Monday, March 16, 2015

Staying In Touch with inReach

For a while now we've been doing a little research about what type of satellite communication device we were going to take with us. It's a little overwhelming to say the least. Between looking at carrier options, coverage, plan set-ups/cost and device options I think my eyes were beginning to go crossed.

Initially we had planned to get a satellite phone that we could use to contact family and get weather reports on. Besides being extremely expensive, we weren't really even sure we needed voice capabilities. We plan to buy an unlocked phone and get local SIM cards for voice/data as we move. What we really wanted was something that would let our families and friends know where we were with an ability to send/receive text messages. 
Lightly used, in great condition
Then I read a post from Sundowner Sails Again talking about their choice of the Delorme inReach device and a light went off in my head. That's exactly what we need! And bonus: It's not out of this world expensive! 

So we bought this bad dad on Ebay (saved $100 off retail) from someone who had used it for a few Atlantic crossings on a sailboat. Hey, if it worked for them it should be more than enough for us!

From Delorme:
How It Works:
inReach SE (Screen Edition) is the satellite communicator from DeLorme that puts amazing functionality in the palm of your hand without having to pair the device:
  • Send and receive free-form, 160-character text messages outside of cell phone range.
  • Trigger an SOS and interact back and forth with GEOS, our 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center. (LOVE this feature!)
  • Turn on tracking to share and view GPS coordinates.
  • Color screen and virtual keyboard with predictive text.
  • Intuitive LED indicator for satellite availability.
  • Audible message notifications.
  • Internal, rechargeable lithium battery lasts about 100 hours at continuous operation at 10-minute tracking intervals with a clear view to the sky. Extended tracking mode can extend battery life even more for long-haul trips.
  • Designed for maximum durability in harsh environments (waterproof, dustproof, and impact-resistant).
  • Post to social media -->Aren't you relieved?!?! ;)
  • Built on award-winning technology pioneered with our first inReach device.

PLUS: We can get unlimited weather forecasts for a mere $80/year from SpotCast. $80 might sound like a lot, but trust me, it's a steal for something we need and will use regularly.

For a fraction of the cost of a satellite phone, I think our spiffy inReach will do just fine.


  1. Hey guys!! We absolutely LOVE our Delorme:) Seriously I'm so happy you went with this choice. Not only can you do spotcast but you can employ a "weather router"(professional weather person) to text you forecasts while you are sailing, say across the ocean. The rates vary but around $70/month you can get someone who knows what they are doing to send you updates. We may do this because you'll only need them for a month. The Indian Ocean will be more dangerous than the Pacific. Anyways just options. They BEST part for me is being able to talk to family and also post to our facebook page via the Delorme. You are going to love it!

    When you leave don't throw out your cell phones. You can use them for bluetooth connection with the Delorme which makes it so much easier to type and also for wifi as you travel around. We don't have cell service but I use my phone quite frequently for these things. Just a tip! Take care

    1. Hi Dani! I'm so glad to hear that it's still working for you out in the 'real world'. I know my mom is VERY excited about being able to text back and forth...she's learning to text now so she can be ready ;) Thanks for the tips about the phone...I was wondering how texting would work on the device itself. Fair winds! Jackie

  2. Yes, our family and friends feel alot better knowing and actually contacting us at any time. Honestly it feels we are right down the road. I've been in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico 170 miles from land, in the dark with high seas on watch clipped in in the cockpit and i've texted (on the device itself) to my sister and girlfriend back home as if they right there. It's a wild thing so far away yet just a text away. At the same time however it limits communication since you have to text alot to have long conversations...which is a good thing to me as well. It allows me to be connected, but not tooo connected like a phone. Similar to living 4 hours away from family. You are still a car drive away, but a very well thoughtout and planned car ride away. So exciting watching you guys progress. You are going to LOVE it out here.