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Old 09-25-2014, 01:05 PM   #1
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Working while boating

Hi all,

I'm very blessed to have a job which allows me to work from anywhere there's an internet connection. MiFi is the way to go as long as I'm close enough to shore to pick up a cell tower.

Although we haven't done this yet, I'm wondering if there are any other boaters here who work from their boats?

Ins and outs of such?

Thanks! Dennis
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:20 PM   #2
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live aboard 5 slips down from my towboat....does that count?
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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I have the capability of working from our boat. I usually have a cell connection which I can convert to wifi from an iPhone. Frequently I'm near a shore wifi. I also have a scanner and printer on the boat, if needed.

My job forces me the travel a lot (about 35,000 miles per year). However, I can "setup" my travel and handle the non-travel assignments from the boat.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:50 PM   #4
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I'm lucky...my job requires me to go boating for about three months a year (I'm one of the editors of a popular Pacific Northwest cruising guidebook).

The key to making this work is connectivity. Wi-Fi is poor at many marinas in the PNW, so I tend to rely on tethering my phone to my computer. When in Canada I use a Telus SIM card to cut down on roaming costs. A Wilson cell phone booster improves coverage somewhat. I find that from Port Hardy south I can pretty reliably get online at least once a day via cell connection.

I do carry a Globalstar satellite phone for voice calls. It doesn't get used much, but it's handy on occasion. No satellite data system aboard...there's not enough money in this business to justify the costs.

I've got a scanner and printer in the guest stateroom (and they hide under the bunk when guests are onboard).

I tend to use the chart table in the pilothouse as a standing desk. Standing while working is a nice change compared to the office, and the view is outstanding.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:58 PM   #5
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I've been doing it for years. A built in fold away desk was added for this purpose. Note book, smart phone, and portable printer make it happen. FEDEX over night and FEDEX/Kinko's for other office needs. MIFI and WIFI let you work like in the office. If it wasn't for high tech I would not have been able to do coastal boating.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:10 PM   #6
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I work on a boat for a living, that count?
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:53 PM   #7
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Depending on the type of work you're doing, the jurisdiction you're working in might have issues with licensure, permits, etc. So be aware of that as you travel, not only intra-state, where there might be different city/county rules to adhere to, but inter-state, then you might also have that other state's rules to follow. And don't forget state/local taxes too.

It might not be an issue, but check it out just in case it is.
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:02 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! Very helpful
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:38 PM   #9
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I own and manage many residential rental properties. My wonderful tenants pay me electronically. So I can be gone for extended periods of time and my income keeps coming in :-). When I'm home I handle any problems at the rental units, but when I'm gone I have a good handyman on call. When we travel with our physician friends they complain that their income stops when they are gone and not working - they all now want to invest with me!!
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:46 PM   #10
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I can work anywhere I have an internet connection. Last year, while on vacation in Rarotonga, I was able to write off the trip because I spent a good number of hours handling client problems (between rum drink)
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:05 PM   #11
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Is it work if you're on your boat doing it?
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:10 PM   #12
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I used to take and make business calls when boating until I felt like it defeated the purpose of boating which to me is getting away from work.

I cant wait to get old and just play all day everyday.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:13 PM   #13
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Work and be on a boat? Say it ain't so.... It depends upon your definition of work. (Oh yeah, and the boat)
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:53 PM   #14
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Our business is more hobby than work as we still consider ourselves retired, I just still needed the occasional fix according to my wife. But we don't even look at anything business, including business emails, until after dinner and generally check the emails in bed. We call if necessary but they don't call us on business unless an emergency, so haven't. Now we do talk to them on a personal basis as our key people are our best friends. We will occasionally sit in remotely on a Friday morning meeting. Other than that, we occasionally (once a month or so) will do a one day project for my previous employer. We'll do that from wherever we are. We can also access everything remotely.

We do have satellite capability as we are creatures of the technology age and being disconnected just isn't something we deal with well. However, I'd say we have WIFI that works decently perhaps 65% of the time we're docked. Also, very few times we're docked and don't have cell coverage.

We could deal with being out of touch business wise or not even having a business, but I don't think we could deal well with being out of touch with family (technically not family but we consider them to be) and friends. We're addicted to internet and phone. We admit it. Most nights we'll call one of our family/friends and just see how they are and what we're missing.

I know people say sometimes that they boat to get away from these things, but we'd really not like being away from it all. I think perhaps it's generational in that some consider email and phone to be an imposition on their pleasure. We consider it in a positive way as it allows us to stay in touch. We've had cell phones and internet our entire adult lives. I know we wouldn't enjoy cruising as much without them. We very much look forward to emails at night and seeing what everyone is up to. Oh, and we do skype. Last night we got to see our beautiful niece who we were in SC for her birth in August. So wonderful to still be able to see her and her parents.

I think to us the key is just knowing we can be reached and we can reach everyone else. And, of course, we bank, we invest, we do everything online. We do have scanning and printing capability with us as well.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahal View Post
I used to take and make business calls when boating until I felt like it defeated the purpose of boating which to me is getting away from work.

I cant wait to get old and just play all day everyday.
Well, one way around the calls interfering is to say only one hour per day or something like that, such as I will take calls between 10 and 11 only. We thought we wanted to do nothing but play. Well, my wife says she never thought I could. She was right as always. Maybe one day. But it's mentally stimulating and reduced to a level there is no stress.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pau Hana View Post
I can work anywhere I have an internet connection. Last year, while on vacation in Rarotonga, I was able to write off the trip because I spent a good number of hours handling client problems (between rum drink)
Except in very unusual circumstances, the fact that you work while on vacation does not make the cost of the vacation deductible. About the only exception is if the travel was necessitated by your employment, and even then it is tough.
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Old 09-25-2014, 11:50 PM   #17
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I "work" from the boat much of the year. My work never really feels like work and when I'm doing it like I am now sitting in Lake Washington it really isn't work. Yet the beautiful thing is the tax man thinks it's work. Verizon and my unlimited data plan makes every place my office no matter where in the world I am.
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:47 AM   #18
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This is some really great information folks. My thanks.

My question is geared more toward partial live aboard/coastal cruising rather than vacation. I can see myself and spouse living aboard for a season, perhaps Winter in Florida...snowbird to a boat rather than into an RV or rented condo. I'm not retired though so do need to be able to work (I'm a business analyst for a large hospital organization...give me a computer and the internet, I can work).

You folks are 'living my dream'. I'm still trying to figure it out

Ditto to those comments about no work while on vacation. I enjoy my job but am not addicted to it.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:22 AM   #19
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We cruised the ICW last winter with me working full time taking long weekends as we cruised and then hanging in port for a few days. Spent the winter in Florida working from the boat. I am in the same situation, give me an Internet connection and I can write computer code. I tried relying on marina wifi but gave that up and decided to go cell using my phone as a hotspot. I called AT&T to up my plan to 10 gig and they dropped my bill $30/month because of a new plan.

I used the hotspot 8 hours a day plus a couple of hours of phone meetings while on the Internet using a bluetooth headset with boom mike. Worked great. We have an HP printer/scanner that completed the communications package.

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Old 09-26-2014, 11:35 AM   #20
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I work part time and also run a business with my wife.

I set up our boat to be able to work from it. We have commercial grade network on board with cellular and satellite connectivity.

Here's a photo of me, taken last summer entering a customers order while cruising along.
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