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Old 08-11-2014, 08:02 AM   #181
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Active Captain certainly does provide a valuable tool. I am glad to know that there are verification processes in place on its information. Every tool has its limits though. I thought that I was doing great with a sat. weather provider until I found out that it has no coverage below about 22 degrees N. Lat. Should have looked into that before heading down to Belize but relied too much on one source.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:37 AM   #182
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Every detail is verified as best as possible (reviews/comments are not). There's also verification through multiple correlated findings - the staple of crowdsourcing. There are reasons that NOAA put out a press release naming it as one of the major reasons they were keeping the magenta line.

Just a couple of days ago, SAIL Magazine did their own review:
Reviewed: ActiveCaptain for iPhone/iPad | Sail Magazine

It's just one of many saying about the same thing. And I'm the first person to declare that it isn't perfect and that there's room for improvement. But it's made a wonderful impact on cruising in a variety of ways.

I guess it's something the "prudent mariner" should be using...
AC is extraordinarily accurate (not perfect) from NJ to FL compared to ay other source I have used...except for my own experience or my best friend who is an hour ahead of me....

I'll bet I refer to it 20 times a day sometimes and make on the fly decisions based on it...I don't think it's ever disappointed me and as ha been pointed out many times...it's only as good as the info going into it.

If you use it as a restaurant guide...sure I guess you'll be disappointed.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:09 AM   #183
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AC is extraordinarily accurate (not perfect) from NJ to FL compared to ay other source I have used...except for my own experience or my best friend who is an hour ahead of me....

I'll bet I refer to it 20 times a day sometimes and make on the fly decisions based on it...I don't think it's ever disappointed me and as ha been pointed out many times...it's only as good as the info going into it.

If you use it as a restaurant guide...sure I guess you'll be disappointed.
I have found it extremely helpful on the East Coast, in the Gulf, in the PNW, in Alaska, in the Bahamas. And even in planning for other areas. On the ICW I also look at current notices and information from Cruisers Net and Waterway Guide. And I listen to radio talk and local cruiser nets, and get all the local knowledge I can from other cruisers, from dockmasters and from towboat operators.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:33 PM   #184
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The GPS is very accurate. The charts may not be. A slip neighbor with a Garmin 5208 like mine showed his boat directly in his slip. He upgraded the map and it showed his same boat on the other side of the fairway about 50 feet away. Same GPS, different map.

On a paper chart, you can only guess where the boat is.
Sounds like your neighbor would be guessing too with his plotter. What good does your GPS do if you don't have a "map" of some sort to reference to? Additionally GPS itself is susceptible to gov tweaking, even down time in a particular area. Coincidentally, the latter happened in our last marina. For a week or two, you got halfway down the channel and GPS went out (there is a variety of military stuff that goes on in our area.) I had to start my plotters after we got to the main channel about a half mile away.

Even with four independent GPS antennas/receivers on board, three chart plotting devices (actually four because the two networked Furunos could be independent), and other gear, I too like having a big chart book at the helm for the reasons mentioned above. Even with two 17", one 19" screen on the Furunos, plus a 13" and a 21" on the two computers (I could also hook the laptop into the 37" TV), I like the big, always daylight visible picture of where were were in the world. On long voyages, I liked pencilling the log information on the chart every hour or so, and still enjoy going back and looking at those. Necessary? No. Nice? Well for us, yes!

However,all in all we prefer spending 95% of our time looking out at the world around us, observing, listening, even smelling. After all, that's why we're traveling by boat, isn't it?
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:56 PM   #185
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Sounds like your neighbor would be guessing too with his plotter. What good does your GPS do if you don't have a "map" of some sort to reference to? Additionally GPS itself is susceptible to gov tweaking, even down time in a particular area. Coincidentally, the latter happened in our last marina. For a week or two, you got halfway down the channel and GPS went out (there is a variety of military stuff that goes on in our area.) I had to start my plotters after we got to the main channel about a half mile away.

Even with four independent GPS antennas/receivers on board, three chart plotting devices (actually four because the two networked Furunos could be independent), and other gear, I too like having a big chart book at the helm for the reasons mentioned above. Even with two 17", one 19" screen on the Furunos, plus a 13" and a 21" on the two computers (I could also hook the laptop into the 37" TV), I like the big, always daylight visible picture of where were were in the world. On long voyages, I liked pencilling the log information on the chart every hour or so, and still enjoy going back and looking at those. Necessary? No. Nice? Well for us, yes!

However,all in all we prefer spending 95% of our time looking out at the world around us, observing, listening, even smelling. After all, that's why we're traveling by boat, isn't it?
I don't know why on this forum, every post seems to invite a battle.

