wi-fi for mariners

Seafarers from around the world are spreading the word: they have free access to the Internet aboard their ships in the Port of Montreal!



The Port of Montreal is earning a reputation as the port of call for mariners who want to speak with their loved ones and friends on Skype, or who want to stay in touch via email. The port has been providing free wireless Internet access to seafarers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, since December 2011. It is one of the only ports in the world to offer this service to sailors.

Each week, the Port of Montreal sends a new login identification and password to shipping lines. They forward this information to their vessels as they approach the port. This keeps the wireless network reserved exclusively for mariners, meaning there are never slowdowns caused by too much bandwidth traffic.

The Port of Montreal already had a network of antennas throughout its 40-kilometre territory, from Cité du Havre to Contrecoeur. The antennas had been installed for electronic navigation purposes and to allow employees who work out on the port, such as security officers, to access the wireless network. On average, the crews visiting Montreal log on 24 times a day, with several sailors using each connection.

“A ship that was supposed to sail to Montreal had to change its port of call at the last minute and all of the sailors aboard were very disappointed,” said Patrice Caron, an inspector with the International Transport Workers’ Federation for Quebec and Ontario.



The Port of Montreal won the International Association of Ports and Harbors’ bronze 2013 Port Communications Award for its free Wi-Fi for seafarers project. The IAPH presented the awards at its 28th World Ports Conference held in Los Angeles from May 6 to 10. Gaétan Vigneault, the port’s director of information technology, accepted the award on behalf of the Montreal Port Authority and the team that implemented the project.

“Our Wi-Fi network is both secure and multifunctional,” Mr. Vigneault said during his acceptance speech. “Teamwork was behind its successful implementation, which required a multitude of technologies for infrastructure, Internet connectivity and communications itself, as well as security, log-in and firewall software.”

Breaking news – Port of Montreal harbour master Jean-Luc Bédard recently received an email written in Russian from the Port of Vladivostok, located in the Russian Far East, asking for advice on how to install free Wi-Fi for seafarers.