For so many years, we’re used to thinking that whenever we’re at sea, it’s impossible to stay connected to people that are miles away from us without radio communication. But with the continuously evolving technology, many sailors have been using the internet in boats and ships without hassle. That raises the question, how?
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of remote workers around the world, including the people who love sailing. Now, they want to live the dream of enjoying the beautiful seas and traveling while still being able to deliver their responsibilities at work. This growing trend has increased the demand for high-speed internet for boats, whether it’s by connecting to the local marina’s Wi-Fi or a very own boat satellite internet.
In this article, we’ll provide you with options to get high speed internet for your yacht. Let’s start!
How Boat Satellite Internet Works
The internet operates differently on boats and yachts, and its performance varies depending on the boat’s distance from shore. Satellite service is currently one of the most accessible internet options on boats, enabling connectivity for messaging, phone calls, internet browsing, and even streaming. Existing equipment has been modified to function aboard moving vessels, and individuals who are willing to pay can discover a variety of ways to remain connected online.
Various manufacturers offer satellite dishes that include both the equipment and a data plan billed monthly, similar to a cell phone or home broadband subscription. Although signal boosters are available to individuals who do not travel too far from shore, these devices have their limitations. If boaters want the most extensive coverage, they must opt for satellite internet. It is the only method to receive reliable service when out at sea.
Internet Options for Your Yacht
Numerous mobile carriers let you use your smartphone as a hotspot, allowing you to share your cellular internet connection with other onboard gadgets. However, this will only function if you are within range of a cell tower, but it is a cost-effective solution for people staying reasonably close to shore.
If you’re going for this option, you have to understand that one service provider may not be enough, especially since most mobile carriers have their own bad areas or spots. That said, one solution would be having one or two mobile backup services, although that would mean you have to pay for two to three cellular plans. It’s not the cheapest decision, but it will help you get by if you’re willing to pay.
Connecting to the WiFi supplied by the marina, harbor, or port where you are docked is the least expensive way to access WiFi on a boat when you are docked fairly close to shore. In certain situations, this may even be free. However, during peak hours it may be difficult to establish a reliable connection, especially below deck. In this situation, a WiFi signal booster may improve your connection. Most WiFi signal repeaters or boosters for boats cost around $50 to $300.
Broadband Global Area Network, or BGAN for short, is an excellent option if purchasing a satellite dish is out of the equation. This device resembles a notebook or laptop that essentially establishes a mobile hotspot on your boat. This service is provided by a commercial corporation that runs multiple satellites connected to numerous terminals. They may connect through WiFi, Ethernet, USB, or Bluetooth, but GPS and a clear view of the sky are essential.
Fixed Satellite Systems
If you need to stay connected while traveling far, your only alternative is to purchase a satellite dish. However, these will bring you additional expenses, ranging from $3,000 to $50,000. In addition to the price of the satellite dish, you will pay a significantly higher rate per megabyte of data—usually $0.50 per MB, implying that 4GB of data will cost almost $2,000.
There are low-tier plans for basic users that begin at around $50 per month, and there are plans that cost up to $1,000 per month or more, depending on the amount of data required. Those requiring enough bandwidth and connectivity for several users would have a monthly cost of up to $2,500.00. Furthermore, if you purchase a satellite dish, you also need compression software to limit the amount of data used by emails and other downloads.
It is worth investing in fixed satellite systems if you’re looking for the most reliable internet connection at sea. Because of this, you can go anywhere you like while staying connected online, which is excellent if you’re a remote worker or someone who wants to remain connected at all times.
You have several options in having high speed internet on your yacht or boat. It’s just a matter of how much you’re willing to spend and how much you need the connection. All in all, the latest technology has opened many opportunities for sailors and other sea travelers that want to stay online.