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Stay Connected on the Water with Strong Cell Phone Signal

Nicholas Jones | May 11, 2017

Recreational boating and sailing are so popular in the U.S. and Canada because there are few things better in life than spending time on the water. Whether you’re with friends, the family, your co-workers, or even people you don’t know that well, there’s something about being in a craft moving across the water that’s fun and relaxing.

Until, of course, we run run into the limitations of modern life in the developed world. Like no (or very spotty) cell phone signal, which means you can’t converse, text, post or consume media the way you’re accustomed to.

The big cell phone carriers continue to build out their network coverage on dry land. But let’s face the fact, nobody is constructing cell towers on open water.

And the truth is, bad cell reception is more than a simple inconvenience to our social lives. We depend on connectivity to do our jobs, and even for our safety.

So a solution on board a boat to address inaudible calls, interminably slow texts, undelivered emails and the spinning circle of a web page forever trying to load would be pretty great stuff.

That’s what this post is about. We’ve told you previously about weBoost cell signal boosters that enhance cells signals on land. Well, they can also boost your phone signals on water.

Why is your signal so weak?

When on a boat, weak signal is more than likely caused by distance from the cell tower. Obviously if I’m too far from the nearest cell tower, the signal may be faint or even undetectable.

Or maybe I can receive a signal from that distant tower, but my phone’s transmitter lacks the power to send its puny signal all the way back so the tower can receive it. Either way I can’t effectively use my phone to communicate.

In addition, any obstruction between me and the cell tower can block or weaken the signal and prevent it from reaching my phone or getting back to the tower. Obstructions are typically NOT a common reason for poor cell reception when you’re on a boat in open water.

However, an exception to this is if you’re inside the cabin or below deck. Then the cabin walls or the hull can hinder cell signals and affect reception. Also, if your boat is docked or in a harbor and surrounded by other boats with metal masts, that’s another situation where obstacles (the masts) can block signals and negatively impact your cell reception.

Atmospheric conditions can also obstruct cell signal out on the water. Culprits are rain, of course, but also fog and clouds. Learn other factors you should take into account when assessing or boosting cell signals.

How a cell booster works

Cell signal boosters work by using an antenna typically mounted high on the mast to collect weak cell signals. Those collected signals are amplified, and then the amplified signals are redistributed inside the cabin or around the deck so your phone and any other cellular enabled devices receive them.

When your devices transmit signals back to the cell tower, the same process is repeated in reverse order.

With a booster, cell signals weakened by distance and/or obstacles are amplified, and signal blockers bypassed. That’s how a cell signal booster delivers strong, reliable reception on a boat.

Cell Booster Recommendations

For a craft with an enclosed cabin the Drive 4G-X booster paired with the 4G Marine Antenna is the best option. This combo features the maximum FCC-permitted power for boosting incoming and outgoing cell signals in a moving vehicle.

For a sporty runabout or a pontoon boat the Drive 4G-S cradle booster paired with the 4G Marine Antenna should work well. Both boosters work with all cellular carriers in the U.S. and Canada, and will boost all 2G, 3G and 4G cell signals.

The all-weather 4G Marine Antenna covers frequency bands from 700 to 2700 MHz, is UV resistant and rated for wind velocities up to 130 mph (210 kph).

These kits will keep you connected while out on the water so you can enjoy the convenience of using your cellular devices. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that help is just a cell call away in case of emergency.


Want more options to boost your cell signal while boating or sailing? Click below.