DeLorme and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) today announced an agreement to offer BoatUS members easier access to the new inReach™ two-way personal satellite tracking, locating, messaging and SOS alerting devices. This capability enables members who can’t use their cell phone or VHF radio to call for a tow to be able to rely on the satellite-based inReach to quickly summon on-the-water assistance. DeLorme specializes in personal satellite tracking, messaging and navigation technology.
Under the agreement, BoatUS members will be able to program their contact and vessel information into the inReach device which will save valuable time when dispatching a TowBoatUS or Vessel Assist towboat. Once the response is initiated, GPS tracking information will be fed automatically to the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers, greatly reducing response times.
The inReach product, which won the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Innovation Award at the 2012 Miami International Boat Show, provides two-way data links anywhere on the face of the globe in less than 60 seconds using the Iridium satellite network. The device transmits its position coordinates at programmable intervals, allowing families and friends to view your boat’s location and “bread-crumb trail” on a web map display. In addition, the two-way data connection permits them to “ping” the unit at any time to get an update.
“Our biggest challenge to a swift response for towboat assistance, such as a soft ungrounding, jump-start or gas drop-off is simply locating our members on the water,” said BoatUS vice president of Towing Services, Jerry Cardarelli. “With inReach, we have precise location information. When a towing request comes to us from a boater, constantly updated position coordinates enable our towboat captains to save valuable time finding the caller’s location. In some cases, a disabled boat may drift from its original position after the initial request is made. With the inReach service, the BoatUS dispatch centers can ping the vessel at any time to get accurate GPS position.”
“Another feature available to any inReach user is the built-in two-step SOS button that immediately initiates a distress call to the GEOS International Emergency Rescue Coordinating Center and gives a visual indication that the message has been received,” said Patrick Shay, Delorme vice president and general manager for Connected Solutions. “The two-way inReach communicator helps take the ‘search’ out of search-and-rescue by giving constant updates of the subscriber’s current GPS position coordinates. It also allows search-and-rescue authorities to communicate with the vessel in distress to ensure that it is not an accidental activation, determine the nature of the emergency and reassure the sender that help is on the way.”
“In addition to providing improved safety at sea, the inReach service allows you to both send and receive text messages via satellite through a free mobile app that runs on smartphones and tablets,” added Shay. “This effectively converts your smartphone into a global two-way texting device when outside cellular and VHF marine band radio coverage. The free Earthmate app also allows you to download DeLorme terrain maps and NOAA nautical charts to the mobile device for improved situational awareness and backup GPS navigation.”
inReach products are available through West Marine and Bass Pro Shops, as well as major outdoor sports retailers and online resellers.