Article by Dave Dodgen titled The Worst Thing About Marinas of Florida Yacht Group

The Worst Thing About Marinas

By Dave Dodgen May 13, 2015 Tips & Tricks (6) Comments

My wife and I took a long vacation for 18 months sailing around the Caribbean on our sailboat, “Wildest Dream”. Here are some of the things we learned along the way.

In the last blog post, we discussed long distance communications and email connections.  But what about close in internet reception?   When in a marina, many of the dock masters had a local internet WiFi transmission and would give us a password to login.  But we were told that the reception was not always good depend on where you were in the marina.  To improve the reception and be ready for these times, one of the last things we got before leaving Miami as a Rogue Wave WiFi Amplifier Antenna.

This antenna connects to your laptop to increase the reception of the WiFi signal.   We took it one step further and added a NetGear network router to the boat and connected the Rogue Wave antenna to the router.  This allowed us to work on the internet on separate laptops or the iPad at the same time without a wired connection just like at home!

We did not mount the antenna but kept it free to be moved around the boat or up to the spreaders depending on the signal strength and distance away.  It also allowed us to keep it out of the weather when not in use.

This system worked fantastic and served us well to keep in touch, handle our banking, update our blog,  and check weather.  It even allowed us to use it while at anchor close to shore by receiving a private unsecured network WiFi signal which were relatively easy to find.  It even allowed us to provide a WiFi signal (hot spot) to other boats anchored near us that did not have the Rogue Wave reception.

For example, in all of the San Blas Islands, the only Wifi signal was from the school on the island of Nargana and many cruisers would anchor in range of the signal.  With everyone trying to login, it typically overwhelmed the bandwidth and service was spotty but considering where you were, it was a technological miracle!

With the satellite phone and modem for offshore and the Rogue Wave antenna and wireless network for inshore or marina use, we were never out of touch for long.  Next time we will discuss telephone options.

And stay tuned for more info on things we found handy on our trip!  And let us know if you have any questions.

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About the author

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, David Dodgen and his wife, Gail, have been documenting their travels aboard since 2013, adventuring to countries including Guatemala, Belize, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

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