Satcom for the sailor

Ocean Navigator|July/August 2020

Satcom for the sailor
When long-range cruising, it’s nice to get away from it all — but some of us still must remain connected. We are spoiled on land with Internet access at speeds of 300 Mbps for prices as low as $50 a month. The same speed at sea may cost you $50,000. Therein lies the challenge: How can we surf the Internet at sea without blowing the entire communications budget?

The fishing and shipping industries use VSAT broadband services today, but these systems start at $25,000, may run $1,000 or more for airtime, and are too large for most users. Future services sound fantastic — like SpaceX’s Starlink or Amazon’s Project Kuiper — but are not ready for prime time yet. This means your best option is still L-band services from Iridium or Inmarsat.


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July/August 2020