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Thread: Garmin Inreach Mini

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Alameda, CA
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    99

    Default Garmin Inreach Mini

    Forgive me as i know there is another thread that sort of floated on this.

    My loving wife was spooked last month upon hearing with the (un)lucky chap who fell off his Santana 22 off Berkeley and was almost lost because no one could find him floating in the bay great currents. It was a reminder to us all of how easy it is to be lost even though there are many eyes that could be looking for us. So for Christmas I got a special sailing gift from her. My Spot that I have had for a couple of years is now on the shelf. Going forward I will be carrying and wearing on my person the Inreach Mini GPS from Garmin with a safety level subscription (cheapest plan available). The monthly is just over $12 with 10 free text message allowance along with route tracking. To me cheap safety insurance and peace of mind as I return to more blue water sailing, solo racing among you all and riding my motorbike to the ends of the earth. I know nothing is perfect and most systems will fail given the timing. Hopefully having the device on my body will be a reminder to myself as well as a backup device to use as a GPS backup or call for assistance for another if it ever comes to it.

    I was wondering how many of you have chosen to wear the mini given that most here sail solo or short handed in the bay and beyond.
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    Last edited by Black Jack; 01-26-2021 at 06:18 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Saratoga
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    230

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    We acquired an older larger model last year, which we took down the coast with us last Fall. Out of cell range, I was able to text friends and let them know where we were safe. It is good peace of mind. I keep meaning to turn the monthly charge off, till the next adventure, but have yet to do so.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    493

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    I'm a fan of the Inreach but not for use as a primary safety device. I usually carry a small PLB EPIRB and AIS MOB unit for offshore.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Alameda, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by solosailor View Post
    I'm a fan of the Inreach but not for use as a primary safety device. I usually carry a small PLB EPIRB and AIS MOB unit for offshore.
    Good points in mentioning those two. The EPIRB is something i keep in the drawer aboard for most bay sailing like i am guessing most do. if you are like me the handheld radio is usually attached in the cock pit so it doesn't slide away or fall into the drink. Although I do have an attached stern boarding ladder, the chances of me getting to it is slim if the boat is under way and I fall off. Taking on that little extra safety in such a small wearable package gives me confidence that i really haven't thought about until recently, upon reflection of personal experiences in shore over the years or even when the best of us get caught between the dock and our boat hulls when no one is around.
    Last edited by Black Jack; 01-27-2021 at 12:00 PM.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Carry a PLB on my person inshore and offshore.

    I carry a PLB. The Inreach has been used for many rescues. The PLB for many more. PLB's have a power out of 5 watts and speak to a satellite cluster that is huge and growing. The cluster uses lower earth orbit, medium earth orbit, and most recently the SAR package has been put aboard some geo sync birds at very high altitude. The PLB has a guaranteed battery life (by spec) assuming you keep it updated per the vendor spec. The PLB has a low power homing beacon receivable by all aircraft (mandated by law). USCG helos have specialize antenna to home in on that frequency for close in direction finding. When you pull the trigger the USAF, USCG, or some other international military gets a direct notification. Inreach/Iridium goes to a corporate entity that then notifies Federal officials, could result in a slight delay. In the end the rescue organization will likely be via USCG resources if you are in the water.

    Interesting test I experienced: My PLB was stolen out of a rental car in Hawaii, Kauai. About a week later the USCG called and asked if I was ok. I was sitting in my kitchen in Ca. They had the position narrowed to two homes in Kauai. The signal disappeared within a few minutes. Six months later the USAF called me to check on my well being. Again the beacon had been turned on and these calls were made within minutes of their receipt of the signal. Again seemingly between two homes. For reasons I don't understand the Kauai Police refused to go to the homes on both occasions, stating something about the inability to get a search warrant based on the position not being definitive as to which property it was on. The police were also notified by the Fed. agencies. But at least it worked well and the calls were immediate.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Alameda, CA
    Posts
    99

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianb View Post
    I carry a PLB. The Inreach has been used for many rescues. The PLB for many more. PLB's have a power out of 5 watts and speak to a satellite cluster that is huge and growing. The cluster uses lower earth orbit, medium earth orbit, and most recently the SAR package has been put aboard some geo sync birds at very high altitude. The PLB has a guaranteed battery life (by spec) assuming you keep it updated per the vendor spec. The PLB has a low power homing beacon receivable by all aircraft (mandated by law). USCG helos have specialize antenna to home in on that frequency for close in direction finding. When you pull the trigger the USAF, USCG, or some other international military gets a direct notification. Inreach/Iridium goes to a corporate entity that then notifies Federal officials, could result in a slight delay. In the end the rescue organization will likely be via USCG resources if you are in the water.

    Interesting test I experienced: My PLB was stolen out of a rental car in Hawaii, Kauai. About a week later the USCG called and asked if I was ok. I was sitting in my kitchen in Ca. They had the position narrowed to two homes in Kauai. The signal disappeared within a few minutes. Six months later the USAF called me to check on my well being. Again the beacon had been turned on and these calls were made within minutes of their receipt of the signal. Again seemingly between two homes. For reasons I don't understand the Kauai Police refused to go to the homes on both occasions, stating something about the inability to get a search warrant based on the position not being definitive as to which property it was on. The police were also notified by the Fed. agencies. But at least it worked well and the calls were immediate.
    Good points. I think I will add a PLB in my ditch bag as i prepare for my eventual solo trans ocean run. Cheap insurance that can be stored with reasonable care. Thank you.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Alameda
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    3

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    I originally purchased my InReach Mini for multi-day backpacking/ski trips, and it's perfect for that. I usually keep it off to preserve power, and just turn it on at the end of the day to check messages, and let people know if my plans have changed.

    I just started using it while sailing, when I learned you can register the device with Jibeset for Race TV. You just leave it in tracking mode while racing and Jibeset will automatically track your boat alongside other registered boats. The 10 minute tracking interval isn't great for giving you a precise GPS track, but the coarse interval can still be pretty handy if you don't have another device or you want to preserve your phone battery.

    So far I've never needed to use it in an emergency, but I would be a little concerned about using it as my only emergency device while sailing because time is of the essence and I suspect an EPIRB SoS will have a faster turnaround time and higher precision for the rescue than an InReach SOS.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    34

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    I always carried my handheld VHF with DSC+GPS in my pocket for singlehanding on the bay. The range is not good for offshore, but I felt like the panic button on this device would go straight to the vessels on the bay who could help, with no intermediary, and you can also talk to the rescuers in case they can't quite see you.

    A project I never got around to was to have my autopilot listening on channel 69 with some basic voice recognition software running on a raspberry pi. That way if I fell overboard I could radio my own boat to try to make it stop.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    I wear a fanny pack that has a waterproof strobe, three small rocket flares in a sealed bag, and my PLB whenever I singlehand. There are also free apps you can put on your phone, and then get a waterproof cell phone case. They won't do you any good out of cell phone range, but should work just fine on the Bay.

    SOMETHING is 100x better than nothing, so good job on getting the InReach Mini.
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