How to work from your yacht and sail the world

If you have to work for a living, working from your boat is a better place than most. On a Sirius you can sit in the deck saloon or at the chart table with 360-degree views that are better than your desk, be that at home or office. Finishing your day typing on a laptop while sitting on the foredeck with a chilled glass of wine is certainly preferable than a commute home on a train or being stuck in traffic.

Since Covid, many businesses and employees have realised that having staff in an office is no longer essential. More companies are offering their staff the opportunity to work from home, if not full time at least a few days of the week. This of course is nothing new for the many self-employed people who have been happily working from home for many problem-free years. If you can work from home, why not work from your boat?

Technology, too, has played its part. Improvements in telecommunications, computer hardware, batteries and power generation have all enabled more people to work remotely from a yacht. As home working has become more mainstream, here at Sirius we have been getting more requests about how we can optimise our yachts to enable owners to work on board. This has included fitting computer workstations, helping owners to understand their power and space requirements and building bespoke office, workshop and studio spaces to suit their requirements.

Work from your yacht
As home working has become more mainstream, here at Sirius we have been getting more requests about how we can optimise our yachts to enable owners to work on board

It used to be the case that you’d have to wait until retirement before you could sail off, but many couples, and even those with young families can work and school children, while everyone can stay in touch with friends and family. Where once world cruising was seen as cutting ties, now you can decide how much of modern life you want to take with you. With the rise in popularity of blogging and vlogging a change of career is possible, although becoming a full-time blogger can arguably be more time consuming than a job.

Things to consider when thinking about working from your yacht

We can help you individually when you decide you want to buy a Sirius, but for the scope of this article, we cannot possibly cover all professions or needs. However, before you sell your house and buy a boat to work on, here are some of the constraints you’ll need to consider:

  • Is your job suitable?
  • What means of communication do you need?
  • How much space do you require?
  • Will you have sufficient power?
  • What equipment will you need?

You also have to be realistic about how much work you’ll be able to do and when you can do it. There may be times when you are required to call in for a meeting, and not enjoy the perfect anchorage you found the day before that lacked a phone signal. It’s also worth remembering that life on the water doesn’t always go to plan.

You cannot control the weather and if the toilet is going to block, you can expect it to be when your child needs to use it and the Zoom call has just started. Therefore, you’ll need to manage your expectations as well of those of your employer or clients, and of course the people you’ll be sailing with.

What sort of work can you do while sailing?

The most obvious restriction on your ability to work on board is your profession. Many types of office work can be done remotely, but if you need a permanent internet connection to upload, download or stream large amounts of data, it’s less practical than if you can connect at the beginning and end of the day. You know whether it’s possible to do your work from a boat, even so, our yachts have a versatile arrangement and more space than most, so if you think you can work remotely, we can tailor your boat to you.

Work from your yacht
Do you just need to be within mobile telephone range for an hour a day or do you need a 24/7 high-speed Internet connection?

How will you communicate while working on a yacht?

You can work remotely, either full-time or a few days of the week, great! The next obstacle is communication. Do you just need to be within mobile telephone range for an hour a day or do you need a 24/7 high-speed Internet connection? It’s essential to be realistic about how frequently you’ll need to be in touch with your colleagues and your clients.

While 5G is faster, it has a much shorter range than 3G and 4G networks, so unless you’re in a marina, don’t count on it. A good 3G and 4G signal are fine for email and voice calls and transferring documents or less than 100Mb of images. Even in places that aren’t that ‘remote’, like Scotland, trying to download a 30Mb album of music can be a challenge. Whereas in places like Canada’s Desolation Sound you cannot rely on any mobile signal away from the towns.

Depending on atmospheric conditions, mobile phone range off the coast of a country with good coverage is usually 5-10 nm, but as you’ll know, even on land there is no guarantee of a good signal for a voice call, let alone data transfer. In some areas, such as the Scandinavia, for example, even in remote areas telephone reception can be excellent. But you’ll never actually know how good or bad the signal will be until you are there.

Work from your yacht
In some areas, such as the Scandinavia, for example, even in remote areas telephone reception can be excellent

Depending on where you are cruising and how good your phone reception is inside the boat or in the cockpit, you have options to boost the signal strength of your mobile data and Wi-Fi reception. For working remotely, a great advantage that a sailing yacht has is her mast. Here you can attach antennas to increase the range of your mobile phone, mobile data and Wi-Fi reception.

The simplest solution is to use a mobile phone as a hotspot, hoist it up the mast in a waterproof box and then connect your computer to it. A more permanent solution is to install a low-gain mobile phone repeater on the spreaders or at the masthead. Depending on the model, these can be used to improve mobile phone coverage, data coverage or both.


If you only need to connect to the Internet occasionally, you may be able to do all your work on board. Then, when necessary, you can go to marinas, coffee shops and other places with Wi-Fi. The downside about these is that you need access to the shore, and the quality of the connection is out of your control. You should also be aware that some cellular network providers actively throttle, or restrict, the amount of data and coverage for high-data users.

