46% of superyacht crew expect high speed broadband at sea


With Inmarsat successfully launching the second of its next-generation satellites to provide superfast broadband connections to users at sea, comes news that nearly 1 in 2 superyacht crew members expect connectivity at sea to be on par with land-based coverage

No matter how far offshore, the $1.6bn (£1.1bn) Global Xpress Network will ultimately deliver coverage of mobile broadband which is up to 100 times faster than the company’s current services.

Yet that might be enough to satisfy some crew!

Research by NSSLGlobal, the satellite communications service provider shows 46% of superyacht crewmembers expect coverage at sea to be on par with home broadband

Conducted in partnership with The Crew Report the survey of 238 superyacht crewmembers has revealed that nearly half feel connectivity should be the same or nearly the same as they can experience at home. This suggests the potential for serious issues, both in terms of crew dissatisfaction and high data use.

The superyacht sector is typically an early adopter of new technology, and superyacht users are constantly pushing for greater wireless speeds. 90% of crewmembers have access to their respective superyacht’s internet connection. However, crewmembers’ expectations, arguably coloured by their experience with on-land broadband, may cause issues for bill-payers, and lead to anticipations that cannot be met at sea.

In fact, crewmembers’ growing exposure to mobile devices may create a significant issue even when those devices are not in use. Crew members typically have at least two devices on board (90%) and sometimes up to six (16%), all of which may be inadvertently drawing ‘parasitic’ data even when not-in-use. 10%, in fact, are unaware that this happens at all.

In order to manage the rising demand for faster, more widespread coverage and increasing number of personal devices, superyacht owners can implement fair-usage policies and education programmes to help crewmembers use bandwidth more productively. This can lead to a better service for all.

Sally-Anne Ray, Managing Director, NSSLGlobal said: “The current IT-savvy generation want to stay connected wherever possible and see the ocean as an inferior obstacle. The ubiquity of connectivity to which we have all become so used-to on-land risks presenting something of a ‘digital culture shock’ when at sea.”

In 2014 NSSLGlobal merged with the ESL Group and remains an independent service provider of satellite communications and IT support,. Along with a VSAT network, the company brings satellite solutions from key market providers such as Inmarsat, Thuraya and Iridium, to offer options across C-, L-, Ka- and Ku-Band networks.