Last winter I was talking to Becky at Dockwa about everything under the sun and sea. At one point we got to the topic of Marina WiFi. I mentioned that I have yet to find one that comes anywhere close to basic cellular throughput and nothing that would enable video streaming.
Becky said she had come across a guy in NY who had. She said he was a tech guy who inherited the family marina and installed a fully functional WiFi system. I suggested she find out what he did and share it!
A week ago I discovered another Marina with a fully functional WiFi and I’m here to both report on it and suggest others do the same; even if it’s for a premium fee.
Vigilant’s 2018 WiFi/Video Upgrade
In April I had SK put a Pepwave router and Apple TV on Vigilant. My plan was to stream video through the Apple TV via my “unlimited data plan” with Verizon.
We were in Newport the night of Celtics played Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals. I loaded the ESPN app onto the Apple TV, authorized it with my Xfinity account, and watched the entire game in stunning HDTV.
The Verizon Unlimited Plan That Ain’t
It turned out that my data plan wasn’t actually unlimited. At about 11:00 PM that night I got a couple of text messages from Verizon…
WTF – Verizon was telling me that I had burned through the 15 GB monthly maximum of data under my “unlimited” plan and now my throughput was “throttled” back to 600 KPS.
For those of you who aren’t video streaming saavy, 600 Kbps gets you a little spinning icon and no video.
After a few frustrating calls to Verizon, I discovered they have no cellular SIM Card option that offers more than 15 GB/month of data (I have since switched to T-Mobile out of pure spite).
I then tried to log on to the WiFi at Bowen’s Wharf, but we were at the end of the dock and their WiFi signal didn’t even show up on the scan.
With some help from Scott at SK, I was able to log in the WiFi at the Landing and since it was raining, I was the only one logged in and I got good throughput; good enough to watch Gordon Ramsey’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back on Hulu all night.
I’m fairly certain that when I return to Bowens in August and the Pepwave automatically logs into The Landing WiFi, the hundreds of little Millennials banging on their devices will bring the signal to crawl.
The Nantucket Boat Basin – WiFi Best Practices
Our second overnight trip of the season was to Nantucket for Father’s Day Weekend. The Nantucket Boat Basin (NBB) offers incredible spring rates and those rates alone made the trip a bargain.
Little did I know that on top of being a Top 10 destination for about a hundred bucks a night, NBB was also about to rock my world with a Marina High Speed WiFi system that actually works.
As we were being checked in by the very professional dock staff at NBB, the young lady asked me if I wanted the WiFi passwords.
I said “Does it work?”
She said, “It didn’t before, but now it does…”
NBB doesn’t simply have a single WiFi hotspot for the whole marina to share, they have dozens (hundreds?) of them – with each boat assigned two for their exclusive use!
Here’s the network scan I got when I was logging the Pepwave in…
By the way, it worked like a charm. We streamed 1080P HDTV all weekend including the US Open.
Please share this post with every marina owner you know and maybe they’ll fix their WiFi set up just like The Nantucket Boat Basin did!
Update – Sarah at NBB told me they used a third party company named Onspot to do their WiFi.