It takes only a passing familiarity with boats to know about radar and marine radios, and we've all seen both in television and movies. They've become constant in people's minds when they think of traveling over water. However, because of these assumptions, people underestimate the utility of satellite phones on a seafaring voyage. Having a satellite phone can save your life, even when your vessel is equipped with other electronics, and at the very least it can help you keep in touch much more easily while away from land.
Let's get to the most important reason first: you are far safer out at sea with a satellite phone than without, especially if it has a GPS tracking feature. Iridium satellite phones are commonly recommended for this reason. The Iridium Extreme (Model 9575) is a notable choice due to its GPS capabilities and the inclusion of an SOS button that will immediately broadcast a distress signal from your location. The Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 is another satellite phone with GPS tracking and a button press solution for SOS situations.
For another layer of safety, you can use an emergency locator beacon to broadcast a distress signal traceable by SARSAT, NOAA's Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking, who can inform and dispatch the correct Search and Rescue facility in minutes. Some maritime emergency beacons are able to broadcast a signal automatically when submerged to a depth of 3-10 feet.
Of course, boats themselves can be tracked if equipped with a GPS, but what if you need to leave your vessel to survive? Waiting for rescue on an underequipped lifeboat, a piece of wreckage, or even an island (it does happen) will be a lot easier if the searchers are zeroing in on you and the GPS-enabled satellite phone in your pocket, and not the place where your boat went down. With ocean currents, you could be miles away within an hour from your last known location when your vessel stopped broadcasting its signal. The longer Search and Rescue has to search for you, the more likely your adventures will be over, permanently.
The Iridium network in particular is known for its complete global coverage. Since they use a global satellite network, Iridium satellite phones are never out of service range on any ocean, ensuring you will get a signal almost anywhere in the world. You will be able to make phone calls, no matter how far out you are, and keep in touch with people on land as well as other satphone-equipped vessels. You will always remain connected and reachable.
It doesn't end with phone calls, though. You can make use of satellite technology to access the Internet as well. Small portable satellite internet terminals are available. These can way just a few pounds. Larger terminals can achieve higher speeds more economically.
Outfitter Satellite offers an assortment of marine satphone systems to get your vessel connected. Please browse our catalog and contact us if you have any questions or concerns; we want you to be safe and are here to help you get started with this lifesaving technology. The Earth is a beautiful but dangerous place, and wherever you go, no matter how far, satellite communication is a lifeline to get you back to safety.