It seems as if this is an annual event. I make a routine plea to take the right, smart steps to ensure your safety while fishing in the remote places I know you go. In earlier posts, I commented on the loss of life resulting from people being unprepared to be stranded, broken down or injured while away from civilization. I personally own a Spot Messenger and it provides me the perfect solution.
Well... it happened again this week. This time to two poor souls in the Gulf and one is dead because they did not have an emergency beacon. The article says they were out of cell phone range and their Mayday call was not heard - with a satellite system, you are never out of range.
When I fish along, I worry about being injured or incapacitated in some of the remote areas I visit. My solution is to use the Spot Satellite Messenger (and... since I am obsessive, I have a high end SAR Beacons as well for 100% backup)
The Spot is nice because in addition to the 911 feature, it offers the user the option of having a tracking service active. Every 10 minutes, the device sends a location update that is automatically posted to an Internet page whose link you can send to anybody who may be interested in whether you are alive or dead. Those interested can click on each transmission and see exactly where you are as shown in the picture to the right.
Granted, I always check in with the Basswife each night when I'm gone, but this gives her the ability to know where I am -- if only to come out and pick up the body and all the great fishing gear and I told her only cost a few bucks. One drawback to the Spot is that it needs a clear view of the sky to work at top performance - when I was fishing in dense cover, it would not punch a message out.
All that said, the Spot is not as good as a real beacon - but if a Spot is all you can afford, it's a lot better than nothing. Yes, I carry both my beacon and a Spot. Overkill? No... if I ever get hurt, I want to be assured of rapid rescue. I bet the two guys in the artcle above would have given anything to have either system.
Even if you go fishing with a buddy, you may find yourself in a remote situation with an injury. It's much better for your friend to remain with you while you wait for help to arrive then to send him off to get help. It may take an hour or more to get back to the vehicle and then even longer to drive to a location where he can get cell phone reception. Much better to just punch the 911 button and wait for the cavalry to arrive. That way your friend can make sure you don't fall into shock or need other assistance to keep you alive.
Right now, you can get the Spot for a very reasonable price. Once you buy it, you can activate the tracking service like I have for an additional fee as well as pay an additional very small fee for insurance that will cover any search and rescue/evacuation costs.
I strongly encourage everyone to take a hard look at this, evaluate your risk profile related to where you go hunting and fishing and get a Spot or upgrade to a real beacon if you feel you need it.
Click here to see the Spot pricing on Amazon
True SAR Beacons onAmazon - more expensive, more reliable
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