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Can someone educate me on sat phones and so forth?

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Can someone educate me on sat phones and so forth?

Old 08-13-2019, 05:21 PM
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Default Can someone educate me on sat phones and so forth?

Dumb your answers way down please. I know nothing on this subject. I have a single outboard and would like to be able to call or text seatow. I have a VHF installed and a hand held VHF. I also have an Epirb. Iím mainly interested in being able to get help if itís not quite an emergency. Engine failure and so forth. Also to be able to call or text family or friends if Iím running late or whatever. Iíd like something cheap, easy and reliable if thatís possible.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:04 PM
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I don't know a whole lot about sat phones,.... but how far out are you running? Back when I knew something about them they were expensive and pretty much for the guys who went pretty far off. The reception also had blackout periods as one satellite went over the horizon and you waited for the next. Unless you had money to burn they weren't really an "I'm going to late for dinner" kind of a thing,

Last edited by NedLloyd; 08-13-2019 at 06:10 PM.
Old 08-13-2019, 06:17 PM
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over priced to buy and bend over for the service plan, forget about getting it wet (can't imagen how that would happen on a boat) Took one on a trip I had up the Maine coast and it was more frustrating than worth. Didn't work much better than my cell phone. I've been told to look into the garmin "in reach" but I have yet to do so
Old 08-13-2019, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post
I don't know a whole lot about sat phones,.... but how far out are you running? Back when I knew something about them they were expensive and pretty much for the guys who went pretty far off. The reception also had blackout periods as one satellite went over the horizon and you waited for the next. Unless you had money to burn they weren't really an "I'm going to late for dinner" kind of a thing,
If in FL you lose service as close as 4 miles depending on location and provider full black out around 5-10 miles out
Old 08-13-2019, 06:51 PM
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We have a Garmin InReach mini we use for off-roading/Overlanding activities and we like it a lot.

It uses the Iridium satellite network and sends and receives text messages and/or emails to whoever you want to send to. There are different tiers of service at different costs and we use the cheapest one at about $15 per month (+$28 a year to keep activated). You can turn your service on and off as needed but, once turned on, it's on for 30 days and you have to turn it off or it renews for another 30 days automatically.

It's worth checking in to for what you want to do. It's a good supplement (not replacement) to your EPIRB.
Old 08-13-2019, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for the input. I normally fish the South Texas coast. Usually 10-20 miles offshore but occasionally as far as 40. If itís on a Weekday, I may only see a couple of other boats and Iím sometimes out of VHF range and always out of cell phone coverage. Mainly just wanting a way to call for help without setting off my epirb.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:03 PM
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I have an Inmarsat IsatPhone 2. There are several coverage plans - if you want minutes to talk it's somewhere around $1.00 per minute, there are also a couple of emergency use only options where the annual cost is pretty low but if you use it for phone calls the per-minute charge is pretty high. The system uses a satellite that is roughly at the equator so the coverage is not good very far north or south. I have used it in the Shetland Islands, mountains of Montana and many times in the Gulf of Mexico 20 to 50 miles out from the Florida west coast with good clear reception. The phone is IP65 rated which means it's supposed to survive a water jet exposure but not submersion in water. On the boat it's in the ditch bag inside a water tight Pelican case. I have been happy with it and consider the expense worth it when out of cell phone range (have called Sea Tow once with it 15 miles out). Lots of info at www.satellitephonestore.com
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:41 AM
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Will Sea Tow respond to the Garmin InReach or other towing companies?
Old 08-14-2019, 05:49 AM
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Another vote for the satphonestore. I bought phone, pelican case 2 chargers and 200 units of service for under $1000. This year 180 days and 200 units is about $200. You can get 100 units and 90 days for $100. I usually run out of time not units. I learned you need a southerly exposure ( no t top in the way) and have to deal with a slight delay when talking. I use it every time I go offshore to check in with the wife. Texting is free.
Old 08-14-2019, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by River Hill View Post
Will Sea Tow respond to the Garmin InReach or other towing companies?

Iíd like to know this too.
Old 08-14-2019, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 7hetexsun View Post



I’d like to know this too.
I don't have an inreach but have been looking to get one. I assume that if you need a tow for a non emergency you would text a friend or family member that is on land and have them contact the towing company for you and provide your location based on the inreach tracking. If it is an emergency you would use the SOS feature on the inreach and their monitoring center would dispatch whatever emergency response unit is closest and available.
Old 08-14-2019, 07:11 AM
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I have an Iridium Go from Network Innovations and it acts as a hot spot and allows 5 phones to connect. Sent texts or calls. Flexible plans. Call SeaTow or whomever you'd like regardless of location. Not 100% on coverage but I think it's pretty vast. Something bad happens outside of phone or VHF coverage you'll kick yourself for not owning one.
Old 08-14-2019, 08:51 AM
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Have you used the Iridium Go to pull weather data to your phone? I am wondering if it is possible to get the weather radar on my phone like I can when I am in cell range.
Old 08-14-2019, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by River Hill View Post
Will Sea Tow respond to the Garmin InReach or other towing companies?
Iím not sure if all SeaTow franchises operate the same, but we called our local SeaTow office, and asked them specifically about the InReach, and the Spot that we had in the past. They gave us a number to text to and said they would absolutely respond.

The InReach is great. Letís us check in from offshore, but also lets those at home get in touch with us in case of an emergency.
Old 08-14-2019, 09:17 AM
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Most of the guys I fish with use the Garmin In Reach texter. I carry an Iridium sat phone offshore with me. I pay $6-700/yr for over 500 minutes. We normally spend a couple of nights offshore, so I use it to call and check in with my wife, check on the office, and call in releases if we are fishing a tournament.
Old 08-14-2019, 09:26 AM
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I have an Inmarsat2 phone that I buy the prepaid minutes for, it costs about $400 per year. If something bad happens far offshore it is comforting to me to talk with someone as opposed to sending a text and hoping it is received.
Old 08-14-2019, 02:00 PM
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Recommend Garmin InReach over Satphone...inexpensive, environmentally rugged (e.g., suitable for use in your ditch bag), reliable.
Old 08-14-2019, 02:02 PM
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No but the Garmin folks on watch will make a landline call to SeaTow for you
Old 08-14-2019, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 7hetexsun View Post
Thanks for the input. I normally fish the South Texas coast. Usually 10-20 miles offshore but occasionally as far as 40. If itís on a Weekday, I may only see a couple of other boats and Iím sometimes out of VHF range and always out of cell phone coverage. Mainly just wanting a way to call for help without setting off my epirb.
In most areas you can reach the CG with your vhf at 40 nm even further. If so call the CG and have them deliver message to SeaTow. In an emergency I'm sure the CG would make a phone call for you.
Old 08-14-2019, 04:39 PM
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I just bought a Garmin Inreach because I want some way to ask for help if I’m broken down offshore. I do have a EPIRB but that’s only for life threatening situations.

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