If you travel to fish, hire guides in remote locales, hike deep into the wilderness, use a boat, or do simple solo fishing adventures, you ought to be aware of an inexpensive “personal locator beacon” called a SPOT . It is a simple, waterproof, rugged, and small device that can literally save your life if you get hurt or get lost in the wilderness by utilizing satellite-based tracking. It can alert family members of your whereabouts, or in the the worst situation actually send rescue personal to come retrieve you.
While it’s not as powerful or reliable as an actual Personal Locator Beacon, which utilizes a constellation of satellites instead of just one at a time, it’s darn close. And for the price, size, and ancillary features should be on your radar.
I’ve been using the first generation for a number of years and recently upgraded to the newly released Spot Gen3. So far I am loving the new release for a number of reasons, but mainly how much smaller it is. It’s only 3.4 inches high, 2.56 inches wide, and 1 inch thick, so it easily fits in my pocket and lets me take it on even mundane trips to my local creek on solo missions. The buttons are far more intuitive and you actually get confirmation via a number of LEDs that the action you requested just really happened. The battery life is also much better, with Spot claiming the charge lasts twice as long as the original. The tracking feature is very nice too, with the option of laying a “breadcrumb trail” via Google Maps for later reference or to update your family and friends of your whereabouts every two-and-a-half minutes, if you desire.
Some of the other features include Check IN, which lets family and friends know that you’ve arrived okay; SPOT assist (alerts pre-set emails or phones that you’re in a non-life-threatening situation but might be delayed or need help); and a short custom message relayed via SMS text or email to a pre-determined group.
If the $150 for the actual unit and an additional $17.95 for GEOS Search and Rescue “insurance” sounds like a cheap-enough safety net, do yourself a favor and head over to the SPOT website to see the complete list of features.