You can’t put a price on peace of mind but fortunately Garmin has kept it affordable in any case.
A tracker, a simple communication device and an emergency SOS locator in one – the Garmin inReach Explorer+ lets you stay in touch wherever you are.
If you don’t have the cash to splash on an expensive satellite phone, this halfway house ensures that when you do venture offshore – where mobile phones and Wi-Fi no longer cut the mustard – you can still be tracked and send messages back to loved ones or crew.
The gadget allows users to send and receive simple text messages and for loved ones to track your location.
Essentially a modified handheld GPS, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ is connected to the Iridium satellite network, meaning that in addition to the plotter functions it can also send and receive text alerts, act as a tracker and an emergency SOS locator.
On test during a cruise from Nassau to the Exumas, the inReach Explorer+ took around 20 minutes to set up and functions proved intuitive and simple to follow.
The Earthmate app pairs the device with a smartphone and enables the user to download charts of the cruising area, which can provide a handy back up to the primary chartplotter.
On shore, the Explorer+ could be tracked on the inReach website charts, which included real-time position, heading and speed and gave welcome peace of mind.
What was really impressive, and another reason why this innovative little handheld has cemented a place on the MBY Cool 50, is the level of detail and accuracy at hand for those on shore tracking a vessel. Not only could we chart the boat’s progress but the detailed aerial imagery was astounding – showing the exact bay where the boat anchored. Text messages back and forth from the boat to the shore team worked well and will be a great boon when loved ones are apart.
To access the Iridium network an active satellite subscription is required. Annual subscriptions range from £12.99 to £84.99 per month but there is a month-to-month plan available for £16.99.