Starlink Maritime Plan Explained: Everything You Need To Know (2024)

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Written By Viktor

Product manager by day, Starlink enthusiast by night.

The overarching promise of Starlink has always been to bring high-speed internet connectivity anywhere on this planet. Our oceans are no exception to that promise.

In this article, I’ll explain what Starlink Maritime is, which equipment is being used, how much it costs (also in comparison to other plans), and how it can be accessed by regular folks.

What Is Starlink Maritime?

Starlink Maritime is an internet service that enables you to receive high-speed internet while at sea, which was launched back in July 2022.

The service, also called Mobile Priority, is largely aimed at operators of vessels, oil rigs, and cruises, promising them download speeds of up to 220 Mbps.

However, the mileage may ultimately vary, and Starlink states that speeds can range from 40 Mbps to the promised 220 Mbps for downloads and 8 Mbps to 25 Mbps for uploads. Latency is similar at 20ms to 40ms.

Since February 14th, 2023, Starlink Maritime offers worldwide coverage, with usage in territorial waters being contingent on government approval.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Starlink authorization for in-motion services in the United States on a non-interference protected basis.

This means that Starlink has to accept interference from other services in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band and must not cause harmful interference to any authorized service in the band. As a result, connections while at sea may be interrupted.

Maritime also falls under Starlink’s Fair Use Policy, which was implemented in April 2023.

As such, subscribers will receive prioritized bandwidth during times of high network congestion.

Lastly, Starlink is not intended or registered for use as a Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) service at this time.

Interested customers can order Starlink Maritime here.

Starlink Maritime Hardware

Starlink for Maritime comes with at least one Flat High Performance Starlink dish to ensure redundancy and obstruction mitigation.

You can check out the detailed specifications of the Flat High Performance dish here. Both the Starlink dish and power supply are water jet and dust resistant while boasting a rating of IP56.

Meanwhile, the router should only be used indoors. It is dust and splash resistant with a rating of IP56 as well.

For best performance, Starlink dishes should be installed on the top deck area with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as on either side of the ship’s mast, to ensure an active connection even if part of the vessel is blocking the view of the satellites.

With that being said, the standard rectangular dish cannot be used while at sea as it technically isn’t allowed to be used while in motion.

Additionally, Maritime subscribers will also receive a Wedge Mount, which should help fixating the dishy.

Interestingly, Starlink Maritime customers need to install the hardware themselves since SpaceX does not provide installation services.

How Much Does Starlink Maritime Cost?

On April 18th, 2023, SpaceX announced price adjustments for its Maritime service, making it available to boats of all sizes as well as different types of customers.

Starlink now offers three different Maritime/Mobile Priority plans, which are shaped up as follows:

  • $250 per month for 50 GB of priority access at sea
  • $1,000 per month for 1 TB
  • $5,000 per month for 5 TB

If you reach the cap, then service will be provided on a “Standard” data basis, which is the same prioritization Residential subscribers enjoy.

After you consumed the allotted Priority Data, you can still enjoy unlimited data on inland coverage (e.g., lakes, rivers) anywhere Starlink is licensed to operate.

And if deprioritized performance isn’t enough, then you can purchase additional priority data for $2 per GB.

Unfortunately, those subscribed to the 50 GB plan will not be able to access the internet (apart from being able to log into their Starlink account and purchase additional data) once they exceed their threshold.

They will continue to receive Standard data while at shore or on land, though.

Additionally, a one-time hardware fee of $2,500 is applied as well. Starlink dropped the price down from $10,000 to $5,000 back in January 2023 and then from $5,000 to $2,500 in March.

The $2,500 hardware fee are charged for one antenna, though. If subscribers need two, then the price essentially doubles for the hardware.

However, this isn’t necessarily that steep of a price to pay. Even Starlink’s cheapest competitor in the space is still more expensive. For example, Inmarsat VSAT costs up to $29,995 per month, with hardware costs that are even larger.

Related: everything you need to know about Starlink

On top of that, they offer substantially slower speeds and worse latency. One Reddit user highlighted those stark differences, showing a competitor with less than 1 Mbps download while Starlink reached over 100 Mbps.   

Also, keep in mind that Maritime (at least the 1 Tb and 5 TB plans, respectively) is aimed at large business customers and not your everyday joe.

These companies certainly don’t have a problem paying thousands of dollars every month, especially because they’re actually saving money.

Luckily, not all hope is lost if you’re a normie like me, which I’ll highlight in the last chapter.

Starlink Maritime vs. Business vs. Aviation

Starlink offers a total of seven internet plans of which three are aimed at business customers. Apart from Maritime, Starlink also sells Business and Aviation plans.

