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Offshore Entertainment Systems

Loyal crew members on ships and rigs around the world regularly spend long periods at sea. They can keep in touch with loved ones via satellite communications, but other on-board entertainment is necessary to their well-being and morale. 

VSAT enabled satellite television systems provide access to the latest news, TV shows and sports, reliably and globally. 

Satellite television signals are received by a parabolic VRO (TV Receive Only) antenna. The signals are then processed and distributed via IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), DVB-C or DVB-T. 

Using IPTV, you can capture TV and video content directly from any source. You then manage its delivery, as channels or within digital signage screens, to any device connected to your existing network. 

Therefore, it is easy to distribute live TV, video on demand, movies, sports events and music. But, from a business perspective, you can just as easily distribute training materials or recorded messages or meetings that crew members can access flexibly. 

Offshore Communication specialise in maintaining, installing and testing offshore entertainment systems. Contact us to discuss your requirements. 

Which Internet System Should I Get For My Yacht?

Epak satellite on a private Yacht

A reliable internet connection has become an essential part of yachting life, right up there with fuel and food supplies. It’s a modern home comfort that can help you stay safe, keep in touch with friends and family, and provide entertainment on long journeys. But which system is best for your needs?

WiFi

The first – and cheapest – option is land-based WiFi. This works best either in a marina with a good network, when moored close to your home’s network, or in a location with a public hotspot. WiFi extenders can greatly extend the range and strengthen the signal. However, these do require good weather conditions, low interference and a direct line-of-sight. They also don’t make WiFi effective while underway at sea.

It can be hard to predict WiFi quality from one marina to the next, as WiFi is a tricky thing for marinas to deliver well. Sometimes, the marina operators don’t pay attention to providing a good service, and sometimes circumstances are simply beyond their control.

Cellular Data

The second option is using your phone as a hotspot via your mobile cell service. This can be used alone or together with a booster. This can be delivered as MiFi through your mobile carrier, or through a marine-based dedicated hotspot such as WiriePro or Glomex WebBoat. These services work well up to 5-10 miles offshore, and especially when paired with a marine cellular antenna to better receive the signal. Many routers allow you to switch easily between WiFi and cellular connection, based on availability. 

VSAT Satellite

The third (and most expensive) option is a satellite communications system. This will connect you to the internet almost anywhere, and is your only option when travelling significant distances offshore. However, satellite is likely to provide the lowest throughput (data moved successfully from one place to another in a given time period) and highest delay, or latency. The seamless and vast satellite coverage can also be pricey.

Offshore Communications specialises in maintaining, installing and testing satellite communication systems for yachts. Contact us to discuss your needs and requirements.

VSAT System Maintenance

Image of a damaged VSAT dish mounting. Offshore Communications fixes and replaces bearings like this.

System Maintenance matters!

As you can see in the image this is a damaged mounting point on an enclosed VSAT assembly that was located on an offshore drilling platform in the North Sea just off the coast of Norway. 

The failure was caused by three contributing factors:

  • Heavy seas and wave action
  • Dish out of balance
  • Lack of lubrication in the bearing

The elements, the maintenance schedule and a heavy sea situation exasperated the already fatigued mounting point and caused it to fracture under the stress.

The system was quickly secured and taken offline, and personnel had to be flown from shore with spare parts and materials.

Offshore Communications has the personnel and expertise to train your workers how to perform these critical onsite inspections and to offer system maintenance, calibrations, and inspections.  

The after-action report indicated that the time between visual inspections should be decreased and that after rough sea and abnormal environmental conditions that the VSAT system should be accessed and visually inspected by trained personnel.

Offshore Communications specializes in maintaining, installing, and testing these critical systems and is a preferred service provider for many brands.

Reach out to us today to discuss your System Maintenance requirements.

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

Image of a private yacht provided by Jeff Skinner of AmperageApps

GMDSS or The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System is a maritime safety and alerting system designed for vessel traffic and to enhance safety around the world’s oceans and ports.

The system is divided up in 4 distinct sections of the worlds oceans and applies to vessels that exceed 300 Gross Registered Tons and above that are engaged in international voyages.

Under the regulations of the International SOLAS Convention all GMDSS equipped vessels should have at a minimum:

  • Ship to Shore Distress Alerting (Examples being EPIRB, DSC and INMARSAT)
  • Shore to Ship Distress Alerting
  • Ship to Ship Distress Communications

The system is considered more reliable and automated than previous systems and relies less on human interaction and more on ship-to-ship with coordination from shoreside command centers.

The system is designed to automatically broadcast a distress signal to alert search and rescue personal (SAR) and to notify ships in the local vicinity of the situation.  The vessel in distress can then expect vessels in the local vicinity to render aid and other shore-based SAR operators can then render aid in a more timely and efficient manor.

In future installments we will discuss Satellite Enabled AIS systems and how they compare to the current GMDSS standards.

Offshore Communications specializes in maintaining, installing, and testing these critical systems and is a preferred vendor for many brands.

Reach out to us today to discuss your requirements.