Attracting and retaining skilled crew is another major factor in the growing appeal of maritime VSAT. With VSAT technology onboard, crew can regularly communicate with their loved ones, in some cases free of charge, or whilst offering a further onboard revenue stream to ship operators.
In today’s job market, crew are demanding greater access to the Internet and the shortage in skilled and qualified crew is forcing the industry to respond. Likewise, the ‘Bring Your Own Device – BYOD’ trend where staff use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops on an employer’s network is taking off at sea.
A crew communications survey commissioned by Marlink, revealed that a growing number of seafarers see on board Wi-Fi connectivity as essential in order to use their own devices aboard ships. Unsurprisingly, social media, was highlighted as one of the most popular web destinations for crew whilst it was also revealed that many seafarers are prepared to pay for connectivity.
MSS solutions can be prohibitive for meeting this demand from crew, as access to phones and the Internet may be heavily restricted to keep within cost allowances. VSAT enables crew to stay in contact with family and friends at a relatively low cost to the vessel or fleet operators, enhancing crew welfare and loyalty and positioning your company and your vessels as the most attractive employer. Even as a paid for service, VSAT can ensure that crew connectivity offers value, whilst supporting the employers investment in communications.