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Old 11-05-2010, 05:01   #1
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Working While Cruising

I am in the very beginning stages of planing a long cruise. We are thinking a year maybe two. One of the things that scares me is giving up my real job. I say real job because I have a few on-the-side jobs. That is kinda where my question is heading. Most of my on-the-side jobs are internet based. It does not bring in huge amounts of cash, but it really does have the potential to. My question is, while cruising, how many people use the internet as a means of making cash? Is internet access available in most allot of marina's?
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:36   #2
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Hi Kirk,

A meaningful answer needs some information about where you are planning to sail. Starting from you location in Ontario, going North though Baffin Bay, even marinas are short on the ground and wifi will be very hard to find. Heading South along the East coast, it gets better and better the further you travel. If you are starting from the Lakes then you'd have no problems till you were quite a bit South of the USA. Crossing the pond to Europe, once you arrived there would be no problems. If you only need email access rather than web browsing., a single side band radio (SSB) will allow you to send and receive mail very cheaply just about anywhere in the world. At the other end, satallite communications can allow full internet use, at great cost.

P.
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Old 11-05-2010, 21:07   #3
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You can get internet access offshore with Globalstar, Iridium and of course, the big Intelsat systems. Cost is the main factor. As you increase speed from kilbytes to mega or gigabytes the cost of the equipment and on air time escalates dramatically.
- - If you are in and around various islands there are usually good internet access via WiFi most everywhere there is a population. However a good external WiFi antenna that is amplified is necessary if you want to access while on your boat.
- - Another alternative is the "air card" system most telephone providers offer via their cell/mobile phone system. With an investment for a pcmia card for your lapbook/notebook computer and a subscription to the service you can get good internet access generally at all the islands that that particular telephone company services.
- - And lastly there are plenty of internet cafe's and access points ashore which for the price of a coffee or sometimes more you can get WiFi or LAN cable internet. The internet is everywhere now and access is not difficult, however sometimes the quality of the service sucks.
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Old 17-05-2010, 10:28   #4
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It depends where you cruise. Marinas in the US/Canada will generally have internet access, either free with dockage or pay by the day. There may also be an internet service within walking distance.

Offshore passages will mean either satellite data access (potentially very expensive) or doing without.

Third world locations are tougher, and more inconsistent. You may have intermittent connections, get locked out, or have it go down with no idea of when it'll be back up.

If you want to work from your boat, then I'd highly recommend a wifi booster and external antenna. It'll find more signals, connect more consistently, and may give you better speed than any air card or internal wifi antenna. I've got about $250 invested in mine and it works very well.

Your internet need and requirements are the biggest factor. Most of us who "sniff" the airwaves to find a connect don't spent lots of time online. I burst my data - download all emails and weather GRIBs, process offline, then burst responses up. I don't do much surfing as the speeds seem to be in direct relation to the number of users, the location, and the will of the marina/wifi location.

I'm planning on using the internet to upload photo's, blog entries, and articles for submission. I'm not planning on doing Netflix, downloading huge files, or following the stock market, though.
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Old 26-05-2010, 09:42   #5
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I'll echo "it depends". In the US, you will have nearly complete Internet coverage using a combination of high-gain wifi and an aircard (or cell phone with Internet connection sharing). There are wireless routers that support both and will automatically switch between using wifi or an aircard, depending on settings and availablility. (For example, it will use the free wifi until it's gone then switch over to the subscription aircard when it has to.) These can provide connectivity to everyone on your boat (or in range of your boat if you leave it unsecured, which you might do to be generous to your anchorage mates.)

Outside of the US, things get more difficult, but not impossible. If you're unable or unwilling to pay for connectivity, you will further limit yourself. If you move offshore, satellite is the only, and expensive, option. Keep in mind, however, that satellite does not offer global coverage. If you're going polar or, as I recall, to the middle of the Indian ocean, you'll be forced to take a vacation. (It has been a couple years since I've checked coverage maps.)

It also depends on what you do. Other posters have touched on this. If you need a constant, fast, and reliable connection, you will have difficulty. If your job requires video teleconferencing and (perhaps while) working in a virtual desktop session on a remote terminal and (perhaps while) downloading large files, you should probably stay wired. Otherwise, you will be frustrated with your throughput.

For what I do, I'm able to work independently on an offline PC and upload code changes when I get a connection. My process has been refined over years of land-based travel. That process includes a land-based "proxy" PC that runs automated tasks. When I'm connected, I access that PC and check on things, upload my changes, and synchronize files, then disconnect. If I don't have a connection for a few days at a time, there's no interruption to my productivity.
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Old 26-05-2010, 09:51   #6
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Worldwide (except USA) there is instant internet coverage by USB modem wherever there is cell phones. The SIM card is quickly and cheaply bought in every country we have been in

I write to you now via one!

