There are a couple of things you need to know about the Sea of Cortez
It is big and it is very isolated.
In the summer of 2011, we went 30 days without seeing another boat between Santa Rosalia and Bahia
de Los Angles.
Even if you need help in the Sea of Cortez
and they know where you are, it will be hours away. There is virtually no commercial
traffic north of Santa Rosalia.
for emergencies is also pretty much worthless, since and most of the Mexican Fisherman do not carry any radios on their boats. The large shrimp boats do carry radios, but don't answer them, even when called by the Mexican Navy
During that same summer, I was a Net Controller for the Sonrisa Net and worked the grounding of a sailboat, basically in the middle of no where, about 70 miles south of Bay of LA and about 35 miles from the nearest road. It took us about 5 hours to get a rescue
helicopter to divert from another search and head
to the grounded single-handed sailboat and it's 85 year old owner. To find him, we had him activate his EPIRB
at the direction of the USCG, who was coordinating with the Mexican Navy
. They rscue helicoper also used the EPIRB
to home in on him.
So in my opnion, I believe that the SPOT Messenger is a neat toy to allow friends and family
a chance to view your progress, but it is not and should not be considered a primry emergency alert device for sailors
The 406 MHz EPIRBs are designed for a marine environment
and work well.
While we were in the Sea of Cortez, we used our Iridium
a lot to stay in touch with elderly family
.... North of La Paz
there is basically no cell phone
coverage or internet
, except for Santa Rosalia.
We discovered the Iridium phone
dropped calls frequently, even while swinging on the hook. Any change of direction usually disconnected the call, which became frustrating. Appearantly it depends on the angle to the Satilite and the farther you good south the worst it gets. Iridium is a good phone, but not good enough to be consider as primary emergency
So if I were you, I would definetly carry an EPRIB and if you can afford it a Sat Phone as a back up.