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Old 18-08-2009, 05:07   #1
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Spot Satellite Usage

Anybody have experience of using these offshore?
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Old 18-08-2009, 05:17   #2
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Not offshore, but used it all the way CT to FL and it worked great. Really nice, inexpensive way to stay in touch
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Old 18-08-2009, 06:03   #3
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Hello, Richard, and welcome to the Forum!

There's a fair amount of information in some prior threads about the SPOT Messenger. Here's a link to a site search on the topic: spot messenger - Google Search

I used one last November from Antigua to Tampa Bay, and it worked very well. You can check the SPOT Messenger website to see the coverage areas, which are probably a bit optimistic.
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Old 19-08-2009, 09:30   #4
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Spot Sattelite

Thanks Hud and everybody else for info.At seems that the best bet when going offshore is still an EPIRB!
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Old 06-09-2009, 15:08   #5
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SPOT and (not vs) EPRIB

I resolved my internal debate over SPOT vs EPRIB and purchased the latest 406 MHz EPRIB with GPS for our Leopard 42. I will continue to use my SPOT to update family with "We're OK" messages from every new anchorage or daily on offshore passages. This has worked flawlessly for us while cruising the Western Caribbean. I'll also carry SPOT when off in the dinghy or hiking remote areas ashore. In the event of an ultimate emergency on the boat, I'll activate both the EPRIB and SPOT. It's not really "belt vs suspenders", as both have unique capabilities and access to different resources.
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Old 06-09-2009, 15:16   #6
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I don't think the SPOT Messenger should be relied on as an emergency reporting device, although that option is offered as a part of the package. An EPIRB is much more reliable no matter where you're located.

The SPOT, however, is a terrific device for letting the people who care about you know where you are, and that you're OK. For the price they charge, that's a good deal in my book.
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Old 06-09-2009, 16:23   #7
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There is a family in the North West Passage using Spot working real good, here is their site Sailing Vessel Precipice - NEW
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:39   #8
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There is a newer smaller unit on the market.

SPOT is not a part of the GMDSS. It not an alternative to an EPIRB.

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Old 12-09-2009, 09:30   #9
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Re: SPOT as an emergency reporting device

Hud, with respect, I assume that you are speaking strictly offshore when you dismiss SPOT as unreliable as an emergency reporting device. Emergency reporting is exactly what it is designed to do. The non-emergency communication features (I'm OK, Roadside Assistance, Tracking) have the added benefit of routinely validating the system functionality. SPOT have announced Maritime Assist coming by late October. This will be interesting. Whether or not it becomes a viable alternative, particularly for coastal cruising, to EPRIB remains to be seen.

IMHO, for offshore voyages, a 406 MHz EPRIB with GPS is the primary emergency beacon.
For remote land based adventures, SPOT is the primary emergency beacon.
For cruisers outside of the USA, the multiple-agency (including the US Embassy or Consulate) notification of SPOT via GEOS International Emergency Response Center should be a real advantage in a life-threatening emergency, whether offshore or in a secluded anchorage or marina.

No contest, both systems are significant emergency devices for cruisers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
I don't think the SPOT Messenger should be relied on as an emergency reporting device, although that option is offered as a part of the package. An EPIRB is much more reliable no matter where you're located.

The SPOT, however, is a terrific device for letting the people who care about you know where you are, and that you're OK. For the price they charge, that's a good deal in my book.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:13   #10
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Two points...

My understanding is that the SPOT emergency response is a 911 type thing, and as you noted, appropriate for land, but I wouldn't want to rely on it at sea. The SPOT ops center makes phone calls to private SAR contractor nearest your position. I have no idea how that works in real life situations a cruiser might face. I don't know where the responders are located nor what their capabilities are, since I didn't look into that option.

Second, I found it missed numerous transmissions between Antigua and Nevis, and a few east of Eleuthera. I didn't test it south of Antigua, but suspect the coverage may get a bit spotty down there.

I think it's a good tool, but not a substitute for an EPIRB.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:38   #11
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From what I've read, the SPOT dispatch center will send the help request to different agencies depending on where you are located (i.e. Coast Guard if you are offshore).

The 2nd generation hardware which comes out soon sends the two previous track points with each track point upload, which is a nice feature to handle spotty coverage.

Regardless, SPOT is no EPIRB. Still, I want one for the APRS and check-in features...
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Old 14-09-2009, 09:02   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3
My understanding is that the SPOT emergency response is a 911 type thing...
No, it is not really a "911 type thing" at all. If you call 911 you are immediately reaching a government dispatcher in direct contact with SAR resources. When you press the "911" button on your SPOT device you are reaching a GlobalStar office. They will then call the appropriate 911-type dispatcher, depending on your location. If you pay for their additional service they will also send out private SAR resources.

The main point being that, with SPOT, there is an extra layer between you and the SAR resources. The other point being that you are relying on GlobalStar's commercial satellite system, rather than the government/military system that EPIRBs and PLBs use.

My guess is that most of the time a distress signal sent from a SPOT is going to be responded to as quickly as an EPIRB distress signal. I have a SPOT and, were I in a distress situation, I would probably use it in addition to using an EPIRB or PLB. But the important point here is that it would be IN ADDITION, not INSTEAD OF! I own and use a SPOT, but I do not--in any way, shape, or form--consider it a substitute for an EPIRB (when at sea) or a PLB (when on land).

This is meant in no way to denigrate the usefullness of SPOT. It is a very nice way--and well worth the cost for this alone--to let my wife know that I am okay when I am out hunting, hiking, fishing, boating, whatever without her. In fact, last year when she went to visit our daughter in Spain, and I could not go along, she took it and I enjoyed the occasional e-mail with a link to a map showing me where they were at the time. It's a great device. It's just not a substitutue, in my not-the-least-humble opinion, for an EPIRB or PLB.
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Old 14-09-2009, 09:13   #13
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in this economy?

Run the numbers. Spot = $100; GPIRB = $700. A lot of mariners are not going to look further than the price tags.
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Old 14-09-2009, 09:14   #14
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I would agree with the "in addition to" , but it does have one major benefit. Use of the system for its normal position reports will at least enable a test that it is working and data is being received.
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