Although we live in an increasingly connected world with Wi-Fi and cellular data always around us, that is mostly on land. The way Wi-Fi and cellular data is set-up is via land towers that distribute signals over an area which then communicate with devices that can respond to them. The responses come in things such as texts, calls, and internet browsing. The problem is that land based towers do not exist at sea, obviously.

So then, how do you get Wi-Fi on your boat? It essentially breaks down into two categories. 1. While docked and 2. While out to sea. Although number one is important, it is number two that we seek to answer here.

Internet While Docked

Again, this is the easiest option. If you have a cellphone signal then you are most likely able to still get internet since you are still close to land based towers. Moreover, you will most likely find a free guest Wi-Fi if you are at a resort or marina. But, what if you want your own secure network?

Mi-fi Wireless Router

What is a Mi-Fi wireless router? It is similar to a cell phone in that it has a SIM card and can transmit and receive data (except it cannot make phone calls). You can get these from various providers. But, one of our favorites is the Verizon Mi-fi router. Ryan uses an unlimited one that because of the contract can never become limited. We pay a monthly fee and Ryan is able to use the router to get on the internet from his TV, computer, or cell-phone, as long as he is in Verizon’s network. The downside is that without an antenna, you may be prone to weak signal strength since the signal is close to the water line.

Wi-Fi Booster Antenna

This item is useful when you already have the potential for Wi-fi. Essentially, it stretches and increases the strength of your Wi-fi signal. Typically, you attach the antenna to a high point on your boat, which then plugs into your computer with an ethernet cable. Although, there are options that connect to a hub which then creates a hot spot on the boat, meaning multiple devices can connect!

Satellite 

If you want to get internet while truly out at sea, this is the option you need, although, costs absolutely skyrocket with this option. There are a few options when it comes to satellite, and you’ll certainly want to dig deeper to figure out what’s best for you and your boating style. Costs here are associated with the equipment required to set-up and prepare the boat, as well as monthly fees and service charges. This option is truly only for those willing to drop a hefty premium on set-up and are prepared to pay monthly fee around that of a car payment

One solution we found was DISHformyRV which allows you to use their satellite service only while you use it, which is good for seasonal boaters! They use technology from KVH, a company that contracts out with DirectTV and DISH.

As always, there are numerous considerations for every individual situation, like if you’ll be using internet mostly for emails, or TV and movies.

If you need more information, please do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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