I own a boat. Spending time on the sea for several days is tremendously enjoyable. Everyone would agree that when you are out in the ocean, you miss the internet. There’s no cellular network when you are out in the middle of the sea. But there is a way to get internet in the boats or ships — satellite internet.
If you haven’t used the satellite internet, let me tell you this — it is frustratingly slow, and unreliable. Have you ever used the WiFi on Airplane or Cruise ships? It is slow and expensive. You will get the same experience if you use satellite internet.
At the start, it always felt like satellite internet from other companies would be faster than my current internet service provider (ISP). After testing several companies’ internet, I concluded that all of them are unsatisfactory. Then I checked the Starlink internet. I was blown away by its ease of installation and speed. From my experience, I can say that Starlink internet is the best internet for Boats or ships.
Starlink is Faster than Traditional Internet.
The only way we can get the internet on our boat or ship is by satellite internet. There is numerous satellite internet provider. But we found that none of these traditional satellite internet providers is good enough for reliable internet. There are several reasons for their slow and unreliable internet service.
Most of these traditional satellite internet companies use geostationary satellite, which is located at 35,000 km altitude above earth. Due to this enormous distance from the earth’s surface, the internet signal takes significant time to reach the receiver dish from the satellite, known as latency. The higher the latency, the slower the internet.
On the other hand, Starlink satellites are at an altitude of 330 km to 550 km. At almost 100 times lower altitude than geostationary satellites. So, Starlink internet is nearly 100 times faster than conventional satellite internets such as Viasat or HughesNet.
Starlink is Reliable.
There are several reasons why Starlink’s internet is reliable. One of the main reasons is that SpaceX has put thousands of Starlink satellites in the low earth orbit. Due to this enormous number of satellites, Starlink can provide higher bandwidth than conventional satellite internet, where they provide the internet with a handful of geostationary satellites.
Riding a car and sailing a boat is not the same thing. First-time boat riders get seasick quickly. It’s because the boat rocks a lot. Though car sickness exists, that is rare and not that severe as seasickness. I’m making a point here. The boat rocks on the sea, and it makes people sick. If we place a satellite internet receiver on top of our boat, the receiver struggles to keep a good connection with the satellite because the receiver is moving a lot.
There are several solutions to stabilize the boat or ship on the sea and keep stable internet connectivity. One solution is to use a boat gyroscope to stabilize a boat. Another one is to use a gyroscope table. However, the gyroscope does not stabilize the boat 100%.
Starlink uses phased array antenna whereas traditional satellite internet company uses a directional antenna. Because of this phased array antenna, Starlink can keep the internet connectivity even if your boat rocks a little.
I always thought that if the satellite ISPs provided us with a satellite dish with a built-in motor, it could be enormously beneficial. The dish could automatically rotate for optimal satellite connectivity. Unfortunately, no one provided this feature.
Fortunately, when Starlink came out, I found that the Starlink receiver dish not only comes with a built-in motor but also has a GPS. After installation, depending on your location and position of Starlink satellite, the receiver rotates for optimal internet connectivity. So, the Starlink dish is the best for receiving stable internet connectivity.
The installation of Starlink on our boat was straightforward. I first installed the mounting bracket on the boat and then fastened the Starlink dish to it. Then I connected the router and cables and activated my device through the Starlink website. That’s it.
One note, if your boat does not have a 120V outlet, then you need to buy a 12V to 120V adapter (minimum 300W) to power the Starlink.
Recently, I found a friend of mine who is using a gyro-stabilized Starlink mounting hardware. It was amazing to see how it worked flawlessly. If you are not satisfied with your setup, I suggest you buy a third party gyro-stabilized mounting hardware.
Suitable For Full-Time Boating.
Many of my friends are YouTubers. However, they can’t do any of their YouTubing work while at sea. They record all their videos and comes back after a few weeks. Then they upload those videos from home. HughesNet, Viasat, or other satellite internet is terrible for upload speed and not suitable to upload high definition videos to YouTube. Also, there are a lot of people who want to live and work on a boat. The only thing that prevents them from accomplishing this goal is a good internet connection.
If you install a Starlink dish on your boat, it will solve internet connectivity issues, and it will enable you to travel full time in a boat and earn a living.
No More Crappy GPS.
After buying my boat, the first thing I bought is a GPS unit. I purchased a very expensive Garmin GPS. But I was disappointed by the software and hardware, which was laggy and frustratingly slow. I tried to find an alternative brand with excellent performance, but there was none.
However, After switching to Starlink, I am currently only using google maps. It has made my sailing a lot of fun lately.
Entertainment at Sea.
Until I switched to Starlink, entertainment in the form of Netflix or Hulu steaming was impossible at sea. Geostationary satellite internet is terrible at streaming videos without buffering. Now, I can stream all my favorite shows while I’m at sea. It makes sailing even more enjoyable.
No More Satellite Phone.
While at sea, for emergency purposes, I always used to carry a satellite phone. But now, I don’t. Starlink internet is so reliable that I don’t need to worry about internet disconnection.
Cons of Starlink Internet on a Boat.
Not everything with Starlink is rosy. It has some disadvantages too. However, these cons are common to all satellite internet ISPs. Satellite internet performs poorly on a cloudy day or when it is raining. Even after boat gyro stabilization and Starlink dish motor rotation, Starlink performs poorly under the circumstances mentioned above.
Starlink is not portable at all. Once we install the Starlink dish on our boat, we have to pay a monthly payment regardless of usage. If you are like me who goes boating once in a while in a month or two, then it seems that it is a waste of money because we can’t take the Starlink dish easily to our home while we are not sailing in the sea. If it was portable, we could use the same Starlink dish both in our home and in the boat and save a lot of money.
Though Starlink internet has some problems, the benefit of Starlink internet outweighs the cons. Moreover, there is no better alternative to Starlink. So, until then, I highly recommend buying SpaceX’s Starlink internet for your boat. I guarantee you will be satisfied as I am.