ball and socket design. The cradle itself will rotate into landscape or portrait mode. A screwdriver and some bolts are needed to install. This is a permanent install and you will drill some holes in your console for mounting so be sure to measure carefully before installing.
I also like a variety of clamp mounts as an Apple iPad marine mount option. The Arkon Heavy Duty Table Desk Tablet Clamp Mount has been recommended several times on this site for other purposes that range from wheelchair to bedside use. These also work real well on a boat. The mount includes a heavy duty base with a metal clamp that opens to 2.25 inches. There is a 12″ flexible arm that is extremely useful in the ability to be bent towards whatever viewing angle that is required at the time. The cradle is the same as the other two mounts and fits tablets as small as an Apple iPad Mini to the larger Apple iPad Pro.
These three mounts all include an expandable cradle that fits all the Apple iPad models. There are a variety of different size arms and you will use a combination based upon the size of your tablet and if you are using a case or not. The mounts are well made and all come with a 2-year warranty administered by the manufacturer.