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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi ladies and gents,
first of all thank you for a fantastic platform to learn about so many sailing related topics. It is a great way for a newbie like me to dive deep into this exciting matter.

Just to introduce myself: I started sailing last year and joined the RYA competent crew and day skipper courses. It was a great experience and I definitely want more. In a couple of weeks my coastal skipper course starts and meanwhile I watch out for opportunities to step on a boat and sail. My wife and I are pondering about buying a sail boat and so I am looking for opinions and information of experienced sailors.

Today I have a question about on board data management. I am a photographer and I am definitely concerned about data loss and backup solutions for larger amount of customer or project data (> 2 TB a year). Because my wife and I want to go on extended sailing trips (6 - 8 weeks) regularly, I would love to have a bullet proof solution on my future boat.

Appreciate your personal experiences with this topic.
Thank you very much.

Thomas
 

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I set up a MS workbook for my boat... it has many tabs... one for each year of winter storage... one for boat statistics... one for calculating wire sizes and listing those on the boat... a maintenance log,,, and so on. I have a copy on the boat, on a USB thumb drive and rename them most current version with the date in the file name... and update the older versions with a USB thumb drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I set up a MS workbook for my boat... it has many tabs... one for each year of winter storage... one for boat statistics... one for calculating wire sizes and listing those on the boat... a maintenance log,,, and so on. I have a copy on the boat, on a USB thumb drive and rename them most current version with the date in the file name... and update the older versions with a USB thumb drive.
Thanks, how much data do you store with this process, let's say within 3 months?
 

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If you're talking about needing to backup terabytes of data, a thumb drive won't do it. Get a backup solid state external storage unit. They aren't terribly expensive. I'd store it in a water tight pelican box, with a desiccant pack inside.
 

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SSD's are the way to store and they are now amazingly cheap (esp in Europe :) )

Computer, cameras, phones etc do not like salt water/air environment at all.

My computers are expendable after 2 years. The laptop I'm on right now is 3 years old and just last week did a weird Black Screen of Death so I know its not reliable anymore. I am already hunting up a bargain port to replace 2 laptops and 2 phones. Phones get gunk in the USB ports (as does everything else) especially from being in your pocket. This fiberous gunk then gets and stays moist.

Any moving part on a boat is wrong.. and a HDD is a moving part spinning at a zillion RPM so SSD drives are totally the way to go.

Keeping backup drives etc in a "Pelikan" case with dessicant will help. but you cant keep laptops and phones in them as they are inue all the time.

Going in the dinghy I always have phones, electronics in Zip Lock bags.

R40 Personal Utility Ruck Case | Pelican Official Store

 

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We've had no problem with consumer electronics on the boat. Never put them in cases or dry bags or use any type of care. The computer I'm typing on now was bought in 2012, and there is an even older one on board running fine. None of the phones, ipods, MIFI's, routers, stereos, label makers, TV and the like have ever had any problems - and many of those have been on the boat for 13yrs. My wife has tons of cameras, including underwater ones, and they are just fine after many years.

In contrast, we have had many marine electronics bite the dust early due to probable environmental issues.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SSD's are the way to store and they are now amazingly cheap (esp in Europe :) )

Computer, cameras, phones etc do not like salt water/air environment at all.

My computers are expendable after 2 years. The laptop I'm on right now is 3 years old and just last week did a weird Black Screen of Death so I know its not reliable anymore. I am already hunting up a bargain port to replace 2 laptops and 2 phones. Phones get gunk in the USB ports (as does everything else) especially from being in your pocket. This fiberous gunk then gets and stays moist.

Any moving part on a boat is wrong.. and a HDD is a moving part spinning at a zillion RPM so SSD drives are totally the way to go.

Keeping backup drives etc in a "Pelikan" case with dessicant will help. but you cant keep laptops and phones in them as they are inue all the time.

Going in the dinghy I always have phones, electronics in Zip Lock bags.

