Another Data Point for Those Considering SPOT (vs PLB)
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Jim Larkey
(jimlarkey) - MLife

Locale: NoCO
Another Data Point for Those Considering SPOT (vs PLB) on 06/27/2012 15:49:48 MDT Print View

"Neverthless, a GPS-enabled 406 EPIRB is still Practical Sailor's first choice for satellite-based distress signaling."

http://www.practical-sailor.com/blog/-10824-1.html?ET=practicalsailor:e1571:171589a:&st=email


SPOT

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Another Data Point for Those Considering SPOT (vs PLB) on 06/27/2012 16:39:14 MDT Print View

Good report.

Conclusion

SPOT = Send I am OK and tracking messages to family/friends.
PLB = When life saving response is required

Brett Ayer
(bfayer)

Locale: Virginia
It sounds like SPOT did just what they said they would do. on 06/27/2012 16:40:50 MDT Print View

It sounds like SPOT did just what they said they would do.

From their web site:

"IMPORTANT NOTE:
Even if SPOT cannot acquire its location from the GPS network it will still attempt to send a distress signal – without exact location – to GEOS, which will still notify your contacts of the signal and continue to monitor the network for further messages."

The story makes it sound like SPOT did something wrong, when they did exactly what they said they would do. It also sounds like a case of someone picking the wrong emergency contact (calls going to voice mail when sleeping).

I would suggest that if you are going to hire a company to call an emergency contact when you need help, you should pick one that will actually take the call.

The SPOT is not an ELT or EPIRB and should not be used to replace one. U.S. Sailing requires competitors to carry 406 water activated EPIRBs. SPOT messengers are used for tracking by competitors, not emergency purposes. There is obviously more to this story we don't know, but the writer for some reason is trying to make SPOT look bad without knowing all the facts.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
spot and sailing on 06/27/2012 18:20:53 MDT Print View

Spot tracking recently allowed investigators to determine what happened to a sailboat that sank killing everyone onboard. It ran into an island at night. The spot track showed that it traveled straight into the island.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
"Another Data Point for Those Considering SPOT (vs PLB)" on 06/28/2012 00:34:13 MDT Print View

I agree that there is more to this story than what has been reported here.

I know that boaters often carry Spots for the instant tracking feature (especially in races) but they should also have a PLB on-board. So did this guy only have a Spot?

I'd be interested in knowing why the Spot didn't get a GPS fix when it was on the open ocean? I know mine is really poor under tree cover but on the water I expect it to acquire a signal.

I am really surprised that Spot's team didn't notify Search and Rescue but I have to admit, that having a third party involved in the notification process really does worry me as well. If I was an adventurer that was getting into high risk situations, I'd probably carry both a PLB and a Spot (for the tracking) or at the very least a PLB.

For me, I consider the Spot an "I'm OK" check-in gadget that "might" work for my OK messages and I will prey that the SOS button works on the off chance that something actually does happen to me (kind of a better than nothing rationale with me...). At least I would have a shot a getting rescued which is much better than past years when I carried nothing (OK maybe a mirror).

I will add one thing that is often over-looked when discussing the Spot Connect (vs a regular Spot). The Spot Connect can work with a smart phone and can send custom messages, so if you are "with it" and physically capable, you can pull GPS coordinates from your handheld GPS or your GPS enabled phone and send a custom SOS distress message from your Spot Connect that includes your coordinates. Nice to have the ability to add your own coordinates to the message just in case the Spot can't pick up a GPS position (and IME, Spots don't seem very good at getting satellite locks). After that, I'd have to hope the Spot team would know what to do with the coordinates that I sent in my message... but at least I'd have a shot at a rescue!

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: It sounds like SPOT did just what they said they would do. on 06/28/2012 01:33:14 MDT Print View

This:

"IMPORTANT NOTE:
Even if SPOT cannot acquire its location from the GPS network it will still attempt to send a distress signal – without exact location – to GEOS, which will still notify your contacts of the signal and continue to monitor the network for further messages."


I'm wondering if someone at GEOS dropped the ball on this, as the article gives the impression that a only single call was made. (No additional calls to the wife, no calls to Coast Guard, etc). If they were just following their policy, I would hope they revise it immediately as that sort of response is completely inappropriate for an SOS signal.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
distress on 06/28/2012 06:06:45 MDT Print View

Satellite based distress signals are a luxury we have today. Unfortunately they replace common sense and discretion too often.

It is important to remember that NOBODY has any obligation to come and rescue your sorry ass. It is only done generally because we care about other people.

Spot sells distress notification service, they dont sell rescue service. No guarantees come with ANY distress signal.

Anyone on a boat depending on a spot would be a damned fool. Boats venturing offshore need EPIRB's. In Australia they are REQUIRED for any boat going more that 2 miles offshore.