Live Aboard Tips

A number of the items here will be to provide solutions to certain reoccuring problems people living on board have. A lot of these will be along the lines of particular items that make life easier or websites with helpful information. I may change this into a more Wikipedia like page eventually. But for now this is just a list.


This is a big one that I get asked a lot about. There are a few options with good things and bad things about each option.

Marina Wifi

A lot of Marina’s will have a free wifi option. This is all well and good for a quick fix but not a long term sustainable option. Why? Well a number of reasons.

  1. If you’re using it so are other people. So everyone is streaming youtube videos, music, netflix whatever. This means that at peak season you’ll be going at a snails pace.
  2. Privacy. I work in IT security as a living currently (surprise surprise blogging doesn’t pay the bills) so I know what evil can befall unsecured locations. Public wifi, even with a password, is almost trivial to hijack. So by all means use the free wifi for looking at funny pictures, but do NOT use it for anything that could be of use to people doing bad things (don’t pay bills over it, log into any services etc).

A telephone/cable line to your dock

If you’re marina allows this totally go for it. Nice fast internet right to your dock. What could be better?

Downside. If you’re only there for 6 months of the year you still have to keep an active account with your ISP typically which means you’re paying for internet services (although downsized) when you’re not there.

The other issue is that getting this is not particularly common right now. Resources are stretched pretty thin at all marina’s typically and so things like telecommunications is not a high priority.

Wireless internet/Wifi sticks

This is what Jeannie and myself do currently. It’s a bit limited in bandwidth but it’s a very simple setup since we basically have internet wherever we are as long as we have a cellphone signal. A lot of service providers will offer a “hotspot” of some sorts to share your internet key to a limited number of machines.

Do not get it.

They’re not particularly powerful and will die in short order.

Instead get a MOFI  what this is is basically a standard router with the added bonus of being able to let you plug a wireless key into it no problem. We paid around $90 for ours and it’s been working rock solid for 3 years from Canada Computers. This unit will also work fine for other forms of internet as well like Cable or DSL.

The one thing we did have an issue is that some brands of wifi sticks don’t play particularly well with the MOFI. But basically take home the key, try it out, if there’s issues return that stick and get a new one.

Also if you’re low in the water and have issues getting a cell phone signal just get yourself a USB extension cord like this and move the key to a window or higher up in your boat.

One downside of these wifi sticks is that the data rates can be murder. The best we’ve found is WIND. The one and only reason for this? They don’t charge you overage charges. Once you go over 10 gigs they slow you down. That’s it. Every other company we looked at had ridiculous overage charges.


[caption id="attachment_798" align="aligncenter" width="615"]Compared costs of different ISP providers up to 20gigs. Compared costs of different ISP providers up to 20gigs.[/caption]

Just a note that after 20 gigs Rogers also goes hockey stick like and has ridiculous charges as well. This data was collected January of 2014.

10 Gigs isn’t a lot of data though. So what we did was get a second WIND sim card and we swap it out of the key fob whenever we need to. Yes. That’s right. You don’t need 2 key fobs. You just need 1 and be comfortable swapping in and out different SIM cards. This also works with phones as a side note.

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