A new classification of safety devices has been declared. SEND is an acronym for Satellite Emergency Notification Devices, and covers the relatively new communication devices such as the Spot Messenger (SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger
) and the Delorme range of similar products (InReach
Some time ago I spoke with people regarding these devices and there appeared to be some concern about their reliability. The obvious problem being that when one is well offshore and communicating on a frequent basis, any failure by the machine may be interpreted by nervous relatives as a disappearance of a boat.
There are two operating protocols. One contacts satellites on a continental footprint and works on land and along a coastline, the other is global.
As with satellite phones, the cost of communications plans is coming down. At the same time the reliability of the comms devices themselves, is becoming better and the units more rugged.
I am not yet convinced that I should buy one of these devices, but I can definitely see the benefit, especially as they are a fraction of the cost of a satphone, and the calling plans are far cheaper.
I am interested to hear from those who may be using such devices on their boats and I am particularly interested to hear reports of their worth when crossing oceans.