Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-03-2007, 11:43   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 8
Internet / Email Onboard

How does everyone keep in contact via e-mail/internet onboard while traveling? Is it very costly?

SailGal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2007, 12:54   #2
Registered User
Captain Mark's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Boat: 1977 O'Day 27 - Tesoro
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by SailGal
How does everyone keep in contact via e-mail/internet onboard while traveling? Is it very costly?
SailGal, see this thread from earlier, it should present you with the answers you are looking for. sat phones

I always used SSB and a Proctor Modem and SailMail. However, with the price of sat phones coming down and the ability to take them off boat when needed it has become a very interesting option.


"Attitude: The difference between a problem and an adventure!"
Captain Mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2007, 13:00   #3
Senior Cruiser
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,070
The SSCA forum, Communications subject, also has a lot of information on email and communications.

SSCA Discussion Board :: Index

The Blue Dot Campaign. This Changes Everything.
DeepFrz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2007, 18:37   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Out at sea the cheapest solution is Sailmail using SSB Radio. It's text only plus you can download GRB weather info and it does have some limits but at $250 / year it's the cheapest you'll find. Sat phones would be the easiest to use but at a considerable cost increase. If you expect to use sat phone it's a good idea to pre buy blocks of minutes. I really see nothing to indicate sat phone prices will drop much.

What I have seen other friends do is just use marina broadband and use Skype phones. I talked to my buddy Max in the Azores just yesterday. Broadband is getting more common in a lot more places than you might think. If you can just touch base in poerts you'll find a lot of Internet options ashore.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2007, 22:46   #5
Registered User

Join Date: May 2003
Location: East Coast & Other Forums!
Posts: 913
Paul...with the cost of a pactor & hookup at over $1k and the $250 annual fee for 10 minutes of TEXT only attachment e-mail a day...I don't consider Sailmail a cheap alternative to sat phones because it is so limited. I had it and would NOT get it again even though it works quite well. (Its a whole lot MORE expensive if you don't even have the SSB...but anywhere south of the Bahamas I don't think that is a good decision! )
GlobalStar WAS an excellent solution since you can get a phone for less than a pactor, the rates were only 25 cents a minute or so in bulk and you got 9600 bps throughput but they are on the ropes and having reception problems so can't recommend them in good conscience until those problems are solved.
So...that leaves Iridium..reliable almost everywhere on earth. An added emergency backup that will let you talk to someone from your liferaft...and a reliable if expensive way to get e-mail and attachments and (even web pages...though quite slowly ).
If I were outfitting today I would go the Iridium route along with a good wifi antenna for the boat to pick up the occasional "free" signal or subscribe to the local wifi service if I was going to be anywhere for a while. Or just carry the laptop into the local internet in the "old" days! <g>
camaraderie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2007, 05:56   #6
Registered User
Sunspot Baby's Avatar

Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Bern, NC
Boat: Prout Manta 38' Catamaran - Sunspot Baby
Posts: 1,521
Images: 14
I don't know your cruising plans, but more and more remote places are getting internet/Wi-Fi. If you don't need to check in everyday and will be stopping at settlements every week or two, you may be able to keep up without anything special on the boat.

A lower hassle method of emailing (not internet browsing) is Skymate. Check them at We have used it for 3 cruises and are happy with it. Much easier than a Pactor modem and SSB or Ham.

She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger
Sunspot Baby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2007, 08:48   #7
Senior Cruiser
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Those SkyMates use the Orbcomm constellation, which is a company I used to work for. Those birds are essentially big repeaters sitting in the sky. You send a message to one, and then it relays that message around to other birds, eventually contacting a ground earth station (Virginia, I think).

That's why you can't do anything "live" with Orbcomm; it doesn't hold open connections. Totally asyncronous. Most people in the satelite community don't even consider it a "real" network because it doesn't distribute tasks at all; it's just a series of repeaters and routers.

As far as me personally, I'm cool with no email for long periods. I work in the software industry, so I eat sleep and breathe technology. That being said, having email on the boat is a pain in the butt and requires a lot of money that could be used by other stuff.

If I need to work remotely, I'll find a marina that has DSL and camp out there for a few months while working on a project.

There's very little business value I could get out of even the best satelite systems. They're extremely expensive, and to really do business you need a good connection, and a good phone number too.

I suppose you can use it for personal use, but I don't need to drop two grand so I can update my blog a week earlier than when I pull into port.
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2007, 09:12   #8
Senior Cruiser
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Although I have to admit, 20,000 characters for $34.99/month (plus the $1,200 unit) seems like a pretty good deal, especially considering that you have near global coverage.
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2011, 20:03   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2
Re: Internet/e-mail onboard

SailGal, Trying to find a way to ask you some questions about Boston to Saint John, planning a delivery in Oct or November, thinking of going via bermuda. Thought you might have some helpful info.
captainjwlee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 17:00   #10
Registered User
Cats Eye's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Cruising the East Coast (for now)
Boat: FP Athena 38
Posts: 119
Re: Internet / Email Onboard

We used a Sprint connection called MiFi - it worked in USVI/BVI/Bahamas/US. We can hook up 5 computers to the network. The lil credit card looking thig that puts out the signal was free and we pay $60 a month for unlimited use and free roaming. The downside is the connection is like our Sprint cell phones. If we do not get a signal we can not get internet. It works all over the US and the USVI (we lived there) but in the Bahamas it was in and out.
We also got the SPOT device so we could just "check-in" with people so they knew we where OK when we where sailing around the DR.

P.S a lot of places out internet was not working there where plenty of bar/marinas that offered it for free!!
Kirsten & Dave
S/V Cat's Eye
Cats Eye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 19:34   #11
Marine Service Provider
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,617
Re: Internet / Email Onboard

Considering that the OP was 4 years ago and hasn't posted since, it might be hard to make contact. Maybe a new thread with specific questions might get you some answers. Chuck

Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Internet Onboard BB TGD Marine Electronics 4 02-09-2011 12:15
Take the Internet Cruising with You janders Product or Service Reviews & Evaluations 7 04-08-2011 16:18
Best SatPhone Email System ? Revelations Marine Electronics 1 23-07-2011 15:58
Onboard Compressor for Painting, Diving, and Pneumatic Tools . . . ActiveCaptain Auxiliary Equipment & Dinghy 7 13-06-2011 15:49
Email Mix-Up Mylady Forum Tech Support & Site Help 1 04-06-2011 06:29

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 18:19.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.