Will a GPS watch work while running on a cruise ship?

I had a great question via email today that I just had to write about. Mandy has a brand new Garmin 410 Forerunner GPS watch. This summer, she is going on a cruise and would like to keep up her running while on the ship. That’s great! Congratulations Mandy, on keeping up with your fitness. But, what she wants to know is if her GPS will will work while on the ship.

Cruise ship running track

Image licensed under CC from Flickr user lotopspin. Thank you.

While on a cruise ship, there are 2 ways that you can keep up with your running. First, use the treadmill in the cruise ship health club. Just about all cruise ships have clubs of various sizes. And, typically, a least a few treadmills for you to get in your run.

But, if you are like me, you prefer to run outside. No problem as most of the larger cruise ships have a small walking/jogging/running track on the perimeter of one of the larger decks. So, go outside and enjoy the fresh air and run in many circles.

Now, on to the question…will the GPS watch work while running on a cruise ship. The answer is yes, it will work, but it will absolutely NOT be accurate while the ship is moving. First, out on the open ocean, you should be able to get a very strong satellite signal. But, if you run when the ship is moving, the GPS calculation tracks your movement and the ships movement at the same time.

Let’s say that you are running from the back of the ship to the front while the ship is in motion. The GPS will seem to cover a lot of ground. But, if you run from the front to the back of the ship, you will have covered less ground. If the ship is barely moving in a bay, you may even be standing still according to your GPS.

You best bet is to consult with a member of the ships crew. They should be able to tell you the length of the track on the ship. Then, you can simply count your laps.

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