Tuesday, August 13, 2019

SOS and Communication

My oldest daughter was pretty worried about me heading out on sailboat adventures. I’d been thinking about getting a Garmin Inreach device but her concern pushed me over the edge into doing it.

I picked up the Inreach Mini by way of Amazon. Reviews said it should only take an hour or two to set up. That was the theory anyway. In reality it took me about ten hours so far. Part of that is my own stubbornness. The last thing I want to do is to get customer support on the phone. I’d rather figure things out myself.

When I finally did break down and call, the process went much better. They couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working either. In the end they had to purge my account and rebuild it from scratch. That worked. Then there’s a program that has to run on either a Mac or Window’s computer. Normally I use a computer running Ubuntu. I was able to dig up an old tablet that runs on Windows and was able to do the job.

Right now I’ve got the basic functions working but I’m going to need my cell phone to do the final stuff. Turns out there’s a smartphone app that’ll make the final stuff go easier. Unfortunately the cell phone is across the country with my lovely wife right now.

I looked at a lot of emergency devices. For me, the price on this one wasn’t too bad. Of course, the SOS function is the critical part, but it also can provide two way texting and satellite tracking. It works anywhere in the world and doesn’t need cell towers.

Not only will it be handy on trips, it could be useful right at my house. There’s no cell service where I live so when the Internet goes down all communication is cut off. At least now I’ll be able to let people know we are fine or call for help if we are not.



  1. That is a great device to own and most importantly know how to use.
    Too bad it's not ready to go right out of the box!

    1. Most people seem to have better luck with the set up than I did. Still, I did get it running in the end.

  2. Yeah, we back in the day, were worried about the same thing. So we , at that time went with the EPIRB.
    Though in hindsight , looking back on our experiences. Most likely it would have only let the world know that we had a problem. Yet probably wouldn't have done much besides let the next of kin know we had something go bad.
    Out at sea , you are most likely totally on your own and odds are and no one will be able to get to you in time.
    Of course you do hear about the one in a million rescues for the lucky ones....
    Yet we still paid the big bucks for that EPIRB.
    Redundancy is always a good idea.
    We also had a marine short wave transciever.
    Real safety gear and a liferaft too.
    Always, to fail to to prepare to fail.

    1. I see it all the time here in the mountains where people think calling for help on a cell phone will bring in a helicopter so they don't need to prepare. That's sometimes a fatal mistake.

      The price of the Inreach with basic service is reasonable. Having two way communication is a huge plus. It can also download weather info so that's handy.