Locally-founded boating navigation app aims to help boaters during COVID-19

A view of the Thousand Islands through the Wavve app, with icons marking different points of interest. Submitted image.

As an avid boater of the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands himself, Adam Allore wanted to keep the community aspect of boating alive during the restrictions put in place during COVID-19.

According to Allore, the founder and CEO of Wavve, a mobile app that helps recreational boaters navigate through unknown water without a keen knowledge of nautical charts, “dock-talk” is an integral part of boating to ensure that recreational boaters know the conditions of the water, what places to avoid and more fun things like where to find the best swimming spots, and restaurants along the way. However, with the restrictions, people are not going to be engaging as much on the dock.

That is why he and the other app developers decided to take some time to design their app so that people could find the information they need without jeopardizing their safety.

“Two months ago we were evaluating how big of an impact this was going to be. We asked ourselves what we can do to, we think it is really going to help people share information this summer when they just can’t typically do it the same way they used to,” said Allore.

“That’s been one of the heavy pushes for us on the development side and evaluating what we can do to help with how the industry is changing.”

Wavve is a mobile app that Allore came up with while working for a dock himself throughout his young adult life, growing up in Gananoque and the Thousand Islands. He was noticing a lot of people renting boats that were not from the area and getting into sticky situations by not having a proper knowledge on how to navigate the waters.

“The Thousand Islands is an absolutely beautiful area, but it’s also very treacherous if you don’t know where you’re going,” said Allore. “It really highlights the need for that product.”

He also mentioned that he wanted to highlight all of the hidden gems that the geography of the area provides without having to use word of mouth.

The app is similar to Waze, a navigation app that users can add their own information into, such as if there are potholes on the road or speed cameras. Wavve has been in operation for two and half years and since then has picked up many subscribers and many major boating companies in the United States and Canada.

The new feature, that is being released next week, will offer users a way to add hidden gems, good beaches, nice places to swim, places to stop and restaurants along the way that would not necessarily be picked up by nautical mapping. Users can choose if they would like to keep it private, only share it with their friends or post it publicly so anyone can access the information from anywhere.

A view of Kingston through the Wavve boating app. Submitted image.

Allore says that he has already been finding more places along the St. Lawrence with the new feature, even though he has been boating there his whole life.

“It’s been really fun actually,” he said. “Here in the St. Lawrence River, I’ve used it to find a couple of different swimming holes before and a beach that I had never heard of.”

“I’ve spent over 30 years on the St. Lawrence River, so that’s been pretty exciting.”

As Kingston Marinas begin to open for the season, they are maintaining public health guidelines by increasing signage on how to social distance, increasing cleaning routines, closing amenities such as lobbying and laundry facilities, and are adjusting operations to maintain physical distancing.

The Wavve Boating app is available on Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded for $4.99/month or $19.50/ year.

Jemma Dooreleyers is a Kingstonian who is about to enter her fourth year at Ryerson School of Journalism. She has been a contributor for the Kingstonist in the past and is excited to be a full-time intern. She has written for a number of student publications such as the Ryersonian, Kaleidoscope, the Eyeopener, Her Campus and the White Wall Review. This year, she was the Arts Editor for Ryerson Folio, a general interest magazine. She is currently back in Kingston for the time being, social distancing with her mom, a dog, and two cats.

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