R40 Personal Utility Ruck Case | Pelican Official Store
Awesome, thank you! Seems you have some experience with this ;-)
 

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I had an ancient (circa 2005?) HP laptop with a SSD running WIndows XP that I used to do all my navigation. I swapped it out last year with this one; a Dell Inspiron 15 5570 with a 500GB SSD. All my files and photos related to the boat are in my DropBox account. One of the reasons that I ditched the XP machine is that DropBox no longer supports XP. Otherwise the XP laptop works fine. Because EVERYTHING is stored in DropBox, I never have to do backup, and everything is available from any of my devices (PC, tablet, smartphone, etc.)
 

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Because EVERYTHING is stored in DropBox, I never have to do backup, and everything is available from any of my devices (PC, tablet, smartphone, etc.)
This only works if one has continual good internet connection at reasonable cost. If one spends time at sea or moves through other countries paying by the GB, cloud computing gets pretty expensive, and unavailable when not connected.

Mark
 

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This only works if one has continual good internet connection at reasonable cost. If one spends time at sea or moves through other countries paying by the GB, cloud computing gets pretty expensive, and unavailable when not connected.

Mark
DropBox caches data locally. I can use and make changes to the files in my DB folders without internet, and the files are automatically updated to the latest versions when I re-connect.

I agree that internet costs while travelling internationally could be an issue. Although, I did have internet access through my phone as a mobile hotspot (T-Mobile offers free international data and TXT on my plan) when I went to the DR, and St. Thomas two years ago.
 

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I didn't realize decent sized SSD had come down so much in price, might be due to replace my 11 year old external hard drive soon, now the SSD seems like the way to go.

I am a Youtuber, going on 6 or 7 years now, and I have had pretty decent luck with camera equipment, for me it seems invariably to be the batteries that go first on me, but I seem to get about 4 years or so out of a camera, same with a cell phone and I am very hard on my camera equipment. I do things like pitch pole my beach cat at speed with the camera taped to the hull.

I typically keep my videos on the Micro SD card while under way and only transfer to tablet once some where safe and dry. Then back up the tablet with my external hard drive. Currently using an HP Elite x2 for a tablet, which has a couple hundred gigs of usable storage. I am not taking 200 gigs of video at a time, so really, I have the Micro SD card, tablets internal storage then the external hard drive for back up. I don't lose much in the way of data but I have had situations where I couldn't film because all of my batteries were toast at once.
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Consider a 2-tier approach. Each tier gives a different kind of redundancy, so a failure that affects one tier is less likely to affect the other.

- Tier 1: Frequent, always available, decently reliable: use backups to external drives. Both MS Windows and macOS have built-in backup features. As others have mentioned, SSD drives are compact, no moving parts, and inexpensive. Backup and restoring are as frequent as needed: just plug in the drive and wait a few minutes. No internet needed. The drawback is that boats are hostile environments including humidity, corrosion, vibration, submersion, & theft.

- Tier 2: Less frequent, less available, but highly reliable: also use cloud backup like OneDrive, iCloud, Carbonite, etc. Their prices are reasonable but recurring. Backup and restoring is occasional because it depends on a reliable, acceptably priced internet connection. The advantages are that your data is managed by pros in big, fancy data centres that are far from the things that harm computers.

In both tiers, take advantage of any encryption features if your data is confidential or otherwise sensitive.
 

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I'm going to be a bit contrary here. As a retired storage engineer, I have done my share of data recovery efforts. If you get an accidental deletion of data on an SSD, it is GONE in sub-seconds; not recoverable (at least for normal filesystems). The newer and faster the drive, the faster it happens. You better have a backup of anything you care about. Windows crashes (though less frequent than they used to be, and less frequently) can do accidental deletions. All of the data recoveries I can remember were from Windows related. HDDs, on the other hand, you can do data recovery relatively easily.

As long as you can recover the data easily if lost, SSDs have many advantages: lower power, faster access, no moving parts. But there is a trade off.
 
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