RNLI, the UK’s lifeboat charity and Inmarsat have one thing in common, saving mariners lives who find themselves in dangerous situations.
When it comes to the evaluation of the latest in high speed marine satellite systems, the FleetBroadband Skipper 150, there is no organization better qualified to test safety than the RNLI.
Lack of communications can mean death in turbulent sea conditions during a rescue attempt, as a recent video portrays. The high speed marine satellite system, the FB150 provided a reliable satellite communications telecommunications link for the crew of the Pride of Humber lifeboat as they struggled with the North Sea. The video reveals how crucial the demand is for lifeboat crews to have the capability of internet and email while at sea and how the FB150 meets that demand.
Because the rescue team had guaranteed service up to 100 nautical miles offshore, the technology of VHF and MF radios they were previously using could not operate.
Superintendant Coxswain David Steenvoorden said: “On one long ‘shout’ [rescue mission] we had an extremely rough, head-on sea, so we had the biggest amount of motion you can get on a Severn Class boat. However, we never lost the FB150 satellite connection – it performed extremely well. We like to see if we can test new kit to destruction, but in this instance we couldn’t.”
The FB Skipper 150 provided the team with the ability to check their positions with the coastguard, download the latest weather forecasts, provide wind and wave information. While en route back to shore, they were able to connect to a specific web portal to complete routine paperwork. They were able to work as if they were back in the office, a huge time saver for everyone on board. Because the data rate offered bandwidth up to 150kbps, this allowed the crew to email videos and photos back to shore while at sea via satellite.
RNLI operations staff officer Peter Bradley concluded: “FB150 has given very clear voice communications, very quick data communications and very secure communications.
“We’re very happy with the way the trial has gone.”