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Nautical Communication: Starlink and Iridium GO! Exec for Dependable Marine Weather Data

by Jon Bilger, CEO, PredictWind 24 Jul 2023 11:28 NZST
Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 09 on board Dongfeng. 30 April, . Pascal Bidegorry at the nav desk, we just got wind again after entering a cloudy zone © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race

When it comes to sailing, obtaining accurate weather information is vital for ensuring safety and comfort on the open seas. Fortunately, advancements in technology have revolutionised the way sailors access weather data, with satellite communication providers such as Iridium and Starlink leading the way.

This article explores the advantages of Starlink, a newcomer in the field of satellite communications, and the reliability of the Iridium GO! Exec device for offshore communications, specifically for marine weather data services like PredictWind.

PredictWind

For the past 14 years, PredictWind, a reputable marine weather service based in New Zealand, has been a trusted source of quality weather data for sailors worldwide. Their mission is to empower marine users with the highest quality weather information and tools, enabling them to make informed decisions.

PredictWind has gained the trust of over 1 million sailors in the last year, catering to both cruising enthusiasts and competitive racers.

The PredictWind app offers a range of weather tools designed to meet the diverse needs of marine users. What sets PredictWind apart is their continuous development efforts, making advanced weather routing features more accessible and user-friendly.

Previously exclusive to racers, these tools are now available to cruising sailors, democratising advanced weather forecasting and enhancing the overall sailing experience.

Iridium GO! Exec

When venturing offshore, having a reliable and proven communication system is crucial for sailors. This is where the Iridium GO! Exec device excels. With connection speeds up to 40 times faster than its predecessor, the original GO!, the GO! Exec allows sailors to access weather data in a similar manner to Starlink but with optimised apps that ensure efficiency.

To address concerns about unexpectedly high bills, PredictWind offers an Unlimited GO! Exec plan, providing offshore cruisers with peace of mind and avoiding the hefty charges often associated with Starlink maritime usage.

By opting for the GO! Exec, users can enjoy a smaller monthly fee while still benefiting from a reliable and faster offshore connection.

The device also features a built-in battery that can run up to 24 hours on standby, making it independent of the vessel's power system. Additionally, its portability and IP65 waterproof rating enhance safety, allowing sailors to carry a self-contained communication unit during emergencies.

Starlink

Despite some offshore sailors facing challenges with bill shock from the Starlink maritime plan, it is important to acknowledge the significant advantages that Starlink brings to the table.

Offering internet speeds comparable to home connections, Starlink has disrupted the maritime satellite communications market, providing sailors with access to vast amounts of weather data and super-fast connectivity while at sea.

The ability to stay connected and receive real-time weather updates is invaluable for sailors seeking to make informed decisions and ensure their safety on long voyages.

However, it is essential to exercise caution to manage data usage and avoid unexpected charges, considering the power usage and lack of portability as part of the onboard setup.

Choosing the Right Communication System

Choosing between Starlink and the Iridium GO! Exec for marine communication systems depends on various factors, including safety, redundancy, power usage, waterproof rating, voice calling, and SOS capabilities.

While Starlink offers faster internet speeds and access to more weather data, PredictWind recognises the importance of a reliable offshore connection.

For many sailors, the GO! Exec provides a safety-oriented communication system for passage-making, complemented by PredictWind's comprehensive weather tools.

Recommendations

For coastal situations where fixed-cost, high-speed internet is accessible without relying on uncapped maritime plans, we recommend utilising Starlink. Its fast connectivity and abundant data enable users to stay informed about localised weather patterns, make real-time adjustments to their routes, and enjoy a more comfortable and efficient sailing experience near the coast.

However, for offshore passage-making, where reliability and safety are paramount, we advocate for the use of the Iridium GO! Exec. With its proven track record, mid-band speeds, optimised apps, and the added advantage of PredictWind's Unlimited GO! Exec plan to prevent unexpected high bills, sailors can rely on this communication system to access essential weather information even in the most remote and challenging offshore environments.

By leveraging both Starlink and the GO! Exec, sailors can benefit from the strengths of each system based on their specific sailing needs and priorities.

Conclusion

Access to accurate and timely weather information is crucial for sailors to navigate the seas safely and efficiently. PredictWind, with its user-friendly apps and advanced weather routing features, has become the go-to choice for marine users worldwide.

Combined with the reliable and fast offshore connection offered by the Iridium GO! Exec device, sailors can enjoy the benefits of a proven communication system without the risk of unexpectedly high bills.

As technology continues to advance, the maritime industry can look forward to even more innovative solutions that prioritise safety and enhance the overall sailing experience.

About Jon Bilger

Olympian, two-time America’s Cup winner, and New Zealand National Champion in multiple classes, PredictWind Founding Director Jon Bilger spent years accessing the very best private wind and marine forecasting tools in the world.

Jon founded PredictWind in 2010 to share this potentially life-saving technology with the public at large, and today PredictWind provides the world’s most accurate and reliable forecasting technology to more than a million users. A lifelong competitive yachtsman, Jon lives in Auckland with his wife and two daughters, who share his passion for the ocean and competitive sailing.

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