My 5208 showed my boat on the other side of the fairway. His showed his boat correctly in relation to the docks. He upgraded the map and on the same plotter, in the same slip, he now had the same error that I had.

How can that not be an error in the map? How?
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:07 PM   #186
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Unfortunately, that's not true. I have a feeling you haven't been in parts of Long Island or along much of the coast of Maine. Thankfully, where Verizon is weak, AT&T is strong. We have both and use both.

There are also large areas of the east coast where Verizon coverage needs cellular amplification to get any type of reasonable connectivity.

And lastly, Verizon universally drops off offshore within a couple of miles, even with amplification. We've had AT&T internet access out 10 nm and more. It's likely the CDMA/GSM technology difference.
Jeff, I know I have less cruising experience than you do, I don't live on my boat and I don't make a living with my boat. Still, I would like to think that my experiences have at least some validity and are worth sharing with others without the belittling tone shown here.

The Verizon hot spot has worked well for me on the AICW and most of the St. Johns River. I'm not going to Maine and I'm not going offshore so it would be stupid of me to carry and pay for two wireless devices and service.

As for active captain, yes I use it but only as a tool alongside several cruising guides. I've noticed that the marinas that sponsor AC seem to have a much more glowing description than the others and the reviews by the members of marinas and anchorages are all over the place. One marina we stayed at was just a dock and a bar with restrooms but no showers and someone gave it five stars. Another had everything, beautiful facilities, pools laundry, four blocks to a shopping center, but some nut case gave it one star claiming they wouldn't let you work on your boat there.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:43 PM   #187
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How can that not be an error in the map? How?
The big answer is that it is an error in the system. Whether it is on the map side, a datum mismatch between the old chart and the new chart or the GPS receiver side, I don't know. But it is an illustration that a plotter only presents a theory of where you are and what is around you.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:48 PM   #188
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We've had AT&T internet access out 10 nm and more. It's likely the CDMA/GSM technology difference.
If you are referencing 4G LTE, they both use the same LTE technology. And 3G on ATT uses WCDMA technology. Tower placement, and frequency will determine signal strength.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #189
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Still, I would like to think that my experiences have at least some validity and are worth sharing with others without the belittling tone shown here.
I'm sorry you felt I wasn't respecting you or your experiences. I was merely disputing a statement that you presented as fact - that Verizon has the best coverage for the east coast. Last I looked, Maine is on the east coast and someone listening to your advice might be sadly misled. There are other places along the east coast with rather poor Verizon coverage as well. Correcting your statement by saying that, well, you have no intention of going to Maine or traveling offshore doesn't correct the factual error.

As I remember, AT&T had exceptional coverage on the St Johns River as well although we only went one day past Palatka.

Saying that Verizon is the best just because you have it doesn't make it true.



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I've noticed that the marinas that sponsor AC seem to have a much more glowing description than the others and the reviews by the members of marinas and anchorages are all over the place.
Are you saying that we somehow adjust the reviews left by other boaters? Really?

Sponsor marinas of ActiveCaptain get better reviews because they are the better marinas. Every week we turn down marinas who want to pay for sponsorship because we don't think they're good enough. Immediately, the population of sponsors is thereby tilted toward better facilities.



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One marina we stayed at was just a dock and a bar with restrooms but no showers and someone gave it five stars. Another had everything, beautiful facilities, pools laundry, four blocks to a shopping center, but some nut case gave it one star claiming they wouldn't let you work on your boat there.
I seriously doubt that anyone decides to go to a marina just by the "stars" they get. You have to read the reviews to get any meaning. Different people use the star ratings to mean different things. At best, it's an index and approximation of quality.



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I don't know why on this forum, every post seems to invite a battle.
You seriously wrote that??
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:25 PM   #190
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If you are referencing 4G LTE, they both use the same LTE technology. And 3G on ATT uses WCDMA technology. Tower placement, and frequency will determine signal strength.
I've noticed pretty consistently that when you venture offshore, 4G goes away leaving older 3G (and even older) support. Verizon falls away to nothing very, very quickly. It could be tower placement or Verizon could aim for a larger number of smaller powered towers that don't spill as well offshore. I'm not sure.

Coming into Clearwater last winter from the gulf was quite dramatic. We were doing email and having a grand ole time with AT&T quite far out but couldn't even connect with Verizon until we were almost at the inlet - probably less than 2 miles out there.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:58 PM   #191
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I've noticed pretty consistently that when you venture offshore, 4G goes away leaving older 3G (and even older) support. Verizon falls away to nothing very, very quickly. It could be tower placement or Verizon could aim for a larger number of smaller powered towers that don't spill as well offshore. I'm not sure.

