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Crew internet access while on charter
Brian Duell
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 10:52 AM
Joined: 01/05/2012
Posts: 2

I would like to know what the policy on other yachts is in regards to crew internet access while on charter or boss trips. Any feedback would be appreciated as this is now becoming quite an issue when considering the amount of WiFi/Internet capable devices that crew now have on board and the associated bandwidth that they consume in the background.
Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 11:20 AM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100

Brian - be careful here or you will become very unpopular.  Make sure any restrictions of use are boat policy not your policy.

I feel for you though, it's a tough spot.  If the crew are busy on charter they will have little time to use their devices but there in lies another problem where they will still leave them connected with applications running in the background.  Try to educate the crew to come off the network when they are not using it and to save uploads/downloads for overnight when people are sleeping and usage is less.

There are automated ways of keeping people off, restricting access or giving download limits - I like the idea of this.  The big issue you face is crew expecting internet as if they were in their homes on shore.

The need to post on facebook what they have just eaten for dinner or uploading photos of how they are 'living the dream' should not have a negative effect on paying guests getting their information, the Captain getting the latest weather report or crew trying to order spares.  If this is explained that way to the crew, I have found that they normally do all they can to help the situation.  If not, monitor their usage and let the Captain know.  Ultimately it is his decision not yours.

Personally for me, providing internet on board is a real bug bear.  No sooner are the lines on and the shouts of internet access or the internet is slow  are coming my way.

Brian Duell
Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 12:19 PM
Joined: 01/05/2012
Posts: 2

Hi Ratpack,

Thanks for the post. Any decision regarding this is above my pay scale and will be made by the Chief Engineer and Captain, (I know when to manage up). So back to the question I posted, what is the policy aboard your yacht? Cheers.

Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 1:20 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100

There isn't one.  The captain can block all other users if he needs weather files etc but that's it - beyond that, it is a free for all.  Want to stream sport in the middle of the day - no problem !!!
Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 7:12 PM
Joined: 28/04/2011
Posts: 56

We have separate guest and crew network with a bandwidth manager which ensures priority to guests. No issues.
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 10:28 PM
Joined: 28/05/2013
Posts: 1

Hello everyone,

This is indeed a very interesting topic which has been evolving rapidly over the last two year with the arrival of smartphones, tablets but also machine to machine connections and VoIP.

Please let me first state that this is what we do, we install the satellite services on board yachts and other vessels who all share the same issues.

Basically bandwidth on board is expensive to very expensive compared to the terrestrial alternatives that this needs to be managed even more wisely nowadays.  Every vessel will have its own policy (if any) from a completely open network to a securely managed and scrutinized network where only Captain, Owner and Guests have access.  

The amount of restriction will first of all depend on the available bandwidth.  If you have lots of it and the bill doesn't matter, well then don't worry about it.  But most of the time the connections (because of expensive) are still quite limted. So priorities need to be set in place.

First of all you WILL need a router/firewall which allows you to manage your bandwidth at several levels (user, machine, speed, content, etc...)

First identify the crucial users or equipment needing bandwidth and prioritize those for the amount required.  A typical example of this would be to set VoIP (internet telephony) first and above anything else with just the bandwidth needed.  Otherwise you will have chopped up conversations when someone else uses the connection extensively.

The next steps depend on what you want to achieve so this is just an example:

We usually identify the Owner and Captain's machines physically or via log in and allow them to do anything they want.  (except for overriding the VoIP)

Then we divide the users into groups whereby crew is given a certain access speed and volume so they can use internet but not abuse it.  (this can be a rotating scheme like 7 hours a week, or 100MB per week or a maximum speed limited to 32KB for the whole Crew or individually) 

If you have paying guests on board then you will want to give them full or at least high access to the connection.  

One more thing to decide is whether to apply content filtering (advertising, adult content, violence, etc)and application filtering (peer-to-peer, Skype, streaming media onYoutube, movie downloads ;..) to a group of users or not.  This will save bandwidth as well.  

I hope that the explanation above will have given you a little bit of insight on the possibilities because they are extensive especially when combining multiple services (Satellite, Port or Free Wi-Fi, Fleet Broadband, ...) but sitting down and setting up rules that work for you will save you a lot of speed and wasted bandwidth.

If something is not really clear then don't hesitate to ask.

All the best



Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:57 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

I have access unrestricted for all when we are on standby. We all discussed the issues as a crew and it has not been a problem - I guess that says more about the people I have on board than anything else! It is understood that the software that we use monitors all usage and will flag up and block peer-to-peer etc and the Administrator (me) can see each and every web page that is accessed by each device. I have demonstrated a couple of times that this information is available so the connection is not abused.

When we have guests on board we have a reserved bandwidth for Owners, for guests and VOIP; all devices are identified on the server. The crew devices have a bandwidth limit and a volume limit (the volume limit is per crew member not per device). Devices that are not identified are blocked. The idea is that there is enough bandwidth (even with our low end VSAT subscription) for emails, checking in on social media, but not continuous on-line gaming while you step away (ie on Facebook) or file sharing (legal or otherwise).

It means that we can continue have online contact as long as we all play fair! Anytime someone feels like the system is getting bogged down, I can see who is the culprit...

BTW I use Kerio for software - I find it pretty unintuitive to use, does anyone have any better suggestions?


Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:21 AM
There is a new kind of addict out there: internet poachers!  I do not care how many times you explain to the crew that each device takes up bandwidth, if you do not have a tool to control their usage they will poach!  I have had the owner inconvenienced only to find out that it was because a crew member was creating a website on their down time.  Installing UniFi hot spots and software is cheap and easy way to allocate band width and monitor usage.

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013 1:51 AM
Joined: 13/02/2012
Posts: 8

Our system is built with a number of networks so crew, owner, guest and work. The owners network will take 70% of the bandwidth at all times so crew can continue to use it.

We do however monitor speeds and usage and can cut all other networks off if it slows down to allow just the owner and his guests access.