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A number of years ago I purchased a Garmin InReach Mini satellite communications device to use primarily while I'm in the Western US and out of cell phone range.

Certainly the Garmin is not the only one of these devices but they recently published a statistical analysis of where, who and why various "SOS" calls have been made.  Actually I had never considered at least a couple of the possibilities  as reasons or situations to use the Mini.

While I found the commentary to be a bit self-serving at times, the general nature of the report can probably be applied to many of us that spend a bunch of time exploring the great out doors.

HERE is a link to that report.

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Very interesting, I wouldn't have expected nearly as many driving incidents nor calls for a third party.  I suppose this is a good argument to get one of these or the new iPhone 14 which in theory can also hit a satellite network. 

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Mike & Marianne Hermann, Scottsdale AZ

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Thanks for posting, the charts are educational. Garmin offers the option of cancelling your subscription at any time, and restarting it again without any extra fees. That can save a considerable amount of money in your “off” season. But I have resisted the temptation to do this, simply because so many places I drive have poor or no cell signal. The inReach is always very close by, in my bugout backpack.  Just in case I crash or have a medical emergency, or I encounter somebody else who is in distress. Because it isn’t just for back country hikers.

Sat comm, don’t leave home without it!

John Davies

Spokane WA

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27 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

Thanks for posting, the charts are educational. Garmin offers the option of cancelling your subscription at any time, and restarting it again without any extra fees. That can save a considerable amount of money in your “off” season. But I have resisted the temptation to do this, simply because so many places I drive have poor or no cell signal. The inReach is always very close by, in my bugout backpack.  Just in case I crash or have a medical emergency, or I encounter somebody else who is in distress. Because it isn’t just for back country hikers.

Sat comm, don’t leave home without it!

John Davies

Spokane WA

John, that looks very useful especially out west where we both live.

John

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We use SPOT when we are sailing.  Two years ago we took the Light Beyond, our 35' sailboat, from Washington to Glacier Bay in Alaska.  Cell coverage was limited to near a very few towns & even then was poor.  Have done the Alcan 8 times and found cell coverage spotty at best ( & expensive as a Canadian plan is necessary )  SPOT or Garmin allows different levels of anywhere communication depending on hardware & plan.  Money well spent.

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2 hours ago, MnM said:

I wouldn't have expected nearly as many driving incidents nor calls for a third party.

Yes, this is basically what I meant by my comment about never considering at least a couple of the possibilities.

These devices are not "cheap" but at least for me the potential downside of not having one is or could be VERY expensive.  In addition I've found that there are several features of the Garmin Mini that are very helpful and/or entertaining.  You can track where you have been in virtual real-time and share it with others and you can save these tracks and/or places such that you can either go back again or re-trace your steps in order to get back to the trailhead.  My point is that these are not just "rescue devices" - they can be very useful for all sorts of activities.

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I have an older SPOT locator and also a new SPOT tracker which is hidden between the hulls of The Wonder Egg.  I recently purchased a PLB1, by rexcueME  -Ocean Signal,  and sometime later this year, my iPhone 14 Pro should also function via satellites for emergencies.  After the initial expense of the PLB1 there are no further expenses other than changing the very long lasting battery.

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I use InReach too. It is on my Garmin 66i. I have tended to cancel it periodically. 
Kirk

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Kirk and Carrie Peterson

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3 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Garmin offers the option of cancelling your subscription at any time, and restarting it again without any extra fees.

 

29 minutes ago, snakeriveridaho said:

I have tended to cancel it periodically.

The "subscription plans" that Garmin offers can be found HERE.  

I normally use what Garmin calls the "Recreation" plan.  If you calculate the "breakeven point" of this plan versus the other two if comes out to right at 5 months.  So, if you plan to use the InReach for at least the 5 months it becomes the least expensive out of the three available.  Normally I keep my device "active" for about 6 to 7 months paying the monthly fees during that time and then when we are not traveling and/or hiking/fishing as much I inactivate it unless we decide to hit the road.

Bill

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My wife and I fly paragliders and I too use the Garmin Mini 2.  For the past several years have served as the Applegate Open National Championship meet in Oregon.  As the event Safety and Rescue Director, we require all pilots to have a Garmin or Spot Satellite Communicator/Locator to participate in the comp.  When we have pilots hanging in 200 foot tall pines or injured on top of a remote mountain, these devices make the difference in a bad day or a really bad day.  But beyond these outliers (Bad pun)... they also serve in other less urgent ways.

For example, as part of our requirements, all pilots program into their devices my cell phone number and a number of pre-typed and saved messages.  A few samples:  LOK = Landed OK, PUP = Picked up Pilot, AID = Need Help.  For most cases we use the text messages and their GPS location that comes to me with their GPS location.  We then vector mountain rescue runners, and when possible RAZR's as first responders.  Behind them rescue teams with more gear are sent if needed. 