If you’re cruising more remote areas and need to be in touch then satellite communication could be your solution. It is, however, costly, around €1,500 for a phone that gives global coverage (and around 60kbps) or €3,000 upwards for equipment for a fixed installation (offering 100-700 kbps). The data upload and download speeds are between 60-430kbps (not Mbps, the land-based standard). You’ll also have a monthly service charge and a plan that include phone and data, but if you’re expecting unlimited gigabytes of data, think again a 20Gb plan could cost around €4,000 a month, a 25Mb around €400 and for a phone, you might get 10 minutes of talk time a month for €60. Inmarsat, Intellian, Iridium, KVH, and Thuraya all offer suitable solutions for global sailors.

At the time of writing, Starlink has become available for maritime use. Costs are currently €3,000 for the hardware with a €100 a month service charge but these have come down considerably from the initial $10,000 hardware cost and $1,000/month service charge, so we are excited about the prospect of this service in the future as costs come down even further.

Where will you work on board your boat?

Not all yachts lend themselves to working environments. If you just need to work on a laptop or tablet, you can work wherever suits you on board, be that the foredeck, coachroof, cockpit or cabin. Ideally, wherever you work you should be able to see the horizon. If your saloon doesn’t have windows that you can look out of while seated, you could feel queasy in a rolly anchorage.

Work from your yacht
The saloon makes a great place to work, but it doesn’t lend itself to being an office if you need one or more large external monitors or if you have other people on board

All of the cabins on a Sirius yacht have the option of large through-hull windows. The saloon makes a great place to work, but it doesn’t lend itself to being an office if you need one or more large external monitors or if you have other people on board. It’s also easily to get distracted as you see what’s going on around you. We generally recommend using either the midships cabin or the forecabin as a semi-permanent office space. Here you can have external monitors, ample desk space, and you can close the door and focus on work when you need to. Anyone who has tried working from home with children in the house, let alone in the same room, will know just how difficult it is. If your cruising life depends on earning an income while you sail, you will need to be able to work without distractions.

One great advantage of a Sirius is that you don’t need a large, hard to manage yacht. Even on our 31 and 35 feet models, office solutions have become popular and functional over the last decade. Whether you’d like a dedicated office (or two) or a space that converts into a workstation and work as a web designer, video editor, writer, musician, architect, we have a solution for you.

The power to work while cruising

Work from your yacht
Many owners choose solar power, using the large flat top of the coachroof and adding a bimini arch to increase the yacht’s solar real estate

Think about how you are going to power your computer equipment and anything else you’ll need. Any computer equipment will need to be powered, either while you are using it or charged in between short periods of use. Reducing the amount of equipment you work with will lessen your power generation requirements. Many owners choose solar power, using the large flat top of the coachroof and adding a bimini arch to increase the yacht’s solar real estate. Sometimes they also use a wind turbine or two. By using solar panels, lithium-ion or LiFePo4 batteries and an inverter we have been able to help many owners fulfil their power requirements while cruising and working. The best solution for you also depends on your cruising grounds. Solar power may need to be assisted if you’re thinking of sailing high latitudes in the winter months, fewer hours of daylight and low midday sun conspire against you. Likewise, if you’re on an Atlantic passage, solar panels don’t work as efficiently as they do for coastal sailing. Crossing an ocean in a WSW direction means the shadow from the sails usually covers the panels from noon onwards reducing their output. Power generation is a vast topic, and we’ll dedicate future articles to the subject.

Work from your yacht
We allow room on board our yachts for a generator and increased battery banks

While we allow room on board our yachts for a generator and increased battery banks, relying on diesel for power generation will also require visiting harbours to refuel as well as adding a secondary engine that will need regular servicing, which may be more expensive over time.

Equipping your yacht’s office

As technology improves, its power needs are often reduced too. Nowadays the constantly spinning, power-hungry hard disk drives can be replaced by robust solid-state drives. Monitors too are becoming more power-efficient and laptop batteries last for longer. You may need an external monitor for your work, you may opt for the freedom of working on a laptop or working on a tablet with a wireless keyboard and mouse. However you choose to work, it’s important to protect your computer – either while sailing or from moisture when not in use – and the files you create. You’ll need to find a suitable backup system. This could be as simple as sending USB sticks of documents and photographs to friends or relatives – if your computer dies you haven’t lost everything. On some of our yachts, we have installed fully integrated desktop systems with twin monitors and a printer. On others, we just provide a pull-out desk to use a laptop on. Some are permanent setups, but many choose to convert a space temporarily or for as long as they’ll be sailing or owning the boat.

Work from your yacht
Whatever arrangement you have in mind, we can offer our expert advice and provide a practical solution

Every solution we have created has been different, and each has been individually created for the yacht’s owner. Whatever arrangement you have in mind, we can offer our expert advice and provide a practical solution.

Gallery