Cruising Issues

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Author THE BEST CELLULAR PHONE SERVICE OUT ON THE WATER
PHILIP & SHARON MERLIER
FELLSMERE, FLORIDA

Boat Name: SWIZZLE STICK

Model/Year: 1990 C22

Hull No.

Hailing Port: FELLSMERE, FLORIDA
04/21/2005 2:15 PM Pacific Time

When cruising for periods of time away from your home waters everyone eventually needs to communicate with those left behind. With pay phones becoming increasingly hard to find, an alternative is becoming necessary. We are in the market for a good Basic Cell Phone Service. We just want a basic means of rarely communicating. Everyone says most any service will work if you are near a city or a large highway however we seldom find ourselves in that situation if we can help it. Of course we want low cost, reliable communication, and a minimal chance of additional roaming charges. Does anyone have any good suggestions as to what companys and plans should be at the top of our list?????????? Our principal cruising areas are: the central coast of Maine; Chesapeake Bay; the Florida Keys; & the North and Western Coast of Florida. It would be nice for others if responses came from other parts of the country also.
Thanks so much, Philip & Sharon Merlier
PHILIP & SHARON MERLIER
FELLSMERE, FLORIDA

Boat Name: SWIZZLE STICK

Model/Year: 1990 C22

Hull No.

Hailing Port: FELLSMERE, FLORIDA
05/01/2005 8:02 PM Pacific Time

Hello again:
Since I got no responses on this site I continued my research using friends who travel alot, Consumers Reports, cell phone coverage charts, and sailors with the Allied Seabreeze Association. Without question everyone voted for Verizon and its America Choice plan with hardly any roaming charges. I consequently signed up with Verizon. Within the next six months I will have reports on coverage in the following areas: Northwest Gulf Coast; Entire Maine coast; & Florida Keys.
Chip Ford
Marblehead, MA

Boat Name: Chip Ahoy

Model/Year: 1974-Swing Keel

Hull No. CTY032820374

Hailing Port: Marblehead, Mass.
05/02/2005 2:58 AM Pacific Time


Hi Philip & Sharon;

I'm a Verizon Wireless subscriber and used my cell phone extensively along my cruise up the coast as far as Portland, Maine last August. It worked perfectly with one (strange) exception, on the Saco River just south of Portland. I had problems with my handheld Garmin GPSMap 76CS beginning there too, with its directional pointer spinning in circles, so there must be some sort of local interference. Once out of the river and leaving Saco Bay, a mile or two offshore, I was able to call and reach Garmin tech support, so it was definitely a very localized problem. Other than that one area, I had coverage everywhere along the coast between Marblehead (MA) and Portland (ME).

I added a Verizon plan to my cell phone number that gives me unlimited roaming without roaming charges. I don't remember what the additional monthly cost is (and it doesn't appear as a separate item on the bill in front of me), but it isn't much and if you're roaming, it's definitely worth having.

I've got the Family SharePlan and Barbara's the second phone on it. We can call each other for no charge, unlimited. Combined with my no-roaming-charge, this made checking in with her inexpensive, and as I was singlehanding, this meant a few calls a day to let her know I was still floating above the ocean. My total basic monthly bill for the two phones, roaming, and the other convenience features is $61/month.

TIP: You should update the phone's software regularly, which also adds new towers the phone can recognize I was told, by calling *228 from your cell phone and selecting Option 2. The upgrade downloads over the phone automatically in less than a minute. Verizon recommends that this be done monthly, no less than every 90 days. It does make a difference.

I expect to launch from Portland in mid-July and continue heading north and east further up the Maine coast for another month of singlehanding. I'm told to expect holes in the cell phone network the further along I go. I guess we'll see. I hope we can bump into each other somewhere along the way!

