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Choosing a SEND Device


SEND Device

SPOT Gen3 Satellite Messenger

Primary use: emergency device (GMDSS) or tracking/texting device (SEND)?

A Satellite Emergency Notification Device (SEND) is a portable emergency notification and locating device that uses commercial satellite systems, rather than the international government-based COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system, to transmit GPS location-based distress, check-in, free-form text and tracking messages. They add social networking and communication capabilities to emergency beacon functions. The SPOT Gen3 Satellite Messenger and inReach SE (Screen Edition) 2-way Satellite Communicator are two examples of SEND units. Participants in activities such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing, boating and flying are typical users of SEND devices.

Individual features vary, and new features are added with new models being introduced, but SEND devices generally allow you to:

  • Send pre-configured messages (“I’m OK,” for example) to a selected group of your contacts
  • Check in and let these family and friends track your location using Twitter, Facebook, Google Earth and other web tools.
  • GPS Tracking: The latest models let you create an electronic "breadcrumb trail" for the folks back home, mapping your position at user-selectable intervals ranging from once every 30 seconds to every four hours. In addition to GPS coordinates, track points on the DeLorme inReach SE also broadcast speed, course, and elevation. The DeLorme inReach's two-way capability also allows others to "ping" your inReach to see your location and even remotely activate tracking via the DeLorme MapShare page. Currently, SPOT's social media platform, SPOT Adventures, has over 61,000 tracked trips from all over the world and users have uploaded over 11,000 pictures to the site.
  • Send and receive free-form 160 character text messages. The DeLorme inReach SE allows users to send and receive free-form 160 character text messages via the built in QWERTY keyboard, or by pairing the device to a smartphone or tablet via the "Earthmate" software App.
  • Request non-emergency help from your personal contacts
  • Request emergency help, with your information relayed to the appropriate agencies worldwide by a private organization (such as the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center, which is used by both the DeLorme inReach and SPOT). Since 2007, the family of SPOT messenger devices has initiated more than 2,000 emergency rescues in 78 countries around the world and at sea. Hikers, boaters, pilots, and remote workers are just a few examples of SPOT users who have signaled for assistance. When triggering an SOS on the two-way DeLorme inReach SE, users receive a delivery confirmation from GEOS, and can interact with the search and rescue monitoring center via two-way texting to communicate the nature of your distress and stay in touch throughout the rescue process.
  • Purchase costs are lower than for buying an EPIRB, but SEND devices generally require a subscription. Subscription plans vary in cost and features.

Do you want to receive as well as send messages?

SPOT allows you to send, but not receive messages. Red or green blinking lights inform you if your message was attempted. SPOT tries three times to reach the satellite network (when you’re successful, your contacts only receive the message once). Delorme inReach offers two-way messaging with delivery confirmation to ensure that the message was successfully sent.

SEND Device

DeLorme inReach™ Smartphone Satellite Messenger (left) and inReach SE (Screen Edition) Satellite Communicator (right)

Do you want the ability to send custom messages?

SPOT Gen3 lets you customize messages at home on your computer, and send these pre-programmed messages using the Check-in/OK function. You can create custom messages of up to 41 characters, plus pre-programmed 120-character messages using the SPOT Connect, pairing with your smartphone via Bluetooth wireless technology. The DeLorme inReach products allow two types of text messaging. Users can send three pre-programmed (preset) 160-character text messages to email and cellphone contacts. In addition, the inReach SE also features a virtual QWERTY keyboard for two-way on-the-fly 160 character text messaging to email addresses or cellphones. Both inReach models can be paired with smartphones or tablets via the "Earthmate" App to enhance text messaging capabilities or to access free downloadable topographic maps and NOAA charts.

Geographic coverage: continental and coastal or worldwide?

SPOT uses the Globalstar satellite system. SPOT’s continental/coastal coverage includes virtually all of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia, portions of South America, Northern Africa, and North-Eastern Asia and hundreds or thousands of miles offshore of these areas. See their coverage map at findmespot.com. The inReach device operates using Iridium, with global pole-to-pole coverage and across all oceans.

What’s the best pricing scheme?

SPOT’s basic annual subscription plan costs $99.99 per year. Type & Send custom messaging adds $49.99 for a 500-message bundle. Tracking is $49.99 per year. There are a range of other services including SPOT Assist Maritime with BoatUS for $10 per year.

DeLorme offers two types of subscription plans annual 12-month contracts with lower monthly fees or their new "Freedom Plans", which require only a 30-day commitment. Billing occurs monthly with all plans. Subscriptions start as low as $9.95 per month for annual contracts and $14.95 per month for no-contract Freedom plans. Unlimited data plans on inReach start as low as $49.95 per month. In addition, BoatUS subscriptions and GEOS Search & Rescue Benefit insurance plans can also be purchased separately. Additional details on service pricing can be found at www.inreachdelorme.com.