BOATWORKING I do my office by boat: here’s how to do it and what you need


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boatworkingBoatworking, that is, smart working with a sea view? You can’t ask for anything better than that. Fabio Portesan, who lives aboard his Oceanis 430 with his family (partner, two children, two cats) reveals all the tricks for building your own “remote office” on the boat


Chat could be better than turning our beloved boat into the home of our business so we can work on board as well as explore and sail the world? If you too are tickled by the idea, here is a practical guide dedicated to Smart Working on the Boat, aka boatworking.

Together we will discover pros and cons, tricks and tips on what is needed and how to work from the boat in the roadstead and marina. For those of us who are connected to the sea in a double way, there is nothing better than being able to work from the boat as long as we follow some simple rules and cautions. We set out on this exploration of ours knowing that nowadays many companies are beginning to look favorably on remote work since it allows for a significant increase in productivity and a decrease in costs so if you think you could perform your task remotely, don’t hesitate to propose your idea.


Assuming that yours can be a Smart job let’s first see what it takes to be able to do boatworking. The first tool you will need to equip yourself with to work on the boat is a computer. In some cases it is good to have a second backup PC, the famous forklift. This is in case an accident happens to the main PC. After three years of working remotely from the boat there is one piece of advice above all that I can give and that is to make a daily backup of your work from your PC.

The boat is not the ideal environment for a computer because of many wear and tear and dangerous factors, first and foremost the brackish water which is also the reason why it is preferable to work in the dinette rather than in the cockpit. The second very important tool is definitely Wi-Fi without which it would be impossible to surf and work at the same time. There are many solutions for having a connection with minimal bandwidth. In addition, almost every month a new Internet offer is added to the already broad landscape. Contact your Technology Service Provider to find out how you can adjust in this vast field.

Focus/1 – “The Office” from boatworking by Fabio Portesan

1 LAPTOP “MULETTO” The first tool you will need to equip yourself with for working on the boat is a computer (it does not need to be marinized). In some cases it is good to have a second backup PC such as this, the famous forklift. This is in case an accident happens to the main PC.
2 COLORS ARE IMPORTANT Fabio works a lot with photos and videos: this is a small screen for calibrating the monitor and color palette.
3 WIRELESS, OBVIOUSLY A compact wi-fi module ensures that there is an internet network on board, which is essential
For the boatworker.
4 SMARTPHONES A GOGO’ As in the case of laptops, the “two is better than one” rule applies to the smartphone. Best, of course, if you also have a waterproof case to protect it when working on deck.
5 ENERGY AND WHERE TO FIND IT Nowadays smartphones, cameras, action cameras take killer videos and photos, but they “suck” a lot of energy. That is why the boatworker’s office cannot be without a large set of powerbanks: Fabio’s is a model that also recharges thanks to mini solar panels.
6 SD COLLECTIONIST The SD cards in the camera aboard Portesan’s Oceanis 430 are like candy: there are so many of them!
7 MOUSE? BEST WIRELESS On board redundancy is important: everything is (at least) double, even the mouse. Fabio uses the wireless one, the less wires in the boat, the better.
8 DON’T FORGET THE USBS! In times of “cloud” and digital storage spaces, you may run the risk of forgetting the good old USB flash drives, which are essential for storing and transferring between various devices of small to medium files.
9 DEAR OLD CAMERA Welcome smartphones and action-cams, but when it comes to taking high-quality photos and videos, a state-of-the-art camera is unmatched. Fabio uses Sony.
10 FRIENDLY TABLET The on-board tablet is most useful for writing, using it as a repeater of on-board data, and is an irreplaceable ally for viewing in real time what you are filming with the action-cam. Again, choose a good waterproof case to protect it
11 CONTINUOUS BACKUP In Portesan’s office, there are HDs and external memories galore. Never forget to make continuous backups!
12 STOP right there! A smartphone tripod stabilizer will help you in filming, especially if the sea is not calm!
13 GOPRO INAFFONDABLE The risk of your action cam falling into the water on a boat is more than real. Fabio equipped his Gopro with a float
14 IF THE WIND WHISTLES On a boat, you know, the wind blows, and if microphones are used, they must be protected as best as possible to ensure good audio quality. Like this one, with the classic “cattail” (to pair with the Rode in the photo).
15 STATE OF MIND TRIPOD A must for boat shooting: the good old Manfrotto-type tripod.


Before I talk specifically about boatworking in the roadstead or marina, I want to take stock of how to approach this experience by getting off on the right foot. While it is true that once on board you will greet the normal work routine, it is strongly advisable to adopt a work schedule, albeit a flexible one within which disturbances should be kept to a minimum. Early morning and early afternoon are perfect times to work undisturbed, especially if you are docked at a marina.

Once the work is done, you can devote yourself to you, your family and the boat, which, as we all know, always needs attention. Work yes but in moderation. Carve out a space that can be used for work purposes such as charting, part of the dinette table. This will help get you in the right mood and enable you to keep everything you will need on hand as you conduct your business. Give primary importance to the session. You will soon find that armchairs, stools and sofas will become uncomfortable in the long run and your back will suffer.

Then obtain an appropriate item such as a double pillow or a rigid ergonomic seat that will help you work in the correct position. Try not to sit in the same position all day. Go out, take a bath, go for a walk, take a little tender trip, go shopping. Moving every two or three hours is good for the body and refreshes the spirit. Organize your work using an agenda or organizer. On board I have an agenda for my schedule, one for the family and one for the boat. Learning how to use it is essential.

If you are not alone on board but have kids you will necessarily have to organize their day in part as well so that it is possible to work in peace at least for a while. As you may have already realized, unless you have boats over a certain length, space will always be tight and the biggest problem, at least in clement weather, will be distractions from outside.

