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Old 24-04-2012, 16:13   #1
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Emergency Contact

We are currently preparing to cruise the Caribbean for an extended period of time. We have cell phones, but only using the wifi function when necessary. Cellular roaming and data roaming will be turned off. Therefore we are looking for alternative means of communication in the event of a family emergency back in the states. We have a particular family member as our emergency contact for everyone else, but what is the best procedure for that family member to contact us in the event we do not have wifi, or we are sailing offshore?

In addition, should we notify the Coast Guard or any other authority of our emergency contact back in the states?

Thank you in advance for any information.

Heidi
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Old 24-04-2012, 17:22   #2
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Re: Emergency Contact

coconut telegraph is the main form of communication,failing that leave you phone switched on................
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Old 24-04-2012, 17:45   #3
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Re: Emergency Contact

Sat phone, Very exy,

The other way round, Your Epirb has your family, next of kin, Recorded to the Epirb,

If any thing happens to you at sea, They contact your Recorded contacts first,
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:42   #4
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Re: Emergency Contact

Yes, I think it is a good idea to give your land contact person numbers to CG if they approve such a procedure in your country.

Try to select a person that has some sea sense to avoid false alarms.

You can get a 2-way communicator for offshore smss or else splash on a sat phone.

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Old 24-04-2012, 18:56   #5
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Re: Emergency Contact

Welcome to the forum.

This is an international forum, and your first post here doesn't give any indication of where your home port might be. This may have bearing on what answers your query may generate.

On a hunch, I'm going to guess that you're a citizen of the USA. If this is the case, you should understand that the US Coast Guard has absolutely no inclination to attempt to contact you while you are abroad just to let you know that Aunt Betsy died.

One of the biggest issues with cruisers is that friends and families will often be out of touch for weeks at a time. The best most of us can do is set up a voicemail or email account that we'll connect with whenever possible. Give this out to the select few who you absolutely need to hear from. Otherwise, you may want to consider a satphone system. Even there, you'll probably only end up checking for messages once a day, at the most.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:59   #6
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Re: Emergency Contact

Thanks. We have 2 family members (not familiar with maritime procedures) and 1 friend (is familiar with maritime procedures) as emergency contacts on our epirb. So I suppose we are covered there. Still trying to figure out how to explain to our family members how to contact us in the event of a family emergency back home. I suppose there is no quick easy way...
We do have SSB - no sat phone yet, but considering it.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:03   #7
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Re: Emergency Contact

I apologize, yes - we are US citizens. Thank you Bash for that information. That was my concern...that the USCG would not be able to make attempts to contact us. We do have a voice mail system set up that we can check whenever we have a wifi connection. We may just have to invest in that sat phone too. Any recommendations on a good sat phone with a reasonable plan?
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:09   #8
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Re: Emergency Contact

if you use a cell phone one of the problems I see is that in the bahamas and several caribbean island you are charged a fee just to connect daily even if you do not use it. It might be better to call in every two or three days on a land line to check for messages and go from there. SSb email can work very cheaply if you use it right on a daily bases.
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Old 25-04-2012, 15:44   #9
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Re: Emergency Contact

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidiho1964 View Post
Any recommendations on a good sat phone with a reasonable plan?
That depends on what you mean by "reasonable." I use Inmarsat, and there is a wide range of data plans available, some as low as $40 a month.

My service provider has a local number that people can call so that they are not paying international rates to call me direct. While this is nice for the caller, I'm still paying two bucks a minute on the other end.

More and more cruisers are able to stay in touch with Wifi. There are some good threads about how to boost your Wifi signal in order to get broadband while on the hook. But a lot has to do with how remote you are. The further you get from the beaten path, the less useful Wifi will be.

Most long-term cruisers end up using SSB, and there are email services that will connect via modem. While these connections are too slow for surfing the internet, text-only emails are not generally problem. Just tell Aunt Betsy not to download her pictures from the 4th of July picknic.
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Old 25-04-2012, 15:59   #10
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Re: Emergency Contact

The best way is via the several radio nets, either marine or ham.

To access these over long distances (more than 25 mile radius VHF distance), you need an installed and working HF/SSB.

The Waterway Net (7268kHz LSB daily at 0745-0830 Eastern Time) often handles such emergency traffic, as do other nets.

The MM Service Net (14300kHz USB daily from about 1100 to 1800 Eastern Time) serves this purpose also, and covers a greater distance.

There are several other nets which could be used. Also, the commercial stations (e.g., Shipcomm) could be used...they read traffic lists several times a day on several different frequencies.

The key to access all these services is to have a working SSB aboard, and know how to use it.

Bill
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