Knowledge Base

How do I choose the right signal booster for my boat?

Marine CEL-FI GO Cell Signal Booster with 38-Inch High-Gain Antenna Top Signal TS559112 setup diagram The Marine CEL-FI GO G32 cell signal booster with high-gain whip antenna improves reception in cabin cruisers, motor yachts, tugboats, and similarly sized vessels. (Click to learn more.)

Whether you’re spending vacation time out on the lake or your boat is your business, you need to stay connected. Powerful Signal offers a wide selection of cell signal booster solutions that fix poor cellular reception on boats, yachts, and working vessels.

A cell signal booster will improve your reception in areas where cellular service is poor. Boats on lakes and rivers will especially benefit from a booster system, and ocean-going vessels will see improved service if they are close to shore. Remote waterways and the open sea, however, are unlikely to have enough existing signal to amplify.

Before buying a cell signal booster for your vessel, consider the following:

  • Objectives for the system.
  • Exterior antenna placement.
  • Interior antenna placement.
  • Separation between the antennas.

System objectives

Great Loop Marine SureCall Fusion2Go XR Cell Signal Booster with Poynting OMNI-493 Antenna The Great Loop Marine SureCall Fusion2Go XR system with a high-gain antenna improves cellular reception for all carriers in a limited area, like the helm or a table in the saloon. (Click to learn more.)

What problem do you want a cell signal booster to solve? Do you need better reception in just one small area, like at the helm? Or do you need to improve signal throughout one or more entire compartments?

A small mobile booster that can be used while you’re underway is a cost-effective solution. These systems are designed for automobile use, but Powerful Signal has added high-gain marine antennas for use on boats and ships. They typically provide increased signal strength within a few feet of the inside antenna, so they work well for one or two phones at the helm or in a berth. You can increase their range by placing a cellular router or hotspot next to the booster’s inside antenna, letting it fill the cabin with WiFi signal. Examples of these systems include the and .

A more powerful booster system can be used on a boat while docked or at anchor. The cell signal booster operates as a mobile booster while underway and as a stationary booster that can fill a cabin, saloon, or even an entire small vessel with usable cell signal.

Larger vessels may require stronger booster systems and multiple interior antennas to cover all the compartments where you need better signal. These systems should be professionally designed and configured to meet your requirements and your vessel’s specific design. Please call us at 435-634-6800; one of our design engineers will be happy to help you find the right solution.

Exterior antenna placement

An outside marine antenna collects the available cell signal from a cell tower and sends it to the amplifier inside your boat.

For best performance, the outside antenna should be mounted as high as possible (within reason), clear of any metal objects or other antennas. Mounting options on sailboats and motorboats will differ significantly; please contact us for advice on the best setup for your boat.

Interior antenna placement

You have several choices for the inside antenna that will direct signal to cell phones and cellular devices. You’ll get the largest area of coverage from a high-performance panel antenna (like the Top Signal EDGE panel) that can be wall-mounted or can be set upright on a flat surface and moved to where you need signal.

Antenna separation

Placement of the inside antenna depends on your boat’s construction materials.

Cellular signals pass through fiberglass with little attenuation, which may allow you to cover multiple compartments with a single antenna; however, this requires you to have adequate separation between the exterior and interior antennas so they don’t oscillate and cause the booster to shut down.

Steel effectively blocks cellular reception, so you don’t have to worry about antenna separation if you have steel bulkheads, but you’ll need multiple antennas—one antenna for each compartment—if you want to cover more area inside your boat or ship.

You’ll also want to be aware of the required separation between your cell signal booster’s antenna and other types of antennas on your boat.

What’s next?

Contact Powerful Signal at 435-634-6800 for help finding the right system for your boat, or check out our boat and marine signal booster kits.