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Old 12-30-2011, 04:55 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Default SPOT Satellite Messenger Locator


We here at K38 Water Safety have been using SPOT Messengers for 3 years in our Personal Watercraft Training programs.

I have used various SPOT devices with great success for a couple of years in a wide range of applications. From land to water. While no device on the market is fail-safe or guaranteed, the spot is about as close as it comes.

With that said it does have its limitations and the user must be well trained in its proper use. As with any satellite communication device, there must be a clear view of the sky in order to transmit successfully. On my lifejacket I used to put them on the front chest, but after losing two of them (no they do not float!), I began to put them on the back zipper pouch instead. This gives it a direct link to the sky for my riding position for connectivity.

The applications from land and water differ, and only your personal experience and range of operations will assist you in the discovery of what works best for you. Make sure you have coverage before you venture off into extreme remote areas or international zones.

You can initiate another service for 'tracking' online. You will have to set up your account and log in your adventures. Family, colleagues and friends can view your GPS tracking through the webpage. You can add viewers through an online invitation via their website.

It is waterproof but you still need to maintain and care for it. When the service lights on the front panel blink 'red' it is time to replace the lithium batteries and check the cover for leakage or corrossion. (3 Triple A Lithium).

There is also a SPOT Connect. I have bought one but not used it yet. You can send email or text messages for non emergency assistance for SOS. The older models are called SPOT Personal Trackers, I have several of each model.

Thick overhead cover, channelized environments or high urban terrain can render it useless. Do not expect to press the button and have it be your guardian angel when you are in over your head. You must have the wherewithal to employ it properly.

It is a great tool if you are into the offroad adventures; mountain biking, camping or trail hiking. We use it for motorcycle trail and open desert rides as well as our personal watercraft (JETSKI) adventures.

My personal experience has been in varied terrain. I use it regularly and have never had a failure. I do not use the live tracking, so I cannot comment on that service. Before I head out on rides I coordinate with friends in regards to the ride plan; departure/return dates, planned route, contingencies and Emergency Action Plan should I get in trouble.

I have the ‘help’ message button preprogramed to send:

‘I need assistance, THIS IS NOT A LIFE THREATNING SITUATION, please send help’.

That is accompanied with my coordinates of course. The key is to have a competent network to send this message to. They, in turn, coordinate the predetermined assistance. The ‘OK’ button is simply to check in. This can be on a pre-coordinated time schedule or as a courtesy as you see fit.

The custom message button can reserved for whatever you determine useful. I often use it to transmit my camp location or send a ‘things are taking longer than I thought, don’t worry’ note.

Fortunately I have never used the SOS button. Based on my past experience, I have no doubt it will function properly. The additional insurance is cheap. Taking into account the cost of rescue efforts, especially ones involving air support, the insurance is well justified. I have been told you need to hold the button firmly for several seconds to activate it.

Bear in mind all of this has to be taken care of ahead of time and there must be effective, detailed communication between all parties involved. I keep the unit in an accessible front pocket of my riding jacket for land adventures. It is important to be able get the unit out even if injured. These are just a few ways to utilize the device.

When I am with a group or a class, I show them how to use it in case of an emergency and where it will be stored.

Most importantly, just like any other piece of equipment, it is up to the user to ensure it is maintained properly and how to use it successfully. In the end, every man is responsible for his own actions.

Analyze benefit versus risk, take action to mitigate that risk and take the appropriate action. Whether traveling in a group or out solo, the SPOT provides another tool for mitigating that risk. That saying 'know before you go'. Preparedness is what brings you out of the wild alive and home safely. Ask me how I know?

Below are a few links to some tutorials provided by SPOT.






About SPOT: The world’s first Satellite GPS Messenger which sends your GPS location and pre-programmed message to your personal contacts or an Emergency Response Center. Using 100% satellite technology, SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world, even where cell phones don’t.

To learn more about SPOT visit www.findmespot.com, requires annual subscription, starting at $99.99.

Safety is our Namesake. Why we use SPOT Messengers:

100% Satellite Technology
Works where cell phones don’t
Sends messages to up to 10 people per message
Check in (I’m OK)
Ask for “Help”
Track Progress
SOS – Calls for 911 service
Customer Message Button
Annual service required

SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

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