I would never do banking on a pirated wireless service. I don't have much and therefore can't aford to lose it
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Old 26-05-2010, 21:15   #7
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. . . I would never do banking on a pirated wireless service. I don't have much and therefore can't aford to lose it
Actually that is not a problem - because free (or pirate-able) Wifi is pretty much a thing of the past. I haven't encountered any free Wifi available from shore for a couple of years now. Of course, there are still lots of "internet access" points in cafe's, restaurants, and malls but the signals do not reach beyond the confines of the establishment.
- - So an amplified external WiFi antenna USB system is pretty much a requirement if you want to access from on board your boat.
- - Access speed is a big factor these days as in most islands all the various "providers" of WiFi are all getting their access from the local telephone company. Speed and even being able to connect to the internet (not the Wifi server) drops to minimal and sometimes nothing as local kids get out of school and all log on swamping the telephone company's bandwidth.
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Old 30-05-2010, 23:00   #8
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You could always hack it. If you aren't morally opposed.
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Old 05-06-2010, 17:33   #9
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Most of my on-the-side jobs are internet based. It does not bring in huge amounts of cash, but it really does have the potential to.
What type of work do you do? I ask out of the interest of doing something similar. I have quite a bit of programming experience -- mostly engineering analysis related but have done some web development etc.

It would be nice to make a few bucks along the way....
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Old 10-06-2010, 23:11   #10
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Not related to your original question, but there are an enormous number of fed.gov jobs that allow for telework, usually after a couple of years of reporting to the agency's office.

The downside for cruisers is that the work has to be performed in the US. I haven't been able to find a straight answer as to whether work performed on a sovereign US flagged vessel in foreign or international waters qualifies. I'm reluctant to keep probing the issue for fear of receiving an answer I don't want to hear, if you know what I mean.
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Old 11-06-2010, 02:15   #11
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You could always hack it. If you aren't morally opposed.
How??
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:03   #12
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What type of work do you do? I ask out of the interest of doing something similar. I have quite a bit of programming experience -- mostly engineering analysis related but have done some web development etc.
Why dont you do freelance stuff via guru.com and getafreelancer etc.? I do freelance via internet, haven't stepped in an office in years.. Not getting rich or anything but pretty much continuously in holiday mode
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:19   #13
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Quote:
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You could always hack it. If you aren't morally opposed.
How??
Sorry, we don't allow discussions about how to steal WiFi services, software, etc., here.
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Old 15-06-2010, 03:07   #14
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Working while cruising solutions

With the current advancement in the area of technology,it is possible to work from remote location as well as while cruising.This is possible because of existing Satellite communication systems including voice and data communication via wireless mediums.Inmarsat,Iridium ,Thuraya and Stratos Global are some of the leading equipment and service provider in this field.One can also opt for local service providers for the same as they offer phone rental options also with complete set of equipments.
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Old 15-06-2010, 13:51   #15
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The worldwide explosion of communications networks has made it extremely easy and convenient to "be in touch" with anybody or any business. So working or investing using the internet is now "old hat" from almost any place on earth. In population areas connecting via local WiFi or cell phone "air card" technology or even hard wire(DSL) from marinas is so common that we cruisers now "bitch" about connection "speeds" not availability.
- - Offshore or totally "out there in the boonies" you can choose from LEO operations like Globalstar or Iridium; or high orbit Imarsat if you can afford the equipment.
- - I encounter more and more cruisers "working" doing everything from medical reference research - to investment banking/trading - to book writing/editing/publishing and consulting using their on board computers and connections to the internet. Going to an "office" building to work these days is rapidly become archaic - now it is "on-line" telecommunications and data transfers done from your "office" inside your boat. It is an amazing revolution of opportunity to both work and travel. Where a few years ago we would describe cruising as traveling while taking your home with you - now it is traveling while taking your home office with you. . .
- - Another one of the amazing simplifications is the advent of the Quad-band GSM cell phone. I have the Motorola Razr V3's and at each new island where we will spend more than a week or two we purchase a US$6 to $10 SIM card, slip it into the Razr V3 and the phone automatically locates the network and connects. Cheap, reliable phone service with no fuss or bother. Then there is SKYPE and other such services that include video calls, tele-conferencing, and file swapping for pennies. 10 or 15 years ago little, if any or these marvels existed.
- - Amazingly, myself and other cruisers I meet can't even conceive of how we managed communicating without these fabulous new technologies - they are considered the "ordinary/normal" way now.
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