Sailing Kittiwake - Getting internet at sea

How much time do you spend online each week? Four hours? Maybe five?

Chances are, probably more. A lot more in fact.

The average UK adult now spends the equivalent of an entire DAY every week online.

It’s hard to imagine then, a life where getting online isn’t so easy. Where the answer to any question cannot be reached via the quick click of a button, or where we cannot connect with friends, family or colleagues across the globe in an instant.

This is often, however, the case for cruisers.

Elena and Ryan live aboard Kittiwake, so getting online is a little more challenging. But enjoying blissful isolation from the outside world is not an option when most work nowadays involves a wi-fi connection. They both need the internet to check their emails, upload heavy files and ultimately, make a living. So you could say a reliable internet connection is pretty important!

Luckily for them, in the modern world there are plenty of ways to stay online, even if all that surrounds you is blue. In this video, Elena discusses some of these options. So don’t panic if you want to set sail, you'll still be able to capture every moment on Instagram...



4G Connection

Elena and Ryan usually use 4G connection on their mobile phones and create hotspots for their laptops so that they can work. This works most of the time for the couple, and its rare that the connection doesn’t reach Anchorages and even locations around 5-10 miles offshore. Elena mentions the importance of making sure you have a good contract set up which works all across Europe (or wherever you are sailing!). This is their favoured way of getting online.

Wi-Fi in bars or cafes

Another method is to step ashore and use the wi-fi in a bar or a café. However, this can amount to quite a lot of money so is not desirable if on a frugal budget. 

Marina Wi-Fi

Many marinas offer wi-fi which can be a good way of getting online. Although, many visitors’ berths are often quite far from the marina office which can seriously affect the quality of the connection (and leave you feeling quite frustrated!)

Wi-Fi boosters

A lot of people opt for a wi-fi booster, which can be used in marinas and anchorages. This means you can connect to an existing wi-fi, and the range of that wi-fi will be amplified by the booster. This allows you to connect from a greater distance. This method can take a little more investment and effort, however, as you will probably have to go to the marina or bar and retrieve the password for the first time.

4G Antenna

This can be mounted somewhere high on the sailboat, for example the mast or on the top of a frame at the back. This extends the 4G range of 4G networks, so you can put in a regular mobile SIM card and the signal this can get will be extended up to 20 miles from shore.


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Published on 8th October 2018 in Sailing

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