Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

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blueythe
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Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by blueythe » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:17 pm

My missus is great. She puts up with my paddling obsession and never stops me doing and buying what I like as long as I can justify it to myself. I suspect she secretly enjoys the peace and quiet too, but I digress. However, there is one rule that must never be broken and that is I have to report in at an agreed time when off the water. Well, fellow paddlers you all know it's not always that simple. Time drifts when you are having such a good time, kayaking is the faffiest of all sports or your timings are off because of weather etc. I paddle with a friend mostly on Anglesey and I often find myself often in areas with little or no mobile signal.

Not too long ago I found myself in such an area and late, I had assumed would have good coverage because it is so popular and close to Holyhead. To cut a long story short the missus phoned the coastguard and I got the bollick$%£ of my life when I got back. To be fair the coastguard was great and told her she had done the right thing and I am sure they had a good chuckle when she told them what she was going to do to me after confirming that I was back and safe.

Anyway to the point of this post, the only way I can see of solving this in the future is to fork out a wedge of money on a satellite coms device. I am also going to be paddling in some more remote areas and have a trip planned next year to Alaska with a group from Liverpool CC. I have been looking at the new Garmin inReach device and they look a great piece of kit.

Has anyone experience of this or similar device? I believe Garmin have bought the rights from Delorme.

I already have a VHF and PLB. I guess the only additional advantage is to communicate with text messages to family etc and they can monitor your progress and know you are safe

I already have my hand in my pocket, but would value any comments from fellow paddlers.

So, are they good and is it worth the investment to avoid any future mother of all ear bashings?

Chris Bolton
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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:39 pm

I have an Inreach and used in Sweden and Canada this year. It works well; the basic 'Safety' sub covers 10 preset message per month. A typical preset message would be "I'm OK but will be back 2 hrs later than planned" - sent to a predefined email / phone - and will also have your position when you sent it. Can't remember how many presets you can have, but you can send 'custom' messages for not much (10p?). The faff with custom is that you have to write the message; if you do that on the device, it's scroll to each letter on the on screen keyboard and press OK. You can get an app to write messages on your phone and transfer them. Device is also a basic GPS, it gives you a grid reference, and will send an SOS, and you can get weather forecasts.

Once you've bought the device, it's £24/year for the basic sub, then £17/month - but you can take it off the sub when your not using it, subject to minimum term of 1 month. So if you use it in 2 weeks in May, one in July & and a day Sept you could pay for 3 months. None of the satellite comms functions work if you haven't taken the sub in advance, not even SOS, although I think the GPS does.

It uses the Iridium satellites, which are more reliable in the far North than the ones used by Spot, so should be good for Alaska.

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Jim
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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by Jim » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:59 pm

I'm sure there is a way to do ship to shore calls through VHF but it may be quite expensive.

Surely an easier solution would be to log your trip with the coastguard, and if you are running late call in to let them know your plans have changed and a new ETA. If you use CG66 to permanently register your details with CG so they have your description on file, you can refer to it whenever you call in and so can your missus.

Another approach would be to work out your ETA and add a couple of hours before you tell her.

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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by Owen » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:49 am

I'm another InReach user I've had mine a couple of years and have used it mainly for some long backpacking trips in Sweden and Scotland. Their waterproof (to IP7 I think, I haven't checked) same as my VHF which I use just clipped to my BA without any problems with water ingress. If you have a smartphone it's worth downloading the "Earthmate" App - it's free - so you can write your messages on the phone. Whether it would be worth the cost just for use in OK waters is up to you, they're quite expensive. Couldn't you just tell your wife not to panic until your more than say three hours overdue?

InReach are now part of Garmin.

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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by rowlandW » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:39 am

Far cheaper and does the thing you actually need - provided your wife has access to email via some device - is a SPoT locator. Nigh on worldwide coverage and reliable. Used it to 'report in' going around GB, and there were many places where the alternatives of VHF and phone (regardless of SIM card variety) plain did not work. If you can see the sky, the SPoT will get the message through.

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GrahamC
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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by GrahamC » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:27 am

I used an inreach for a few years (now sold to another poster in this thread!) and it was very reliable - the two way messaging option is very effective. I found that I was using it every weekend but realistically the subscription was expensive for the amount I actually NEEDED it. I now carry a waterproof (but it still goes in an aquapac) dual SIM no frills mobile with a PAYG SIM from Asda (EE network) and O2. I can generally get a signal on one of these networks anywhere around Anglesey. My main mobile is on 3 and that network has very patchy coverage. I will usually send text messages and these may be sent and received as the phone moves through areas of contact. Because texts wait until the signal is there, unlike a call when you need to be in a covered area when making it, they can be a bit more reliable. I always suggest people send me a text and I make a point of checking every 20 minutes as I can't always hear the notification. Also, mobile (and vhf) coverage around Anglesey is much better offshore than near to the cliffs. In addition to the mobile I also carry a vhf and PLB and often flares.

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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by blueythe » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:35 pm

Thanks for all the comments and advice. I've pretty much tried most these and particularly the 2-3h addition to the expected time won't cut it when I'm out for most of the day anyhow. I've look at the Inreach explorer+ and I think with a basic subscription of £12 a month I am gonna give it a try. I don't have a GPS, so with this function on the explorer + I am going to get a lot of features in one unit that will be useful for me and give her in doors peace of mind. I particularly like the preset messages, One button and I get a hot meal when back instead of the Paddington Bear hard stare (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_XjlVrrU_A). The weather function and SOS will be very useful in remote areas such as Alaska.

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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by Sheepskin » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:01 pm

Check out Yellowbrick they're used on ocean rowing expeditions so rugged.
Think you can rent them
https://www.ybtracking.com/

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Re: Is this worth it to avoid a serious Bolli@&%£$

Post by Arthur » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:02 pm

Owen: Couldn't you just tell your wife not to panic until your more than say three hours overdue?

+ 1 to that. Essential to have the NECESSARY safety gear to suit the circumstances, but as for 'serious b****s' from your wife
that ^ was my first thought. Good luck with the gear hunting... and the marriage. ;-)

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