SIM Cards, eSIMs & Roaming Contracts. How To Keep Your Connectivity In Shipshape Condition!

Home > SIM Cards, eSIMs & Roaming Contracts. How To Keep Your Connectivity In Shipshape Condition!

In today’s digital world, maintaining seamless connectivity isn’t just a convenience; it’s a fundamental necessity, especially for superyacht crew. Whether for staying in touch with loved ones, navigating maps in unfamiliar places, or accessing vital information, remaining connected while away from home is paramount. That’s why we’re exploring the practicalities of three main connectivity options available to crew: local SIM cards, eSIMs, & roaming contracts.

Each option presents its own considerations, including cost-effectiveness, reliability, and ease of use. It would be oblivious not to mention the change Starlink brings to crew’s ability to stay connected at sea. Game-changer! For now, this source of connectivity is limited to when crew are onboard, so it will not be included in the comparisons.


Local SIMs

The pros

When traveling from one port to another, purchasing a local SIM card can be a savvy move to keep you connected. One of its major advantages is the potential for significant cost savings, as local networks typically offer more budget-friendly packages.

Having a local phone number can simplify staying in touch with local contacts and businesses. Locals are often more inclined to pick up the phone and call you when they don’t have to worry about the expenses associated with international dialling codes.

The cons

However, getting a local SIM card often means having to physically go into a store which can pose a problem when time is tight. While many countries have SIM card kiosks located at airports, this setup might not be ideal for crew members arriving at new destinations via more stylish modes of transport!

Additionally, obtaining a local SIM frequently involves identity verification, particularly when opting for one with a local phone number. Local network operators typically require documentation before issuing a local SIM card. This is also often the case for local eSIMs.

If your device doesn’t support multiple physical SIM cards, a big drawback of using a local SIM is swapping your primary SIM for the local one. This becomes especially problematic if you rely on your primary number receiving one-time passwords (OTPs) to validate transactions or log ins. Not to mention, the inconvenience of locating a SIM ejector tool or resorting to makeshift alternatives like a stud earring or paper clip!

Roaming Contracts

The pros

Let’s face it, in an ideal world, we’d be able to travel the globe with the same number, SIM, rates and inclusivity’s. For now, this is just an idyllic scenario, but roaming contracts offer the closest thing to it. Roaming with your primary SIM provides convenience and familiarity, enabling you to retain your existing phone number and without the need to switch SIM cards. This holds so many benefits. First off, it lets your contacts reach you using your usual number. That means they don’t have to update their contacts or you don’t have to hassle everyone with a new number. So, you can relax knowing you won’t miss any important calls from family, friends, or even potential employers.

Using roaming SIM cards ensures effortless connectivity without the need to switch out SIM cards or navigate through various deals for each destination. This process can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with providers who aren’t transparent about their terms and conditions, requiring additional research. There is also no need to constantly update your network configurations on your phone such as the APNs.

Particularly useful when you’re off the beaten track, roaming providers often have partnerships with multiple networks within each country, allowing you to choose your preferred network through your phone’s settings. A reliable roaming provider will offer advice on which network to use to get optimal signal.

In today’s digital age, the abundance of apps and platforms consumes substantial amounts of data. For crew, having a larger data bundle is often deemed essential. Roaming contracts frequently offer significantly larger data allowances compared to typical travel eSIMs.

When it comes to sorting out issues with your mobile contract, talking to a real human customer support team beats dealing with a chatbot any day. Especially if the roaming provider has tailored plans and services to suit the dynamic requirements of Crew. They can leverage their experience and offer valuable advice and guidance on unique or challenging issues that would likely leave a chatbot or staff in a high-turnover call centre stumped.

The cons

Roaming contracts, if purchased from the wrong provider, can have drawbacks regarding costs and fair usage policies. High expenses are a major concern, with roaming charges adding up quickly for services used outside your home network’s coverage area, especially for some less travelled to destinations. Additionally, fair usage policies may restrict data usage or charge surcharges for using your mobile outside of the home network for too long. For many UK networks this is normally around 60 – 90 days.


The pros

eSIMs present a modern solution to the inconvenience of physically swapping SIM cards when traveling. With just a few taps on your device, you can seamlessly switch between different networks and plans without the hassle of locating a store. Travel eSIMs often offer data plans at prices comparable to local rates, making them a cost-effective alternative to international roaming.

Moreover, the appeal of data eSIMs becomes more pronounced when traveling across multiple countries. Unlike local SIMs or eSIMs that are typically restricted to the home country, travel eSIMs often provide regional or multi-country packages, ensuring continuous connectivity as you move between different destinations, all through a single eSIM.

The cons

However, it’s worth noting that travel eSIMs usually lack a phone number. This can be frustrating if you need to make or receive calls, or need to receive important one-time passwords (OTPs).

With so many options to choose from, opting for a company that can offer a wide range of services and advice specifically tailored to yacht crew is the best way to go. They will be able to offer solutions to pain points you would normally experience purchasing from an operator or eSIM marketplace direct.

If you’re a CrewFO member, and would like further support on connectivity, log in and reach out!

If you are not a member, below are our contact details:

Email us at: 📧

Call us on: +44 203 538 8622 📲

At Crew Family Office, we are here to help Superyacht crew navigate their finances and make the right decisions.

For more of our financial services, designed for Superyacht crew, take a look here.

Published on 13th June 2024 in by