We were looking for an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) for the boat. If something bad happens, we surely want the ability to contact search and rescue or the authorities. There is a lot of information out their about EPRIB and much of it is negative, in terms of the different products available. There seem to be a lot of people who’ve purchased ones that didn’t work. I think it is the best product out there, definitely a good value for the money.
I bought the unit at REI for $379. It is very small but sturdy. It has a good warranty and it is apparently shock resistant, waterproof and only weighs 6.9 ounces. It is powered by a lithium battery and recharged with a USB or USB to wall plug (provided). I spent a lot of time talking to the salesperson about the unit and its features. She owned one and that is always a good sign. It has an awesome bluetooth feature and can be paired with your smart phone or tablet for ease of use.
Information for the InReach Explorer by Delome can we found on their website. It is not available on Amazon or any discount store, for you bargain shoppers. REI doesn’t offer a military discount.
It is a 2 way satellite communicator and it provides the obvious SOS feature to signal for emergency response. The signal is sent out with your GPS coordinates embedded into the signal. You set the time increments of tracking from 10 minutes to every 4 hours. The difference between the signal pinging lengthens the battery life. The battery is supposed to last 100 hours between charges at the 10 minute setting and much, much longer at the 4 hour intervals.
This model has a plotting function that is out of this world. It’s like Google Maps on steroids. Again, it pairs with your phone and you must download the app from iTunes for free. You get worldwide maps and even maps of the ocean and waterways. It will track where you’ve been and you can enter waypoint information. You can plan your trips in advance and see that you are on course and it will check your navigation or give you directions. It has a built-in compass and an altimeter, which is highly useful if you use it for hiking. The maps show altitudes and topography, which will be useful for us when we explore islands when we go ashore.
I like the texting feature that this thing offers. You can send custom text messages to family and friends along the way. There is a 1 touch button that will automatically send an “I’m OK” text each time you push it. Family members, friends and even social media can track your journey together with your status along the way if it is set up in advance. I figured that this would be a good feature so that Aubrey’s Mom can know that we are OK as we cruise along. The device also receives text messages anywhere in the world. It is hard for me to believe that something like this even exists! I can see that this will almost eliminate the need for long, expensive phone calls from foreign countries.
Once you purchase the unit it must be activated. I am pretty leery about subscription plans but this system can be used for only 1 month and deactivated again. I think it will be perfect for use in non-cruising season if we aren’t going out that much. It is great for hunters or hikers who only want to use it during the season and keep it off otherwise. There are all sorts of plans that allow for emergency use only, a limited amount of texts sent/received or unlimited. There are discounts for yearly plans. The prices range from $15mo. to around $50, which seems like a cheap insurance policy that could literally save your life someday.
It has a cool function for social media updates that allow your followers to track your progress on Facebook and Twitter. (if you choose)
I am setting it up now and it is easy. I think the paperwork said that it should take about 20 minutes to set up and even a dummy like me can get it set up in that time.