Thursday, November 14, 2013

SPOT Gen3 Tracker

The idea of cruising is confusing for a lot of people. One of the reasons we are going on this journey is the unknown experiences that happen along the way. We have been asked very often lately, 'where are you guys going?'. Well, we are not necessarily going anywhere. We are definitely leaving here, and we are definitely heading south; but where are we going? On an adventure. Our general plan is to head south out of the Chesapeake Bay then enter the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)*. This is where the plans get a little fuzzy. We would like to make it to the Bahamas and/or Eastern Caribbean but if we get to Charleston and find ourselves happy and having a good time we may just stay there. Cruising is not supposed to be scheduled and planned out which is one of the reasons the lifestyle is so alluring to us.

Although dropping out of conventional society for a while is great, safety is paramount. Which leads me to our physical locations. We obviously will be in tangible places and now with the advent of modern GPS technology you can know where we are too. (For non-boat people this may be a good point to skip to the bottom) We had some serious discussions about whether or not to install an AIS system on our boat. AIS is pretty expensive to buy and the install is a pain. On top of the actual AIS you have to buy a hundred feet of wire and conduit. For us, this just didn't seem practical right now. We would love to have the comfort of being able to see who and what is around us but it just isn't going to happen right now.

The other option is to use personal GPS trackers. There is a company called SPOT that makes some pretty neat, affordable products. We decided on the SPOT Gen3 tracker. It costs about $150 to purchase and you will also need to pay $150/year for their service. We found this to be a very fair cost for the product. The SPOT tracker allows us to send out predetermined messages to up to 50 contacts and also automatically updates our location on our SPOT map as long as it is turned on. It has an SOS function that we can push in life threatening situations and a few message options. We are pretty content with this and I'll let you know how well it works once we actually leave in a few weeks.

You can track our progress here: SPOT Gen3 tracker or click on the 'Where' link above.

[*Check out what Wikipedia has to say about the Intracoastal Waterway here: ICW.]    

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