Spot is a pint-size tracker
Globalstar has introduced a second generation of its Spot satellite tracking-and-messaging device. About the size of a pack of cigarettes, the new Spot Messenger is smaller than the original but still includes a GPS receiver and a miniature satcom terminal that can send distress messages to search-and-rescue authorities or non-distress “help” messages to family, friends, or BoatUS.
The “I’m OK” function of the original Spot has been enhanced by adding a “Track” function to transmit a position every ten minutes and to send a choice of two preprogrammed messages. For instance, use one to say, “I’m OK,” and one to say, “Come and get me.”
The Spot Communicator operates without an internal GPS. Instead, it uses a wireless link to connect to a specially adapted Delorme handheld. This not only saves duplication, but also means that the Spot’s messaging function is hugely improved by using the unit’s virtual keyboard to type out text messages, rather than relying on stored messages.
Another variation is the fixed-mount Spot Hug. It has all the basic functions of the Spot Messenger, but its tracking function is used to set up a “virtual perimeter,” informing Spot’s control center if your boat moves more than 500 meters—unless, of course, deactivated by your key fob.
Its messaging function has been adapted to send automatic alerts if its remote sensors are triggered, to warn of problems such as low battery voltage or high bilge water.
Plus $99.99 or $149.98
(annual service charge)
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.