How far offshore can you use a TV antenna?

Hand of captain on steering wheel of motor boat in the blue ocean during the fishery day. Success fishing concept. Ocean yacht

Who doesn’t love the marine life? Chances are you fit into one of two categories if you’re reading this article. You either have a boat which you enjoy, or you want one. And either way, you’re not just satisfied with the sea air. You want the full entertainment package.

Over-the-air TV is “having a moment”

Over-the-air television is more popular today than it was just a few years ago. Why? Because it’s unlimited free live entertainment! Put up an antenna and just watch what’s there. We’ve all learned that there is an end to the internet, at least when it comes to what we want to stream. Live streaming services are great too, but nothing beats the local channels. And by putting up an antenna, most folks can get dozens of them, full of the latest news, sports and top-rated shows. There’s also a ton of the shows you remember from the old days. It’s all there, and it’s perfect for those times when you want to retire to the cabin and enjoy

Antenna TV is perfect for boats

With an compact over-the-air antenna like this Antop UFO, you can get as much TV as you can handle. It’s even styled to match your boat! Installation is easy, with one cable to the antenna.

With a TV antenna, you can generally get great signal up to about 60 miles from a major city. If that city is by the water, you’ll get even better reception. This gives you better reception than you’ll get with cellular or even satellite! That’s a great value considering that you don’t have to pay for anything else once you put up that antenna.

The facts about antennas and boats

Over-the-air television works very well over water because often times you have direct line of sight to the broadcast towers. Calm waters and reasonable temperatures also mean that you get a small boost in range. There is one limitation and it’s not a big one.

Because of broadcast television technology, you’ll lose reception if the boat is going more than about 15 miles per hour. When the digital TV standard was finalized in the early 2000s, the people who created it opted for a better picture when standing still instead of the flexibility to move around. Most people don’t care because their houses don’t move, of course, But you do need to be aware of it while you’re on the water.

It’s not really a big deal since you probably have other things to pay attention to while the boat is moving, but it’s worth saying. And your reception won’t suffer from the normal motion of the boat. Best of all, when you choose an omnidirectional antenna like that Antop one, the boat can be pointing in any direction, as long as the antenna isn’t blocked by something else on the boat.

We’re your marine expert

Solid Signal has thousands of marine products and hundreds of antennas. You’ll find everything you need, plus tons of free tech support! Get started by shopping at Solid Signal, and if you need personalized service, call us at 877-312-4547 anytime during East Coast business hours! Our team of experts is ready to help!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.