We get a lot of questions. When you live on a boat full time with 2 kids, 2 pets, 2 fulltime jobs, and travel over 8,000 nautical miles in 2 years…people want to know ALL THE THINGS.
Without a doubt, the question I answer most frequently AND the answer I change most frequently involves our access to internet. However, I *think* we finally have our final answer: Starlink.
More specifically, Starlink Portability.
Since I’m neither techy nor friends with Elon Musk, I can only share our experience. There are a lot of things that worked. And a couple things that don’t. Overall, we’re extremely happy we went out on a limb and guinea-pigged the equipment. When updates roll out, we’ll keep up and make changes as we need to.
So first, here’s the basic information:
We installed our Starlink aboard our 45′ Cruisers MotorYacht. And when I say the words “install” what I mean is that we set it up. We haven’t actually drilled holes…yet. We started with the Starlink on our highest roof, per the directions. However since we didn’t have it screwed into the roof, we were paranoid it was going to fall off.
Based on the recommendation of another boater, we moved it to our bow. The service doesn’t seem to be affected or any different having changed the location.
For now, we have the Starlink stand zip-tied to our built in cup holders. It might be the most modern Beverly Hillbilly setup ever, but it’s working for us. We have our stand set on 4 interlocking floor tiles so it won’t scratch our fiberglass. They also allow water to drain and are non-slip.
So far, our Starlink setup withstood 60+MPH winds, a small tropical cyclone, a few big storms, and a Gulf crossing.
One important thing to note is the difference between Starlink and Starlink Portability.
Starlink costs $110 monthly. To activate the portability feature, allowing you to move locations, the monthly fee goes to $135.
For the first month we were based in 1 area. Although we moved our boat a few times, the Starlink coverage didn’t seem impacted. This could have partially been the timing since Starlink Portability just rolled out. Or it might be that we didn’t go far enough away from our “home” address.
Once we were about 30 miles away, we found it necessary to upgrade to Starlink Portability.
For us, this is not only a cost savings every month (even with Starlink Portability), but it also provides MUCH better and faster coverage than anything else we’ve ever used for internet
In the last few months we’ve put it through the ringer and tested quite a few different locations. Here’s our 2 cents reviews of the various situations:
In A City: Works perfectly. It’s much faster than marina wifi or any of our other internet options. The only interruption we’ve ever seen is during a storm. Extremely cloudy or rainy conditions tend to slow down our internet speed.
Remote Anchorages: No different than being in the marina. Great, high speed connection. Some very minor issues if you are swinging heavily on the hook.
On The Move: Starlink is not set-up to be used in motion yet, so you can place your satellite in Storage Mode while traveling.
In The Middle of the Ocean: Flawless. We were shocked. 70+ miles into our Gulf of Mexico crossing we ran a speed test. We recorded speeds between 145-176 Mbps. If you’re like me and have no idea what that means, google it. Or take my word for it, it was amazing. Especially for an area that we’ve never had connectivity. We were able to get live weather updates, stream live TV and check in with our family and friends. Thank you Elon and the Starlink team!
All In Cost of Starlink Portability
Remember those Mastercard commercials where they went through a series of prices for things and then ended with “priceless?” Well here it is:
Starlink Equipment: $691
Pivot Mount: $44.73 (This is what we’ll use when we permanently attach ours to the roof.)
Monthly Service: $110 or $135 (Portability +$25)
Uninterrupted coverage EVERYWHERE: Priceless
In all seriousness, Starlink Portability has been a game changer for our family in our nomadic lifestyle. In the past, we needed to be really careful when someone was on a work video call. We avoided doing other things that might “steal” or slow down the wifi signal.
With Starlink, all 4 of us can stream movies, or work online without any issue.
If you are on a boat or RV, I can’t recommend Starlink Portability enthusiastically enough. The ability to have great connectivity even in remote locations is worth its weight in gold!
Check out the official Starlink Portability website: HERE (Note, I am not an affiliate. Just a fan!)
Feel free to leave a comment with any questions and we will make sure to answer.
You might also enjoy reading:
The One Where We Decided To Live On A Boat
The One Where We Cross Our Wake
Sunsets and Chardonnay
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Wow! Totally awesome & what Paul’s been investigating. A couple questions. 1. Is there a monthly data limit? 2. It worked for the Crossing…do you think there is a limit to distance offshore?
For you two, it’s a MUST! You will be amazed and thrilled. No data limit. The major drawback right now is that you aren’t supposed to use it in motion. So we run on our cell data when we need internet underway. We stopped multiple times to test it in the Gulf and it had a strong signal every time. I don’t think it’s been approved in international waters yet, but I’ve seen some other boaters in the Bahamas using and loving it. So…there’s a little discrepancy between what it’s capable of, and what is technically allowed.
Love to hear this! I just ordered mine and can’t wait for Ben Stein to install it for us on our Mainship.. Although we are a few years from starting the loop we are so grateful for AGLCA and you for all the advise we can get!
I’m so glad- I think Starlink will be a huge help for Loopers. Even with multiple carriers, hot spots, air cards, etc. We STILL struggled with internet occasionally on the Loop. And we paid a fortune. Starlink Portability is a game changer! Hope to cross paths out on the water or at an AGLCA event. -Sarah