Cells/Communication during Sea Days

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by poksman, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. poksman

    poksman Member

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    What do most M/N use for communication during sea year?

    Someone suggested a satellite phone to my DS but they are crazy expensive, even if you only rent them (at least from my research online).

    Someone else suggested a Blackberry Tour because it is international and has email. I just learned today that even though it has email, it still uses cell towers, not satellite so it won't work at sea, only in ports- and international cell rates vary and are very, very high in some countries.

    Is email from their laptops going to be the best option?

    Enjoy the break with your kids- all of you who have them coming home today!!:smile:
     
  2. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Personal Opinion

    Get an "unlocked" cell phone with GSM capabilities and then have DS/DD buy local calling cards with minutes on them when they are in port, there always seems to be someone who comes aboard and sells such things when the ship docks, at least in Asia, that's the case - it''s the cheapest way to go....basically follow the advice of the folks on the ship when they get there, trying to antcipate things ahead of time never seems to work well.

    As a fallback have an intentational capable cell phone but unless it;'s a real, real emergency leave it turned off so you don't get hit with costly intenrational roaming charges when you are in an International Location and someone calls them/you.
     
  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    My suggestion: don't buy anything.

    If they have a cell phone great, take it with them and they can use it when they are in US ports. If it has international capability, well use it in case of last ditch emergencies when overseas.

    Buy a calling card and go to the seaman's center. Or even better use the phone that the port agent will bring aboard in some ports. There is email on almost every ship out there: granted, it is not private in any way, shape, or form. Some ships have one central account for everyone, others have individual accounts.

    There is no need for 24/7 communication capability while your child is at sea. They will call when in port and email on a fairly regular basis. There is no need for a satellite phone or even going out and buying an unlocked or international cell phone.
     
  4. DinghyMom

    DinghyMom Member

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    I would second kp2001's suggestions. That is what DS did last year when he went around the world. I didn't hear from him for weeks at a time and that was probably a healthy exercise for the both of us. He would buy the calling cards or email in port and touch base when he could. That practice carried over into his second sea term as well. There are always emergency communications on board in that event.
     
  5. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    To be clear I am basically agreeing totally with KP2001 and others - don't buy anything special, you can go and get your current cell phone unlocked at your local phone store and if it has international capability (basically GSM as well as US standard CDMA) your DS/DD can use calling cards purchased at the Seamans Center to avoid intenrational roaming charges, etc. when they call you from in port.

    A satallite phone would be very, very excessive and also very costly. While they are underway at-sea you may, MAY get an email from time to time. In the case of our DS he usually called, at least a short call when he hit each port using an international calling card he bought in that port for a small amount of money. He was on the Matson GCX run last sea year and in LA/Long Beach and HI his regular cell worked just fine.

    If any of your own DS/DD are on that run or call on Gaum, also suggest they get a calling card use it in Gaum as well, it's a US terratory but the roaming charges are high if you don't.
     

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