I suppose that most would consider our little family to be fairly computer literate. We have high speed internet on the boat which we access with 3 laptops and one Internet Tablet. We run a couple of personal blogs (WeLiveOnABoat.com, LifeAboard.ca) and two comercial sites (NeighboursAppliance.com, ScrapScene.com.) We use things like Skype (long distance phone calls) all the time, do our banking on-line and plan our days and lives with on-line tools such as Google Calendar and Remember the Milk. We use xDrive for our on-line backups.

I’ve been asked several times how get get internet on the boat. We have used 3 different internet suppliers here.

The marina where we are docked have a company that supplies wireless internet (for a fee) to the boaters in the bay. Their speeds are really good, especially the 2 meg uploads but their signal fades badly in various places around the marina including our winter slip here. I can use their access point in the front of the boat, but not in the back.

I also have an ‘air card’ that plugs into my laptop that I use primarily on the road at work. The speeds are Ok but not good enough for Skype – perfectly fine for basic surfing and email though. We use this connection when our other supplier is down.

Finally, our main internet supplier is a wireless modem unit called Rogers Portable Internet. The speeds are good to great for downloads but uploads can occasionally be a bit slow. It works good for Skype voice but can occasionally drag a bit on Skype video. We have it shared with a wireless router so that we can all be on the internet at the same time. (The Boy even has my old laptop which he uses to watch Bob the Builder, etc. videos on YouTube. He can pull his laptop out, turn it on and surf (via bookmarks) to his YouTube videos. He’s 3 yrs old…)

Others have expressed concerns about the moist environment on a boat being bad for computers. We have not experienced any problems with this while on board unless you count dropping a water bottle on one of the laptops shorting out the keyboard – oops. For the most part, laptops today seem to be fairly durable. The one I am writing on right now is 2 yrs old and travels with me in my service truck everyday. That means vibration, dust and constantly being slapped around and it is still working fine. Of course, tomorrow it will quit! I guess what I am saying is that we’ve have had good experiences with laptops on our boats.

"Boats and Computers" by was published on April 10th, 2008 and is listed in Boat Life, Uncategorized.

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Comments on "Boats and Computers": 2 Comments

  1. Gayle wrote,

    Now that marinas around the world are installing wireless Internet networks…

    Hi, I’m Gayle. I have 25 years of professional computer support (PC mainly), certified, and extremely experienced and professional (and friendly, too!). Now that marinas around the world are installing wireless Internet networks making it convenient for boaters to travel with a computer or laptop on board. Boaters can now work, exchange email, keep in touch with loved ones and plot courses from the comfort of their own boat. I often stay at Long Beach on a friend’s boat when I visit from New Mexico and he has wireless onboard so I take my laptop. *BUT*…

    [B]What happens when you need computer support[/B] and you are in a remote location like at the end of the pier 🙂 ? Gayle (that’s me) can work on your computer remotely no matter where you are in the world. It doesn’t matter how you connect to the Internet whether it is by Satellite, Cellular or Wireless Broadband.

    As long as you have a working Internet connection, Gayle can, with your permission, safely and securely troubleshoot your computer. She will see your computer as you see it, you can watch her use your keyboard, and move your cursor as they resolve your computer problems right over the Internet.

    Remote Computer Support means that there is an almost unlimited range of support and Gayle can follow you all over the world provided you have access to a working Internet connection.

    ramtech.com for more info and PASS ON THE WORD – this is the “new green tech” – a revolutionary “new” (sort of) way to reach out and support someone. or just call – 505-715-4100 (I’m in New Mexico, USA, by the way)

    FREE DEMO! I understand you may be skeptical – so, I’ll demo this method of computer support for free – again, just call for my help and remind me about this free demo offer (15 minutes or so).

  2. Michael and Katie wrote,

    We’re looking at satellite internet/TV and a couple of good laptops. Are we overshooting what’s needed?

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