Boat docked for the winter? Get a satellite upgrade!

For most of us, winter is a time to stay home. It’s time to hunker down by the fireplace and try to stay warm on those short, dark, grey days. Spring is coming though, and with it comes the opportunity for fun on the water.

If you’re one of those lucky folks who has a pleasure craft, you know that there’s nothing like the fun of sitting out on the water relaxing. Just staring out at the sunset is great, but what if you’re feeling tech withdrawal? What about the fear of missing out?

Go too far off shore and you’ll lose cell signals, fast. Go a little further and you’ll start to lose TV antenna signals too. If you’re looking to stay connected to the world and indulge in some fun entertainment, your best option is satellite television. It’s available much further away from shore than antenna TV, and today’s marine satellite systems are powerful and reliable. Depending on the system you choose, you can enjoy pretty much the same entertainment you enjoy at home, no matter where you are on the water.

It starts with a satellite dish on your boat like the one you see at the top of this article. You’ve seen these white gumdrops atop other boats, you know you have, and you’ve gotten jealous. You may not have understood the technology though.

Inside those domes are powerful satellite dishes that use a combination of several technologies to make sure that they get a good signal lock even on a moving boat. They’re constantly analyzing the signal they get and making adjustments to keep a good aim. The dome itself is just a cover, hiding the actual dish which looks, well, like a satellite dish.

You might have noticed different size domes on different boats. The smaller the dome, the weaker the signal that comes in, so those 45cm domes (17″) tend to be strictly for people who stay close to shore and who want to watch TV in relatively calm waters. The same technology is used in varying sizes, all the way up to the 240cm (7 7/8 feet) wide domes used on large cruise ships. The choice of dome size is up to you, based on the size of your ship and what you can afford. Obviously the larger domes are more expensive, but they often have extra features like the ability to track multiple satellites at once, critical for high-definition viewing in the US.

Other domes come with hardware that works in multiple countries, so if you’re one of those people who really like the best in life, you’ll want one of those.

Even if you already have a marine satellite dish, you might be looking at an upgrade if it’s over 10 years old. The ocean’s a pretty harsh place for electronics, and when you think about it technology has changed a lot since the mid-2000s. New dishes are needed in the next few years if you’re going to keep getting HD programming from DIRECTV or if you want to use DISH’s latest DVRs.

If you’re ready to make the jump to marine satellite, your best partner is Solid Signal. With tens of thousands of happy customers, we can recommend the right hardware, help you find an installer, and get everything activated. You’ll get a sales rep who handles your needs from beginning to end, the best selection of products and services, and the technical know-how that you can’t find anywhere else!

It starts with one phone call to 888-233-7563. That’s right, our reps answer the phone, and you’ll get personal service from the first moment you call! Why not get started now so that when it — finally — warms up, you’ll be ready for a great time on the water?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.