Friday, April 3, 2015

DeLorme inReach On Water Test

I have blogged before about the DeLorme inReach. On my last (aborted) trip to Panama I had to opportunity, thanks to my crew Mike C., to observe one in actual use. Ed (Hooligan) and I had previously played with his inReach. From my prospective its major shortcoming was that one needed Internet access in order to send a message to a boat. (It turns out in talking to DeLorme that this is not strictly true, one can talk from boat to boat without Internet as long as they both have an inReach on board.)

Now Mike lives in the real world and is actually a small business owner. He opted for the unlimited messages "Expedition" plan at $64.95 per month with no contract. I think he got his money worth as my guess is that he sent and received several hundred messages over the course of our 10 day trip. With the exception that the inReach seemed to do better when out in the cockpit communications was solid the entire time. Mike had hooked the inReach to his smartphone so the entire interaction was on his phone, not the diminutive screen of the inReach. I think for both the people on shore and for Mike the inReach was a major plus - Mike as he didn't feel so alone in the middle of the (unpleasant) ocean and for the people on shore able to ask him how he was doing.

From my perspective I  would consider this device if I did not already have so many other modes of communication on board: SSB, EPIRB, Sat Phone. The ability to rent a month for a passage and then shut it down while in port is also a great feature. All in all I give it a big +.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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