Here’s a tabular overview of how these services differ from each other:

 MaritimeAviationBusiness
Websitehereherehere
CustomerCruise lines, oil rigs, vesselsAirlines, private jet operatorsStationary businesses and enterprises
Monthly Fee$250 (50 GB)
$1,000 (1 TB)
$5,000 (5 TB)
$2,000 (20 GB)
$10,000 (unlimited)
Quote-based for commercial & government
$250 (1 TB)
$500 (2 TB)
$1,500 (6 TB)
Hardware Fee$2,500$150,000$2,500
Download SpeedUp to 220 MbpsUp to 220 MbpsUp to 220 Mbps
Latency15 ms – 50 ms15 ms – 50 ms15 ms – 50 ms
Cancellation PolicyAny timeAny timeAny time

As you can see, the plans aren’t really different from each other in terms of performance.

The only thing that varies is pricing, which is logical given that Starlink helps its Aviation customers to install the hardware.

Starlink Maritime Customers

Starlink has already been able to sign up a few heavy hitters to its Maritime plan. The most notable one was also one of the earliest, namely the cruise operator Royal Caribbean.

Here’s the firm’s very cool setup onboard setup where a total of six dishes are mounted on the side of the cruise ship.

royal caribbean starlink
Royal Caribbean

Its newest Celebrity Edge Series ships would be equipped with Starlink starting September 2022. Royal Caribbean isn’t the only one that made the switch, though.

American Cruise Lines became a customer in January 2023 while EDT Shipmanagement, a supplier of support vessels and services to the oil and gas industry, said it would trial the service.

A month later, Starlink also signed up Windstar Cruises. And in March, Hong Kong-based ship manager Anglo-Eastern said it plans to conduct 200 installations in 2023 alone.

Starlink also partners with resellers or integrators, such as Marlink, to extend the distribution and thus reach of its high-speed satellite internet service.

What If I’m Not a Business?

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. As I’ve written before, Starlink Maritime is aimed at on-sea usage and thus prohibits accessing it on land.

Conversely, Starlink’s other internet plans, such as Residential, RV (now Roam), or Business, are all meant to be accessed while on soil.

Interestingly, users in various groups, such as this one on Facebook, have reported that this isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, they almost exclusively seem to be using Starlink’s Roam option, which is technically meant for people that travel in vans, RVs, and so forth.

Unfortunately, it appears that Starlink has reigned in on the party. In early May 2023, SpaceX sent out the following email to users:

Boaters are thus forced to switch to the new Mobile Priority plan, which costs $250 per month for 50GB while at sea (and unlimited data on land).

You can then purchase an additional gigabyte of Mobile Priority data for $2. Consequently, folks subscribed to Roam will now need to switch their plan.

Lastly, Starlink also recommends that users switch to the Flat High Performance dishy, which costs another $2,500, to allow for in-motion usage.

25 thoughts on “Starlink Maritime Plan Explained: Everything You Need To Know (2024)”

  1. Hello Starlink team,

    Being a project manager for a few vessels in US GOM it is nice to see that the cost and speed is improving.

    One question has the upload speed increased? and if so what is the upload speed expected in US GOM?

    Andy

    Reply
    • Hello Andy,
      we are not affiliated with Starlink in any official capacity – only a blog that’s excited about the technology.

      With that being said, it’s hard to tell what upload speeds are like at any given moment in time and location.

      You can order Starlink and test it out for free for a total of 30 days (after which you have to bear the cost of the hardware). Plus, after those 30 days, you can still cancel whenever you want (Starlink does not have minimum contract lengths).

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  2. Hi Viktor,

    I currently have the Starlink standard dish with the mobility – regional plan. I’ve had the dish mounted on my sailboat since last November and it’s worked fine while underway while sailing in Mexico. Given Starlink is only “recommending” not “requiring” an upgrade to the high performance dish with the mobility priority plan I’m wondering if my current standard dish will work with this new plan?

    -Jim

    Reply
    • Hi Jim,

      so far people have been claiming that Starlink purposely ignores its recommendation to not alienate its user base.

      However, I’d get in contact with support to receive a written confirmation that you can indeed use the standard dishy while at sea.

      I think for now you should be good but it’s hard to tell whether Starlink will eventually crack down on the matter.

      Hope that helps.

      Regards,
      Viktor

      Reply
  3. My starlink at sea is getting slower and phone and text is worse in the last week I have noticed the marine dish is supposed to be better service

    Reply
  4. Hello Viktor,

    Thank you for the very useful information about Starlink Maritime.
    We are shipping company in Bulgaria operating bulk carriers worldwide . We would like to test Starlink on board of one of our vessels. Two Flat High Performance antennas will be sufficient.
    From where can we purchase Starlink Kits?
    Who will activate and provide the Mobile Priority service plan?
    Please advise which companies are Starlink authorised resellers – for the equipment and for the service as well. I would like to contact them.

    Thanks in advance

    Best regards

    Reply
    • Hello Aneta,

      Starlink Maritime can be ordered here: https://www.starlink.com/maritime

      Unfortunately, it seems that Maritime is currently not available in Bulgaria (when ordering directly from Starlink). Here’s what Starlink’s order page is reading:

      “Currently, our Maritime product is limited to consumer use in your market and does not cater to business use, including business taxes and treatment. Premium features like Public IP and the dashboard will be available at a future date.”

