Will my marine satellite system work in bad weather?

That’s the biggest question on boat owners’ minds when it comes to satellite TV. OK, maybe it’s the second one after “how much does it cost.” But there has been a lot of bad information passed around over the years about satellite TV and bad weather. It’s time to clear the air, no pun intended

The truth about satellite TV and “rain fade.”

Rain fade is a term given to satellite signals that disappear when the weather is bad. In most homes, it happens maybe once a year for a few minutes, when the sky gets really really dark. The best part, especially compared to the way cable companies work, is that it fixes itself as soon as things improve, weatherwise.

Rain fade doesn’t happen with every storm. At least it shouldn’t; if you are experiencing it with every rainy day you should call us and we’ll arrange for a service call. For the most part it’s a rare annoyance.

Marine dishes might be a little different

There are two things you need to consider when it comes to marine satellite TV and rain fade. The first is that the dish is potentially smaller than the one you have at home. In most cases, a marine satellite dish is round, and either 30cm or 60cm in diameter. Bigger dishes are out there, but they’re meant for things like tankers and cruise ships. Your regular person out there with marine satellite doesn’t have that big dish. Home satellite dishes are about 90cm in one direction and 50cm in the other. Usually the size difference isn’t a big deal, because a marine dish is always re-aiming itself. However, in severe weather it may mean a little less signal.

The other thing you need to consider is that sometimes, in bad situations, your boat just may pitch… a lot. Hopefully you’re not out there in weather that bad, but if you are, the boat could pitch so much that the marine satellite dish can’t compensate.

But, those are really rare cases. For the most part, you’re not going to be out in weather so bad that either of those conditions is going to be a problem.

Here’s the bottom line

As a pleasure boater, you’re not going to go out on the water when the weather is bad. So you’re not going to have to worry about it. Marine satellite reception is certainly good enough for a drizzle or even a downpour. Any more than that and maybe you shouldn’t be out there.

If you are talking about a larger craft, you have the option of getting satellite dishes that are a lot bigger. Bigger dishes have the ability to pull in weaker signals. That comes in handy when the weather is bad.

You simply shouldn’t worry about satellite TV reception on the boat. As long as your marine satellite system is working, it’s going to give you crystal-clear reception whenever you’re out there on the water. If there’s a situation where you don’t get reception due to weather, you probably have other things to worry about besides watching TV.

Want to upgrade your boat? Call Signal Connect

Signal Connect, the commercial and activation arm of Solid Signal, helps marine enthusiasts just like you all the time. No one has more satellite TV experience… we’ve been helping boat owners since 2002!

When you call Signal Connect, you get the personalized service you deserve. You’ll get a pro you can call when you need them from our Novi, Michigan headquarters. These aren’t call center jockeys with scripts. These are folks who really know their stuff.

Why not give it a try? Call 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. If it’s after 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 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.