Coming into Clearwater last winter from the gulf was quite dramatic. We were doing email and having a grand ole time with AT&T quite far out but couldn't even connect with Verizon until we were almost at the inlet - probably less than 2 miles out there.
We've played around just out of curiosity to see what does what. Just like on land, every where you go is different. We've had a couple of areas where we got incredible distance on Sprint 4G LTE and that shocked us. Of course total silence in others. Verizon and AT&T, it always seems one picks up when the other doesn't. Sometimes too we've found roaming worked and other times not. But actually with roaming we found all about the same as they switch to their competitor for roaming.

We wished later that we'd documented and kept records of what we found, but we were just playing around with it and did not.

If you're doing coastal cruising you can probably live most of them. However, covering distances, crossing the Gulf, going to the Bahamas, there is no cellular that we can live with.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:23 PM   #192
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Hot spot

We have no internet equipment as yet on our boat, except AT&T 3G on our iPhones and iPads. (I guess it's 3G but my iPad was bought in May 2014, so maybe it's 4G) My dealer has recommended that I buy a "local hot-spot" from Best-buy for about $50. I'm not at all sure what this will get us.

After reading all of the expertise here, which is really informative, I'm feeling really good about just keeping it simple with our cellular signal, at least for now.

Thanks to all of you for posting!
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:49 AM   #193
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We have no internet equipment as yet on our boat, except AT&T 3G on our iPhones and iPads. (I guess it's 3G but my iPad was bought in May 2014, so maybe it's 4G) My dealer has recommended that I buy a "local hot-spot" from Best-buy for about $50. I'm not at all sure what this will get us.

After reading all of the expertise here, which is really informative, I'm feeling really good about just keeping it simple with our cellular signal, at least for now.

Thanks to all of you for posting!
A hot spot uses a cellular signal just like a cell phone does. It lets you connect devices to the Internet that don't do that inherently. My laptop, for example. Mine will allow several computers to connect to the Internet at once but I only take one with me.

If your device connects to the Internet you don't need a hotspot.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:40 AM   #194
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I think most will agree that all forms of navigation work in most situations, charts, GPS, or Active Captain. What I have found though that is the most true and accurate form of navigation is the Mark I mod 0 eyeball. Over time and experience, we all start to recognize certain patterns in water flow or color etc. It's hard to get in trouble with eyes out but very easy when your face is buried in a RADAR, plotter etc.
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:35 AM   #195
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What I have found though that is the most true and accurate form of navigation is the Mark I mod 0 eyeball. Over time and experience, we all start to recognize certain patterns in water flow or color etc. It's hard to get in trouble with eyes out but very easy when your face is buried in a RADAR, plotter etc.
Hear hear! As I've said a few times, the most important navigation tools on the ICW are a good pair of binoculars, a tide table and your depth sounder. Pair those with say, the Kettlewell or Doyle chart books and you are good to go, with the exception of needing radar every so often (or just staying still if you don't have one). Lot's of people have fun and transit the ICW with just those.

As for GPS reliability, I was going through the archives and found this example of GPS getting jiggy on ya. A computer hooked to a different receiver showed the same thing,

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Old 08-16-2014, 11:46 AM   #196
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For that matter, Columbus did pretty well with a compass, ship log (speed), and an hour glass. He may not have navigated exactly to his planned spot but he got pretty close.
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:59 AM   #197
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For that matter, Columbus did pretty well with a compass, ship log (speed), and an hour glass. He may not have navigated exactly to his planned spot but he got pretty close.
And the coastlines are littered with the remains of sunken vessels who used all those romantic navigation tools.

And TowBoat US does quite a nice job towing people off shoaling that has formed since the last storm that is documented clearly through modern navigation means.

You can all sing praises about the good ole days of paper and compasses. I'll take GPS, high tech electronics, and online systems providing the latest in hazard and local knowledge. I'd prefer to not end up as an obstruction on the next NOAA chart or the customer of any towing company.
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:45 PM   #198
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Hey...we have a holiday for a guy who was on the wrong side of the planet (was looking for the East Indies) and discovered the Bahamas not the US.....but whose nitpicking...
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:42 PM   #199
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Heading our tomorrow, Sept. 12.
We are very excited about our journey to SW Florida.
Thank you for all of your best advice. Maybe we'll have the privilege of seeing some of you along the way.
Looks like our AIS is not transmitting- a bit disappointment. This Raymarine equipment seems to be a bit quirky.
It's not stuck on silent mode anymore but I don't see us on Marinetraffic.com
I hope I can get this resolved.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:52 PM   #200
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You want another AIS receiver to see you and validate your transmission, don't rely on Marine Traffic.

When you get towards NC, let us know!
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