      However, try and enter your exact address in the link I provided above – I used Sofia as an example, which may be the reason as to why I received that message.

      Alternatively, you could try contacting Tototheo Maritime (https://www.tototheo.com/) – they are based in Greece and have installed quite a few Starlink kits.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. Hi Viktor,

    If I am on a maritime service plan the minimum costs are 250$ per month and I get 50 Gb on open ocean and unlimited on land.
    How is the situation when I leave the vessel in a marina e.g. for the winter. Can I then change to a cheaper service plan while I am stationary on board?
    Thanks in advance
    Birgit

    Reply
    • Hi Birgit, yes, that should be possible. However, you only can change from a Mobile plan to a Fixed (Standard, Priority) plan as long as capacity is available. If capacity is not available, you will not see the option available. With that said, you could switch to Roam.

      Reply
  6. No it is impossible for the moment to switch to a standard plan with the maritime antenna. This antenna must contract a business plan that Starlink does not allow to change to a Roam or Standart plan! I hope that finally Starlink will eventually understand the need for boats that winter the possibility of using the antenna with a Standard plan. The other solution is to have another Starlink Standart!

    Reply
    • Hi Achim, not sure if you’re referring to my article. However, I did not mention that you can use the Residential (Standard) plan while at sea as it requires a fixed address/location.

      Starlink likely won’t change this anytime soon. Maritime is more expensive since you’re “taking away” more bandwidth as signals are passed from multiple satellites to the nearest ground station and back.

      Reply
  7. hello Viktor,
    Let’s say i’m subscribed to the 1TB plan,
    while i am on inland coverage the data usage is unlimited or it will subtract from the 1TB, while there is data available?

    Reply
    • Hello Rodrigo,

      from Starlink’s FAQ:

      After a user’s Mobile Priority data is exhausted each month, the behavior of the Service will depend on the area of operation:

      For inland coverage (including lakes and rivers), users of the Mobile Priority Service Plans will receive unlimited Mobile data, which will result in slower speeds and degradation of bandwidth intensive applications during times of network congestion.

      While in the open water, once Mobile Priority data is exhausted, users will be unable to connect to the internet except to access their Starlink Account on http://www.starlink.com, where additional Mobile Priority data can be purchased, so that a user may reconnect to the internet.

      Consequently, both at-sea and on-land usage counts towards the 1TB limit. Once you exceed it, you won’t be able to access the internet while at sea (except for topping up additional data) or be on the same network prioritization level as Roam users when on land (including lakes and rivers).

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  8. Hello Viktor,
    the Starlink site does not offer a phone number to contact if you have questions so I hope you do not mind if I use your knowledge. We are traveling from the US (Ft. Lauderdale) to the Bahamas for 2 months in January 2024. We are looking at the 50 MB Maritime Plan with the $ 2,500 hardware cost. 1) will it work in the Bahamas? 2) will this be powerful enough to watch television? 3) will we be able to connect our Verizon phones to the Starlink network so we can use apps such as What’s App?
    Starlink makes sense compared to Verizon charging $ 10.00 per day x 4 people.

    Reply
  9. Hi Viktor,

    We have purchased the $2500 antenna, subscribed to the $250 per month plan and will install on our boat next week which is at our dock in south florida, Palm Beach County.
    Wondering if you know, besides streaming, will the local over the air network TV stations be available to view through starlink or will we need to have an independent TV antenna to view them for things like football games or other sports and local news?

    Reply
  10. Viktor,
    Hello,
    Can I purchase a unit from another source? Are the maritime Starlinks transferable if purchase from a private party? And still use our item when or if we can connect to Starlink?

    TY
    Steve

    Reply
  11. We have a nice experience using Starlink Maritime, using the 5TB-data plan

    We have some vessels, in the middle of the ocean using SL-M successfully in the last 6 months. Distances from the shore, ranging from 50KM to 300KM and the latency is most of the time between 30ms and 50ms and ocasionaly 65ms

    We were also able to create vpn tunnels to make some traffic be used in corporate enviroment, redirect non-internet traffic to remote corporate networks

    We had to “cap” to 20Mbps (using our systems), instead of the 150-200Mbps, to keep users and system from using the whole 5 TB in a week, as we have more than 50-100 devices in some places

    It´s a huge leap from high orbit satellites, which bandowidth is low (2-5Mbps), high-latency (500-700ms) and VERY (VERY) Expensive

    The drawback, is the lack of support, so we must keep plain old satellite contracts as emergency access, because SL can stop from its side, at any time, no guarantee of nothing, so, for business is risky to relay only in SL-M

    We´re still in doubt about how they count the 5-TB limit, it´s not clear to us, if it´s only download or if the upload is also added to the measurements

    Reply

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