The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Cruising With Starlink Reports

We have received some favourable reports from Members about using Starlink while cruising.

First on a tip we already published.

And recently two more:

Three weeks ago I installed a Starlink antenna on BJoyce.

Contrary to some skeptics this thing works GREAT! Hasn’t buffered once and fast. No limit on devices or anything else.

The RV version with antenna mounted in a rod holder, no set up just “plug and play”.

It was rough coming down the coast in the wake of Nicole. We monitored buoys and streamed the premier of Yellowstone in 8-10’ following seas (off watch of course).

Even VOI worked flawlessly. I think if I read the fine print which is hard to find I’m not supposed to use “in motion” or on a boat but like I said it hard to find. $135/ mo and you can suspend anytime for free.

Our friend of many years Bob on BJoyce a Nordhavn Trawler

And here’s a paper written by AAC member André, that he kindly sent us, that you may find useful:

So far it seems that the biggest challenges with Starlink are the amount of power it gobbles and reception area restrictions.

And of course it does not work offshore, so you will still likely want Iridium—more on that option.

None of this constitutes an endorsement or recommendation of Starlink by me, or AAC, just some information you may find useful as you do your own research.

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Bill Arbaugh

There are reports of it working most all of the way from Norfolk to the BVI’s on Cruisers forum
YMMV of course.

There are also a few youtube videos on running Starlink only on DC power. That and using a router other than the supplied router evidently reduces power significantly.

Emile Cantin

Yeah, mine has cut off last summer while I was in the Gulf of St-Lawrence and a few weeks later when I was in the Atlantic / Gulf of Maine.

However, it hasn’t really cut off since, including during a 36-hour passage 18 miles off Cape Fear last week.

They’ve either changed how they “enforce” their coverage map, or they’re more severe with Canadian users (CRTC?). Either way, they’re starting to mention “oceanic data” in the TOS, perhaps we’ll be able to buy offshore packages at some point in the future as they refine their offerings.

Regarding DC power, I’ve asked on the Facebook groups, and people who’ve done it report a ~20% reduction at most, which I wouldn’t call “significant”.

Anyway, the thing lets me work while I travel, making my own adventure that much more attainable! I just couldn’t afford cruising otherwise.

Mark Baumgartner

On our recent trip to the BVI from Norfolk, we had a stable connection around 400 miles offshore. Some minor signal drops but consistent enough to join a video conference. I don’t think it is reliable enough to drop Iridium – yet – but it may not be long. We were averaging 45 watts using the standard router and inverter to AC.

Neil Ramsey

As liveaboards in a marina with lousy Wi-Fi, we jumped on Starlink right away and have had it since February 2021. It is a great improvement and having it work up the Sunshine Coast this past summer was great. Many of the anchorages have no cell service but Starlink worked everywhere we went. An extra $30 per month when traveling is well worth it and using it a few hours a day doesn’t take that much power.

Taras Kalapun

I have my Starlink square RV dishy running off 12V.
– running directly over Ethernet
– plugged into 3-rd party router in WAN port (Peplink or TP link in my case, depending on my mood)
– I have 12V to 48V 200W boost up-converter
– 8-cores POE injector
– starlink cables coming in and out of POE injector are crimped in special way

Average power use is 45W (for antenna, measured before 12-48V converter). Sometimes it spikes to 96W. Initially, for testing, I had 100W power supply, it was not enough – Starlink was rebooting every 10-15 min.

I now have disabled the motors, it improved the connection stability. I am thinking now to cut the motors out and mount it flat.

Rob Ramsey

Could you divulge the make of your POE injector?
AND I read somewhere that the length of the Starlink cable makes a difference in power consumption. Shorter is better.

Jim Picerno

We purchase the RV model of Starlink in November for a passage from Northern California to Mexico. We used it at anchor in several bays in Baja on the Pacific side, as well as as far north as La Paz in the Sea of Cortez and generally had very good download speeds without a lot of jitter. As has been mentioned it is a bit of a power hog. We were running it off our inverter and LFP batteries which was fine but certainly kept an eye on the power draw. Converting to 12V might be something to look at in the future but for now just setting it up at anchor, particularly if we’re staying for a few days is not that much of a hassle. I did speak with a sailor who did a passage from Puerto Vallarta to La Paz who had set it up with a permanent mount. He said they had great connections until about 120 nm from PV, then nothing until about 12 nm from La Paz. I suspect that coverage is based more on server side geo-blocking rather than the number of satellites but I could be wrong.

Rob Ramsey

As I understand it Starlink will add version 2 satellites. These will be higher up and provide communication between the (current) satellites so the network can bridge continents. As long as they are not there yet, the satellite you are connected to has to be able to connect itself to a station on land. That restricts the distance from land obviously.So we’ll need to wait.

Paul Kanev

Momentum recently added Starlink maritime. Weather grins with her legacy iridium thrane 3100 used 4-5 minutes
This worked well during a transatlantic 2022 crossing
We added a thrane 4100 certus 100 iridium and same charts downloaded in 2-3 seconds. During a rough Fastnet last year the system worked terrific
Her new starlink mounts in the aft rail. During a recent Solent to Troon, Scotland delivery in rough following seas, the system worked flawlessly
As I lift my finger off the send button the files arrive instantaneously . Video streaming while in the middle of the Irish Sea worked without any buffering
It’s extraordinary
VOIP using what’s app was better quality than the certus with no latency audible. The thrane is backup now but likely to be shut off soon
Powered by an inverter there is about 8-9 amps/hr battery power use if one continuously. A small price for connectivity