Chip Ford --
Marblehead, Mass.
1974 Seing Keel "Chip Ahoy" #3282
Chip Ahoy website: www.chipford.com
Email address see: http://chipford.com/chipford.txt

R. C. Luiken
Milford, DE

Boat Name: Ricochet

Model/Year: C-22 Swing Keel/1986

Hull No. 13560

Hailing Port: Milford, DE/St. Michaels, MD
05/02/2005 4:26 AM Pacific Time

I too am a Verizon user.

There are a number of things that are great. I have the America plan. I have used my phone from MA. to FL. to NVand most points in between while sailing and crewing for a glider. With a few exceptions in NC and SC and rural N TX I have no roaming areas. Every now and then I have no signal, So much for "do you hear me now?" I have been able to make calls as far as 25 miles off shore. Srangely enough in the DE Bay signal coverage in really poor. In some areas the coverage only extends 1/2 mile off the NJ and DE coasts in the Bay.

They also have a means to get coverage in Mexico and the Bahamas by simply calling Verizon and and requesting that service at no charge. In Mexico the charge is $0.36/min and $0.53 in the Bahamas.

The *228 feature is an automatic update of your phone. It seems to affect my receipt of voice mail messages more than anything else.

Mext time I upgrade my phone I am going to get the Family share program and add the Walkie talkie feature they have just added.

Not a bad supplier for $40/ mo. with 1000 minutes anytime and unlimited nights and weekends.
Chip Lee
Utica, NY

Boat Name: Martha Pearl

Model/Year: 1980 C-22

Hull No. #9742

Hailing Port: Black River Bay, NY
05/02/2005 5:28 PM Pacific Time

Verizon definitely gave me the best service area - all over the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

Too bad they have no good international calling plans - about 10% of my calls are UK, Germany and China.

So I switched to Cingular. For anyone who's interested, since Cingular and AT&T Wireless, merged, their coverage is almost as good as Verizon, plus I get Europe for about $.19/minute and China for $.13/minute!
Artur Piotrowski
Burlington, Ct

Boat Name: Spirit

Model/Year: C22 1986

Hull No. 13485

Hailing Port: Bantam, Ct
05/02/2005 6:19 PM Pacific Time

Chip,
I agree that Verizon has the best service area and that's the carrier I use. I just want to comment on the international calls subject. We make numerous calls to Europe, Poland and France and to get the best deals we use pre-paid calling cards. I use my cell phone to dial the number (local to me) from the card and I don't get charged for that connection. I use my cellular minutes or it's free on weekends. Here, in Connecticut, we have a card called "Red card" (or something like that). $5 buys me approx. 6 hours of talk with my family in Europe. I know my friends buy other cards, maybe they even get better deals. I hope it helps. Good luck.

"Spirit" #13485
Christopher Abrahamsen
Long Beach, CA

Boat Name: The Civil Disobedience

Model/Year: Laguna Windrose 1982

Hull No.

Hailing Port: Wilmington, CA
03/08/2012 10:27 AM Pacific Time

Hey Ocean lovers!
Christopher Abrahamsen
Long Beach, CA

Boat Name: The Civil Disobedience

Model/Year: Laguna Windrose 1982

Hull No.

Hailing Port: Wilmington, CA
03/08/2012 11:52 AM Pacific Time

Hey everybody My names is Chris Abrahamsen I work at the 4G verizon distributor on 5th st in Long Beach. We now offer the best on the water and global services coverage that exists. Because Verizon dived into wireless and mobile broadband before anyone else we operate in a frequency that offers better penetration into buildings and the best on the water coverage. Two devices that can really help utilize this coverage especially for boaters are the Home Phone Connect, and the Samsung Mobile Broadband. The home phone connect gives you easy portability between boat/home with a home phone service that uses wireless connection not a phone jack that plugs into the wall all for 19.99 a month. Mobile Broadband is wifi anywhere you go 4G speeds 5GB of data for 50$ a month or 10GB for 80$ if your interested give me a call. (619)779-9814
 
 
Cruising Issues
Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Cruising Issues / THE BEST CELLULAR PHONE SERVICE OUT ON THE WATER