NEW VIDEO: Don’t bring a receiver from home onto your boat

You’ll want to call it a victimless crime. Except, it isn’t. I’m talking about bringing a receiver in from your home satellite system and connecting it to your boat’s satellite TV system. This video lays it all out:

So what’s this all about then?

Most people don’t understand the lives of workboat crews. It can be a lot of tedium followed by hours or days of craziness. In the past, crews would rely on magazines, card games, or sparkling conversations. You would think that today you’d find people playing on their phones. Except, really, they don’t.

Cell phones and workboats aren’t a good match.

Well, start with the fact that cell phones and boats aren’t a terribly good match. You could drop your phone overboard, get it so wet that it fails, or find it crusted over with all manner of things. This kind of technology isn’t really right for life on the water. Honestly, even phones with a high IP rating can still get water in them and fail.

Cell phones also don’t work much more than a few miles off shore. If you’re working on a tugboat in a harbor, this isn’t a problem, but there are all sorts of working fleets and not all of them stay close to the coastline.

Satellite TV is a much better match for working boats. Typically, you can get satellite TV up to about 50 miles offshore. That means far more working boats have that option. Marine satellite systems are designed to work with the weather, and they can deliver a lot more entertainment for the dollar. However, a lot of fleets don’t really go “all the way” with their satellite installations. They bring on a receiver or two for a common area, and that’s all.

That’s where things go south

If you’re working on a boat with satellite TV, and you have the same sort of satellite TV at home, you might think, “hey why not bring in a receiver from home.” After all, you’re not using it at home and it’s a “victimless crime.” Except, it isn’t.

Let’s say all the technology is compatible and this all works. The problem is it’s still against the contracts both you and the fleet operator signed. You can’t use a receiver intended from home in a commercial environment. This is called misclassification and the satellite companies take it very seriously.

They take it seriously because the satellite TV companies are on the hook for massive costs if a home receiver is used in a commercial setting. The contracts that they sign with major networks have a completely different payout structure if the receiver is used in a commercial environment. Copyright laws are the real culprit here, and those aren’t going to change. So everyone from the network to the pay-TV company to the fleet operator have to work with them.

They will find out.

Let’s be straight here. They’ll find out. If that receiver is every connected to the internet or to a phone line, it’s going to spill all your secrets. And I don’t just mean your receiver from home. If any receiver in the whole system is ever connected to the internet, it’s game over. And that’s a lot of stuff to try to control by the way. Let’s also not forget that if you don’t have an internet connection you’ll lose out on on-demand, searching, and other features. Of course you’re going to get connected at some point. And then as I said, game over.

They’ll find out. You’ll face a big fine. The fleet operator will face a big fine. There’s even a chance you’ll lose your job. Folks, just don’t bring in a receiver from home. It’s not worth it.

Do it right.

Fact is, there’s a better way and it’s not that expensive. Your fleet operator can just add a receiver to the account for a one-time fee, often under $100. Then it’s a small monthly mirroring fee after that. It’s really not a lot of money and there’s no risk of big fines later.

Tell your captain to call Signal Connect at 866-726-4182. The experts there can help set everything right. If it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.