LIFE UNDERWAY WORKING WHILE BOATING BY TOM NEALE
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS ABOARD
Sometimes, being able to take care of professional and personal business while on your boat can give
you more freedom and peace of mind. Here’s advice about improving communications aboard
WE’VE LIVED, CRUISED, AND WORKED ABOARD OUR BOATS since 1979, so our office capabilities are probably more complex than those of other cruisers. But through trial and error, we’ve learned solutions to many communications issues that arise while working aboard. More and more boaters are doing it, whether it’s a flex day, weekend home work, or just keeping up while on vacation. What we’ve learned
may help you to tailor your “onboard office” to fit your needs.
I’ve found that a stable, pure-sine-wave
power supply is critical for my office “
equipment” such as a computer and printer. This
may be somewhat less of an issue with a
laptop because its battery provides some
buffering protection from power failures
and surges, but you’ll still have issues with
peripherals such as a printer/scanner or
router. Even power from the dock is suspect.
If somebody trips over your power cord or
unplugs or jiggles it, the resultant surges
can be devastating to equipment you have
plugged in and turned on. Generator power,
even from good units, is likely to have surges. On Chez Nous we address this problem
with what has proven over the years to be a
very effective system.
My office “station” is supplied by current
from a dedicated true-sine-wave inverter.
An inverter will change DC current from a
battery bank to AC current. Some inverters
(less expensive ones) put out AC current in
a modified sine wave. While this type of current will run many things, it won’t run some
equipment (most scanners, for example),
and it could be, in the long term, damaging
to other equipment even though it seems
to be working satisfactorily at the moment.
The inverter is “dedicated” because
when external AC (shore or generator
power) becomes available, some inverters
will automatically and almost seamlessly
stop inverting and begin passing through
that external AC power. To avoid passing
Getting online while onboard is relatively easy and reliable these days.