Many people picture the remote worker as a guy in his pajamas with a cup of coffee next to his computer, and sometimes they do. Still talking about mood, I find it helpful to get some exercise in the morning so as to wake up the brain, have a good shower and then start the work. If you have frequent meetings, don’t dress only halfway! In most cases working in the famous pajamas is absolutely counterproductive. Let’s talk a bit about applications for working remotely. Nowadays, Google, to speak of a brand, provides a Suite that is excellent for communicating and sharing files remotely on which multiple people can work at the same time. There are many Apps that have more or less the same functions, and we certainly cannot list them here. My advice is to test them before you have to use them because very often these applications have to be configured.



Once you have thought about what it takes to work and how to do it you must also be able to deal with the difficulties that will result from your choice. As we have already mentioned working on a boat brings with it some not insignificant problems. Variable weather conditions for example. Regardless of whether you are settled or nomadic sooner or later you will have to deal with both wind and waves. If you are in the navy little harm, you can continue to work more or less in peace, but if you are in the roadstead working on the computer will be impossible.

Here are some tips on how to deal with an adverse weather situation. If you are in the roadstead you will have to know what the crosswind of your anchorage is, and based precisely on the wind direction you will need to find the mooring that will best protect you from wind and sea. Secondly, try to work in the square and not in the cockpit. I know it’s tempting to stay outdoors to check the boat, but brackish water and computers don’t mix. Work outside only if you are sure that water cannot reach the PC and vice versa. That’s right.

One wave stronger than others can tip the computer over and, in the worst case, drop it into the water. You will be able to remedy this problem with a rubberized placemat. Ideally, you should store your PC in its place whenever you have to take care of other chores. Otherwise, remember the forklift mentioned above!


Another big problem on the boat is summer and winter humidity both in the roadstead and in the marina. Make sure you have what you need to combat it and that is fans, heating and a small dehumidifier if necessary. I find it useful to cover electronic equipment with a fleece cloth that keeps it completely dry. Conversely, heat is also a problem especially for computers. Needless to say, avoid working with the personal computer in the sun or you will literally cook it. In summer, temperatures below deck can also easily reach 40 degrees Celsius, especially if the hull is blue or black. Equip yourself with a small additional pc cooling system, the classic table with fans that keeps pc and work surface separate.

When in doubt, direct the jet of a fan at the computer. If you then belong to the lucky ones who have air conditioning on the boat, do not hesitate to use it at least during the hottest hours. But all this energy expenditure leads to another problem, energy self-sufficiency. To work in the roadstead you will need to have an adequate system of photovoltaic panels or wind turbine to be able to keep the batteries charged and ready for use with 220v Inverter. Therefore, equip yourself accordingly.


So far you may have noticed that working in the roadstead is more difficult than boatworking comfortably and safely at the marina berth: it is true. In addition, for any move ashore with the tender you will need to have a watertight bag where you can store all electronic equipment to prevent it from getting wet. In the marina, on the other hand, even the worst of the storms will be less scary, the humidity will be lower, you will be able to use the Wi-Fi available to clients, and water and electricity supply will not be a problem.

But is it really all just roses and flowers? No! Distractions are tenfold compared to working remotely at roadstead. For example, the boat neighbor leaving and the other returning, the one who calls you to see if everything is okay because he hasn’t seen you in a while, the one who sees you in the cockpit and just wants to chat. Not to mention disturbing noises such as bars or, even worse, the Chiringuito with music clearly audible even from two miles away. “In Medio Stat Virtus,” it is customary to say, virtue lies in the middle. Ideally, both environments would be available; the roadstead when it is hot and the Marina when weather conditions are prohibitive. We have seen that working from the boat is not so simple, but with our advice, everyone will be able to find the remote work formula that suits them best and, above all, enjoy their boat as much as possible.

Fabio Portesan

Focus/2 – Seven “musts” for boatworking

Dell Inspiron

If you need a versatile Computer the Inspiron Series is just the thing for you. 2-in-1 function so it can be used as a notebook or tablet. Active pens turn it into a perfect organizer. Excellent value for money. Starting from 750.00 euros on

Panasonic Thoughbook 55 HD

If you think a computer that can be used on a boat should resist dust, water, vibration and falls from heights of up to 180 cm here is Toughbook. It is also designed to be able to work at very high temperatures such as those that can develop in summer below deck. How will it behave during a storm? Starting at 2,420.00 Euro for the 55 series on the website

KLIM Bamboo Fan Cooler Pad

Absolutely necessary accessory for cooling your notebook in particularly humid and hot climates. Keeps the computer in an ergonomic position so you can work at your best. Created from Bamboo to be pleasing to the eye. It works through a USB port. Buyable at
from 24.00 Euro

Glomex IT2000 Wi-Fi Antenna

Use the Internet up to 10 miles from shore with the IT2000 antenna, the new omnidirectional four-band antenna specially developed to be quickly and extremely easily connected to the latest devices on the market. Available on
at 252.00 Euro

One of the most difficult challenges posed by Boatworking is organization. This App helps in every way as just like an agenda. Simply dictate to your virtual assistant a note with a date and will automatically create an appointment alerting you later on arrival of the time and day on the note. Downloadable in Italian from in Free or Premium version for $5.99 per month


A great free application for organizing small and large projects where multiple people will need to interact. Once the project is created you can add the main topics, tasks to be given to collaborators with information and deadlines. Indispensable tool if you will be doing boatworking closely with the Company. Downloadable from for free

Google Hangout

Usable either from a PC or downloadable as an App for your smartphone Google Hangouts allows you to create corporate video meetings. It integrates seamlessly with the Suite of apps and tools that Big G makes available for free on both Android and Apple Os. Visit the site



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