Last week we established that small is coming, this week we want to zero in on how small and why. It is true
that much of what we have described can be done on your laptop and our experience
has been that about 90 percent of large boat cruisers have a laptop onboard, but
what about fishermen in small boats and people out day cruising in the sportboat?
Hello, ever tried to use a laptop on a PWC?
But a laptop has some drawbacks over the mobile phone.
First of all it is big! Where are you going to put it on your center console? Your
typical laptop computer was not designed to work in the harsh and often unforgiving
marine environment. It is more fragile, takes up more space, has a longer boot up
time and uses far more power. Finally, when it comes to true mobility, a mobile
phone blows a laptop away. Try taking your laptop with you for navigation on your
Java and Flash is a Problem
We are not suggesting that you can take your laptop off of large boats -- at least
not yet. There are still tasks that will most likely require your laptop. Some websites
use embedded software such as Java or Flash, which will not run on today’s mobile
phones. And for some tasks, the small screen and keyboard may be a detriment.
But we believe that 85 percent of what you are doing with your laptop today on your
boat can be done as well, if not better, on a mobile phone. We believe the day may
come when a mobile phone will be your only onboard computer. Smoker Craft or Megayacht
Email is probably the single biggest use of any Internet connected device. Your
mobile phone can be with you at the helm if you are fishing in your 16’ Smoker Craft
or at the helm of your megayacht. Best of all you can easily take it with you, going
ashore, visiting another boat, or tootling around in your dinghy.
Access to the Internet and email on our boat was literally a life changing experience
for us. It made the difference between cruising several months of the year and staying
ashore. For the past 5 years we have been able to run our business from our boat
while exploring the East Coast from Maine to Key West and the Bahamas. Now we are
hardly ever out of touch with our customers and business partners.
On our last cruise we managed to be continuously connected the entire distance from
Castine, Maine, to Vero Beach, Florida, with the exception of 25 miles on the Pungo-Alligator
Canal. And that included being up to 20 miles offshore.
Weather Reports without Bothering the Fish…
Access to timely, accurate weather is critical for added safety and enjoyment. Your
mobile phone is perfectly suited to this task, too. It is particularly handy if
you are out bass fishing and you don’t want to turn on a VHF and spook those hungry
guys below. You can easily access and display NOAA marine text predictions from
the NOAA website – silently!
You want to go ashore and have lunch, buy more bait, or do some shopping, but are
afraid of weather coming in while you’re away from the boat? Forget about the VHF,
just open your phone! Try lugging around your five-pound laptop and see how much
fun that can be.
Next Week – Chapter #3: Boosting Your Mobile Signal
© Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Check out Activecaptain.com
and see how much fun cruising can be… =====================================