Our new InReach by Garmin–Wow, is this little gizmo fun!
Our friends, Ian and Margaret, on Loca Lola II sent us the link to their InReach by Garmin last year. We loved it! It did not take Mark and I long to decide to purchase one for ourselves.
The InReach device uses Iridium satellite to send 2-way text messaging. Whether we are on the ocean miles from land or in the a marina, InReach allows friends and family to send us short text messages of 160 characters or less. This is a very basic system so pictures and attachments cannot be sent. Its purpose is for communicating short messages and for safety.
Being a Garmin device, it has a built in GPS that sends our position automatically at preset intervals. Our friends and family can track our route whenever it is convenient for them. Our link to the InReach is private. Only the people we send the link to can access our position. The GPS is scary accurate. When we were in Turks and Caicos the unit had us at the exact slip in the marina. It is not a real time picture just our real time position. The picture is from Google Earth. This accuracy would be really important in the event of an emergency. Which brings me to the interactive SOS feature. It is extra piece of mind to take it along in the dinghy or when hiking in remote areas. We can be located anywhere we have a clear view of the sky.
We like that we can pair the device with our tablet or cell phone. It makes texting messages a lot easier and we can read the map easier as well. It is a bit difficult to text directly from the device. Think old style flip phone typing. It is fine for quick notes or in emergency but it is easier to pair it to a tablet for longer messages and a much bigger screen.
To view our location our friends and family follow a private link to a website set up by Garmin. To send us a message they can email or send a text using a USA phone number that we provide to them. We have found that they need to add a “1” before the phone number to send us a message but there are no international charges or fees for them to send us a message. Just like texting to us inside the USA. We pay an annual fee for messaging. We choose the unlimited plan so people can feel free to contact us and we can send messages whenever we want without worry.
The addition of the InReach has been fun. We receive messages along our trip from friends and family. We get fun messages that make us smile. Examples; “Wow, are you stuck or just going really slow? You have not moved very far since I went to bed last night.” Or, “Hey guys! Slow down! You are going to shoot past your stop!” It makes being a tiny dot on a big ocean seem like we are less alone. The crowd is routing for us.
Another great thing about the InReach is it is a constant in our lives. We have had sporadic internet at times making emailing difficult. Whenever we enter a new country we need to buy a new SIM card for our cell phone which means a new phone number. InReach is always the constant. Our friends and family can send us a message to call them when we get port. They can reach us whether we are at sea or in port. They send messages and check on our progress anytime of the day or night. It is the one number people know they can contact us and we will get the message. It has been a wonderful addition to our boating life.
We do not receive free product or compensation for any equipment or items we mention on our blog. If you follow the blog you know we are not shy about mentioning things we don’t like as well as the things we do like. 🙂 We are just nice people who like to share what works for us and hope that it helps others as well.
Stay tuned for Communications on a Boat (Part Four)