NICE AND EASY: Can you get free HDTV on a boat?

The yachting life means having it all. By definition in 2021, that means leaving nothing behind but your worries. When you’re out on the open water, you want all the luxuries of home but you also want the sunshine, freedom, and — dare I say it — glamour of living the live you deserve.

With your personal electronics, this isn’t impossible, but it is a bit more complex. Getting cell service more than a couple miles offshore can be a little difficult, and getting satellite television is also a challenge. Luckily when it comes to video entertainment there’s another option. It’s a lot more reliable and it’s perfect for an evening relaxing in your cabin.

Get free HDTV with a television antenna

Getting free HDTV on a boat is actually just the same as getting it on land. You just need an antenna. Pretty much any outdoor antenna will do. I personally don’t recommend indoor antennas because they aren’t waterproof and because the lacquered wood used on many boats does a great job of rejecting signal.

I’m a fan of this Televes Dinova Boss Mix antenna. It’s compact, somewhat weatherproof, and even has a white plastic shell to compliment the other things on your boat. If you’re in an area where you need VHF, it has an extendable dipole to help with reception.

While this antenna isn’t omnidirectional, it is very easy to aim. If it’s even close to being aimed toward shore you should get great reception.

Great signal awaits

You should get great signal while at sea as long as you’re within about 50 miles of the broadcast tower. With nothing to block it, the signal should travel easily. The only issue is that HDTV over-the-air signals don’t work at all if the vessel is moving faster than about 15mph. This is a limitation of digital broadcasting whether on land or sea; it’s not specific to boats. So, while you’re not going to get great reception while moving, you’ll have no problem while anchored for the night. That’s what makes antenna TV perfect. You won’t be tempted to use it when you’re moving about. Enjoy the ride. But, when you drop anchor, it’s going to do a great job for you.

Over-the-air TV is great if you’re taking a long cruise up or down the coast – just remember to scan for channels whenever you set down for the night because obviously, the channel selection will be different no matter where you go.

Live your best marine life with Signal Connect

Signal Connect is the commercial and activations arm of Solid Signal. We specialize in helping you outfit your boat with everything you’ll need. Whether it’s a simple, inexpensive part or a complex electronic entertainment system, the folks at Signal Connect can get it for you. We’re more than just an e-tailer. We provide the best technical support “on the seven seas.” Don’t believe me? Call Signal Connect at 888-233-7563. You’ll get a technician who can help you with everything you need. If you need a local installer, we’ll get one to you. We’re here to make your life better.

Call us now. Or, if it’s after East coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you. We usually call back 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 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.