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  #1  
Old 10-26-2008
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Sat phones - Plan C

In addition to an EPIRB my abandon ship bag will have a sat phone and a handheld GPS. I believe in having Plan Bs for my Plan Bs. The thinking being that while lounging in my life raft and enjoying the simplicity of my new boat I could casually whip out my handheld GPS and inform any interested parties about my situation and precise whereabouts.

Question is, who would I call? COSPAS-SARSAT list a phone number on their website but surely this is for admin. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Last edited by Edo Kazumichi; 10-26-2008 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 10-26-2008
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IMHO, you'd be better off with a handheld VHF, since the rescuing craft will have VHF radios... not phones aboard. Between the VHF and the EPIRB, you should be covered... Sat Phones aren't all that useful once you've left the mothership.
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Program in the local landline number for the Coastguard, they can start the ball rolling for anywhere in the world
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Old 10-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
IMHO, you'd be better off with a handheld VHF, since the rescuing craft will have VHF radios... not phones aboard. Between the VHF and the EPIRB, you should be covered... Sat Phones aren't all that useful once you've left the mothership.
Provided the EPIRB actually goes off, is correctly registered, and functions correctly.

A charged handheld sat phone holds plenty of battery power, and if you keep it in a Pelican case it will stay dry and functional. If your EPIRB gets away from you, a rescue craft could be chasing that signal while you float around miles away. With the phone you can also relate any injuries, missing crew, special instructions/needs etc etc. The EPIRB will only give a location.

One word of advice......don't get a Globalstar. Their satellite constellation isn't global (as the name implies), and what they have in orbit has serious issues. Here is a link straight from Globalstar, and I can confirm first hand that this issue is persistant to say the least. Their duplex data and voice systems are S#!t. They do however provide a handy tool to calculate when you might have a satellite overhead that can make your call (thanks a bunch).

Constellation Update and Advisory: News Center: Globalstar Corporate

I stand in the middle of a field (in the state of Maryland) at any given time of day and get zero service on my Globalstar hand set. On the other hand, my Iridium phone has never given me anything less than full signal. The Iridium is a fixed unit so it is inherently more powerful, regardless the signal stregnth has always been maximum since the day I installed it. Long story short, I use the globalstar as a doorstop.

Why not also pack a VHF with the raft or in the ditch bag?
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I agree that when the time comes, you will get to a point where you will drop the sat phone and get in direct contact with rescue using a vhf.


PS. When I say my phone, I mean the company. I don't personally fund two sat phones
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Last edited by Sapperwhite; 10-26-2008 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 10-26-2008
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I rented a Sat-phone last time I went offshore; the wife wanted daily position updates, but it became really very useful when the engine failed and I was able to call the yard for advice.
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Sapper-

True, and good points, but many people are less than calm when they're at the point they need to pull the tab on their EPIRB. EPIRBs and handheld VHFs are pretty fool-proof at this time... and far more likely to survive in a marine environment than a satellite phone.

If you can afford a sat phone, preferably an Iridium for reasons Sapper pointed out, having one won't hurt... but if you have to make a choice... I think the EPIRB/handheld VHF makes more sense... An EPIRB has no on-going monthly costs, either does the handheld VHF. So, if you're on a budget... it makes a lot more sense.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 10-26-2008
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Our satphone saved out butts in Grenada after Ivan. If you can afford it, it is great insurance. If not...do what the dawg says.
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Old 10-27-2008
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I just posted this on another thread but it has relevance here too:

When we were in a bad storm 400 miles from NZ we called Maritime NZ on an Iridium phone to let them know where we were and our "survival" status, they told us to hang up and they called us back at their cost. Small (minute actually) potatoes in terms of cost, I know, but indicative of their committment to SAR. They called us every half hour after the initial contact until we convinced them the danger was over and we were OK. They also called our daughter at her home every time they spoke to us to report our latest condition to her.

Each to his own but for me, going on a voyage, an Iridium phone is a non-negotiable and to heck with the cost.


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