Internet on the high seas: useful tips for skippers

The latest generation of cruise ships are equipped with the latest technology to navigate and guarantee travelers first-class internet access. In terms of that, the question arises as to how things are with sailing or motor yachts in this regard.

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Florida - Pleasure craft and sailing yachts in the Florida Keys


These ships offer almost limitless freedom. Individual skippers use the opportunity to completely disengage themselves from the day's events for a short time. You go offline for a few days. However, there are many good reasons to use the Internet on the high seas.

It is undisputed that Internet access makes life on the open sea easier in many ways. The “network” provides access to navigation information and helps to keep in touch with friends and family. Our guide provides information for those who want to know more.

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AQUIJO sailing yacht


There is no internet access without complex technical solutions

Staying on the high seas requires enormous technical effort in order to stay in touch with the land. The biggest problem is distance. To compensate for range, this issue requires larger, more complex satellites. Another difficulty is that smaller boats are constantly in motion and sway. The movements affect the reception quality. For this reason, satellite connections require a stable location. Elaborate, expensive technology compensates for this shortcoming. Functional internet access is essential to find marinas, fuel, groceries and basic services at all times on the go.

 

 

Internet on the boat: this is how it works

In the age of the Internet, skippers use satellite services. The service providers support the reception of messages and telephone calls and offer the option of surfing the Internet and receiving HDTV.

Effective and reliable internet access depends on how far the boats are from the coast. In order to guarantee access even under extreme conditions, individual manufacturers offer satellite dishes in connection with data tariffs, which are billed monthly, as is the case with land-based mobile phone or Internet contracts. Boat operators who want comprehensive coverage choose satellite technology because it guarantees reliable service on the open sea. The technology requires tailor-made and high-quality internet satellite systems. Their costs can quickly reach orders of magnitude of up to 40.000 euros. Boat owners who are not too far from the coast use signal amplifiers instead of expensive satellite dishes as a more cost-effective solution.

In the internet age, mobility is a priority at all times. Members of the liberal professions work from a boat and, as an addition, enjoy scenic locations. The hybrid workers swap the office for a yacht deck and, in addition to increasing productivity, also increase safety if they also use an VPN.

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QCTOPUS yacht


Connectivity options at sea and the associated costs

Land based WiFi

If you are sailing around close to the land, you can use the marina WiFi as the cheapest option for internet access after mooring. In some cases, free internet access is offered. At peak times, when there are many boats in the harbor, it is often difficult to establish a stable connection below deck. In such cases, a WiFi booster improves the connection. One example of this technology is Digital Yacht's WL510 WiFi Access System. The device is connected to the Ethernet port of a laptop. The reception radius is up to 1,5 kilometers; a perfect solution to reinforce weak links in marinas.

 

 

mobile data

Network providers guarantee that the smartphone can be used as a hotspot. In this way, the mobile internet connection is used as a WiFi hub for other devices on board. This inexpensive option only works in cases where the mobile phone is close to the shore within range of a cell tower.

In addition, there are devices that help to amplify the reception of a weak 4G signal. Many providers use antennas that are far more powerful than those of a cell phone. When using this technology, an existing 4G signal is amplified many times over.

Data usage costs

As is known, increased data usage leads to higher monthly costs. In addition, accounts with supposedly unlimited data usage and "limited upper limits" for data usage on long trips create financial complications. Most "unlimited" cellular phone plans limit the data rate as soon as the upper limits are reached. The subsequent restrictions cause a delay in the reception and transmission quality, with the consequence that video streaming and zoom calls are no longer possible in practice.

Summary

Internet access on the high seas and in ports is a basic requirement for shipping. Before the first exit, the need for hardware and software must therefore be precisely clarified and tailored to personal needs.

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