Ways to stay connected on-line while onboard

Imagine yourself connected on-line, surfing the web, checking your emails, and chatting or making a video call to your friends and family. All of this you can do while you’re onboard the ship. It can either be through a wifi connection, a usb broadband connection, or a dial-up connection using your mobile phone.

Communication plays a role on modern shipping. “Marianne Schulte”, the first containership built and works at a regular service between the Caribbean and UK or Rotterdam adopted the FleetBroadband service of the Inmarsat. It provides the ship and crew the same standard of voice and data connectivity as they expect ashore. Great news for every seafarer but not all ship has this.

How to connect…

Let’s not compare all the ship with the same equipment as with “Marianne Schulte”, let’s just find our own way to connect on-line.

With the following tips you can connect on-line wherever port your ship arrives:

    • Buy a local simcard

By using the local simcard, you lessen the risk of having to pay a lot compared to using an international simcard. Attached the simcard on your mobile phone, activate your mobile phone Bluetooth to synchronize with your laptop. In short you will use your mobile phone as a dial-up connection to connect on-line. You can also install your mobile phone “PC suite” if you’re having difficulty with your Bluetooth connection.

    • Scout for a free Wi-Fi signal

Some ports generously share their Wi-Fi connection free. During our recent call at New York, the ship remained at anchor for a week awaiting availability of the tanker terminal. They have a free Wi-Fi connection, which we luckily caught and were able to connect to it.

You can also go to a seaman’s club and use this service. Most of the seaman’s club think of the seafarer’s welfare and they know our needs especially when it comes to communication.

    • Buy a local usb broadband connection

If your ship trades on the same ports always, I can advise that you buy a local usb broadband connection. You can connect on-line in a jiffy.

“A word of advice, keep your wireless connection on. You might luckily found a connection.”

Your resources.

The agent and pilots knows their country better than us. Ask them about this. Try to convince them to help you. I often ask them to help transport or buy for me some items that are difficult to buy. If you’re lucky and you talk to a kind agent or pilot, they’ll be willing to help you.

Be careful.

Most seafarers carry their own laptops onboard. Even the messboys have their own laptop. But few of them know the importance of installing antivirus software. Whenever you plan to connect on-line, make sure the virus definition of your antivirus software is updated. Otherwise your computer may suffer some of this virus attacks or even worse.


Being able to connect on-line while onboard can help relieve a little of your stress. You can communicate to your family through the internet or simply surf the net to pass the time. Try to learn as much as you can from your friends onboard for new and better ways to connect on-line. Other people may know a lot more about it, so share with us your thought, post your comments and be heard.

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