The locators along with GAIA Trail Maps, Google Maps with high power radios and cell phones are the tools we use.  Our teams are effective enough that in the past four years or so we have not actually needed the SOS capability despite competing several responses/rescues a day for the competitions.  

I for sure had ours with us during our Alaska/Canada voyage this past summer.  BTW, they were on sale at COSTCO recently!  

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As a Garmin inReach subscriber, I get occasional info.  I thought this one was special and worth a read.  I deleted the picture to reduce the size of the file.  If you want the "Full Monte", it is here:  

https://www.garmin.com/en-US/blog/saved-by-garmin/the-10000th-inreach-sos/?utm_source=americas&utm_medium=yarmouth-email&utm_campaign=inreach-consumer-newsletter&utm_content=BP

If you often find yourself in a location, especially when alone, where if your were hurt or lost, and it would be difficult or time consuming to find you.... then please consider getting a Sat Tracker.

Mahalo, GJ

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The 10,000th inReach SOS: A Foot in the Wrong Direction

December 19, 2022

In October 2022, we announced that more than 10,000 individuals had received help after triggering SOS distress signals on their inReach® devices. So what was the actual 10,000th inReach SOS incident?

Three separate inReach SOS triggers came into the Garmin Response℠ Center moments apart, all reporting a dirt bike crash and a severe leg injury.

The injured individual was Kyle McKillop, a 33-year-old inReach subscriber who is no stranger to the outdoors. He regularly camps, mountain bikes, snowboards and dirt bikes in the Pacific Northwest. Originally, he purchased a Garmin inReach satellite communication device to have while on solo trips in the backcountry.

“I figured it would be a good idea to get one after an incident with a mechanical breakdown that caused me to be extremely late getting home,” he said. “It’s been a great way to keep my wife informed if anything happens while I’m gone.”

On that day in fall 2022, though, McKillop was with five other friends. They planned to do a 60- to 70-mile loop ride in an area and on trails they were familiar with.  More than 20 miles into the ride, the group was rounding a sharp, steep and rooted switchback that McKillop had done on previous rides without any issues. To gain momentum, he began accelerating to get to the top of the switchback. It was then that what he calls “the incident” occurred.

As the grade of the hill increased, McKillop lost his balance and started to fall. Not wanting his bike to tumble off the switchback, McKillop attempted to jump off the back of the bike and push it into the hill. He jumped, landed on his feet and spun around to avoid falling down the switchback. The maneuver was successful, and he kept his bike from going over the hill.

But as he twisted, he realized his foot was not twisting with the rest of his body. It was caught in some roots and thus anchored to the ground.

“When I looked down, my foot was pointed completely backward,” he said. “I remained standing but couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It made me sick to my stomach looking at it.”

He released his foot from the roots and hopped on one foot over to a spot on the trail where he could lie down. When he looked at his friends, they were looking back at him — in shock.

“I knew we had several inReach devices among our group members, and I knew it was going to require a helicopter to get me out,” he said. “We were over 10 miles to the nearest forest road, with significant terrain features that prevented anyone from being able to ride me out.”

In a matter of moments, Garmin Response, the 24/7 staffed global emergency response coordination center, let McKillop and the other inReach users know that emergency services were being contacted and dispatched. They informed the group that the rescue team would not have a transport basket and they would need to find a spot for the helicopter to land. Otherwise, it would’ve taken 8 hours for a rescue team to reach the group on foot.

Meanwhile, McKillop was in agony. His friends worked quickly to figure out how to get him to a pickup spot for the helicopter. They created a stretcher with branches and paracord, got him loaded onto it and carried him to a ridgeline.

When the helicopter arrived, the landing area was deemed not flat enough. The EMTs jumped out to check on McKillop while his friends looked for other spots to land. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything better nearby, so everyone began stacking rocks up on a ridgeline to create a landing area for the helicopter.

“The pilot and the EMTs were flawless, but they said it was one of the sketchier rescues they have ever done,” McKillop said.

After a 45-minute flight and another 45-minute ambulance ride, he made it to the hospital. He had a broken tibia and fibula and a dislocated ankle — an incredibly painful injury to endure. Still, McKillop made it home by nightfall.

“The time of the incident was 11:30 a.m., and I made it home around 9:30 p.m.,” McKillop said. “I am so impressed with how quickly the inReach system worked and got a rescue team to me.”

McKillop said that having the inReach provided him with comfort through the whole ordeal.

“I would 100% recommend everyone that goes into remote places to have an inReach,” he said. “Knowing that we had a rescue team responding and they had my exact GPS location ultimately helped me stay calm.”

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