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Best Cell phone data coverage in the Chesapeake and ICW to Oriental NC

Discussion in 'Cruising Sailors' started by Randall Schmidt, Mar 31, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

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  1. Randall Schmidt

    Randall Schmidt

    Joined Mar 1, 2016
    238 posts, 0 likes
    Oday 28
    US Tracy's Landing
    I'm making a trip from Deale MD to Oriental NC on my O'Day 28 and have a need to maintain at least cell phone accessibility and most of the time I need to have data network accessibility while sailing or motoring down the ICW. I'm wondering how good the coverage is? I have AT&T and Sprint cell phones. I could buy a Verizon device to have data coverage if that would really help. Coverage maps from the carriers that I've found only show their land coverage, not coverage over the bays or sounds.
     


  2. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,292 posts, 4,134 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA


  3. gettinthere

    gettinthere

    Joined Nov 26, 2008
    1,866 posts, 161 likes
    Endeavour 42
    US Cruisin
    South of Norfolk it's a crap shoot. Even in the town of Oriental, cell reception is very spotty for all carriers. Verizon seems to get the most votes from cruising boats.
     


  4. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    6,266 posts, 1,670 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Lake Martin AL
    I have sailed all the way from Baltimore to Oriental NC. I have had very little trouble with Verizon Wireless. Can't say about the other carriers but I have no motivation to switch.
     


  5. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,292 posts, 4,134 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    I just switched to T-Mobile They were promoting a hefty discount for Veterans.
     


  6. Mary Lou

    Mary Lou

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    15 posts, 8 likes
    Rosborough 246
    US Upper Chesapeake
    We brought our boat from Oriental to Rock Hall in 2016. With Verizon we noticed one remote place in the Alligator Pungo canal with no coverage and one in the Chesapeake somewhere between Crisfield and Solomons. In both cases we got coverage again in less than an hour.
     


  7. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    7,323 posts, 819 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    Second all comments in N C from a dealer perspective to include the Dismal Swamp passage being squaty
    Have all documentation and safety gear going thru Norfolk and stay away from the naval ships.
    Going thru the Dismal be cautious of snakes in the trees. You probably are aware but some do not know
     


  8. Steve90

    Steve90

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    9 posts, 13 likes
    Verizon will be the best. AT&T is almost non-existent in Oriental.
     


  9. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,292 posts, 4,134 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    What? They (the cell companies) do not share the cell towers?
     


  10. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    6,266 posts, 1,670 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Lake Martin AL
    Not sure but where I used to live in Virginia, Sprint was notorious for dropping calls. I have had company with Sprint who claimed no bars at my house but I had 4 bars on my Verizon account.
     


  11. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,292 posts, 4,134 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    @rgranger Did you try the Root Metrics app? It is pretty cool as it is based on actual use.
     


  12. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,943 posts, 1,489 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    You will need to get to a marina or facility that offers wi-fi to get reliable data services. Voice and text are better.
     


  13. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,292 posts, 4,134 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Here are images of the coverage. Verizon sure looks like broad coverage. Perhaps there are more Verizon users.
    0C205696-A225-4660-9ADD-950187550D57.png
    6A0E29B7-3BFE-4660-ACA3-E7EA9512D544.png
    A8026361-D308-486D-B8BD-E2D968A736EF.png
    32ED7D29-5286-4D29-8758-9DF32823CDD7.png
     


  14. Mary Lou

    Mary Lou

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    15 posts, 8 likes
    Rosborough 246
    US Upper Chesapeake
    Our experience was different. With the two exceptions noted above almost all of the coverage we saw between Oriental and Rock Hall provided data - most of it 4g.
     


  15. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    6,266 posts, 1,670 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Lake Martin AL
    :plus:

    Yep! Even used the mobile hotspot on my iPhone so the laptop could connect.
     




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