Satellite tracker - Garmin mini 2 the best?

GHA

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Personally I like it out on the ocean & would happily disappear for weeks without contact but there are one or 2 people in the world who would worry so that's a bit selfish really.

So looking at the options, would be nice to ping a position once a day which will show up on on a website and also to send an email with a position & short message to get displayed on noforiegnland. Having an app to format the email would be pretty important. And very important have the option of turning the service on & off.

The Garmin inreach mini2 seems to tick these boxes, looks like about 250 for the unit & 35 quid a year plus either 15 or 35 quid a month for either safety or recreation monthly plan.
Looks like it will receive messages as well, not very interested in that, after week or so alone on the ocean even a message from society can break the spell.. But might be a handy option.

1715249567440.png

Didn't look much further after seeing this, so 2 questions>
  • Happy with your mini 2 for crossing oceans?
  • Is there a better option?
TIA
🌊⛵🌊
 

geem

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Personally I like it out on the ocean & would happily disappear for weeks without contact but there are one or 2 people in the world who would worry so that's a bit selfish really.

So looking at the options, would be nice to ping a position once a day which will show up on on a website and also to send an email with a position & short message to get displayed on noforiegnland. Having an app to format the email would be pretty important. And very important have the option of turning the service on & off.

The Garmin inreach mini2 seems to tick these boxes, looks like about 250 for the unit & 35 quid a year plus either 15 or 35 quid a month for either safety or recreation monthly plan.
Looks like it will receive messages as well, not very interested in that, after week or so alone on the ocean even a message from society can break the spell.. But might be a handy option.

View attachment 176675

Didn't look much further after seeing this, so 2 questions>
  • Happy with your mini 2 for crossing oceans?
  • Is there a better option?
TIA
🌊⛵🌊
We used the older Garmin Inreach Explorer previously for ocean crossings but at 10 years old, we decided to replace it with the mini 2. The functionality seems the same but we have yet to use it in anger. Looks like we will be heading for Bermuda on Saturday. 1000nm sail so we will get to use it.
We use the unlimited tariff. £65/month. Tracking every 2 mins if you want it, unlimited two way messaging. Friends sending us weather info on route. It has a mapshare page so your friends can track you. Same set up as our older Inreach.
 
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lustyd

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Bear in mind that some of those prices are approaching half a Starlink subscription so if battery isn't an issue that may be worth a look too. Obviously in completely different leagues for bandwidth and power consumption but worth a mention.

Personally I would still want a PLB/EPIRB as the emergency response is a private enterprise (not run by Garmin, but also not the same as EPIRB). I'm not doubting it works, but personally feel more comfortable if there isn't a for-profit between me and rescue.

Also consider that next gen mobile phones will likely have satellite messaging as a costed option. Again not a tracker, but worth a mention since current iPhone already has emergency satelite functionality and Starlink are enabling LTE in their satellites.
 

geem

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Bear in mind that some of those prices are approaching half a Starlink subscription so if battery isn't an issue that may be worth a look too. Obviously in completely different leagues for bandwidth and power consumption but worth a mention.

Personally I would still want a PLB/EPIRB as the emergency response is a private enterprise (not run by Garmin, but also not the same as EPIRB). I'm not doubting it works, but personally feel more comfortable if there isn't a for-profit between me and rescue.

Also consider that next gen mobile phones will likely have satellite messaging as a costed option. Again not a tracker, but worth a mention since current iPhone already has emergency satelite functionality and Starlink are enabling LTE in their satellites.
The inreach isn't an EPIRB but we carry 2 of those plus PLBs and personal AIS trackers on our life jackets.
We considered starlink and may opt for it on our next crossing but the garmin is hard to beat with its SOS button, 24/7 tracking and tariffs ranging from £15/month for basic safety plan to £65/month for unlimited texting. We have several friends who have both Starlink and inreach. The only problem then is when you get somewhere where you need a phone signal ashore, you have to buy a SIM card as well. Costs can rack up.
At least you can turn these devices on for only a month at a time.
Friends lost their mast in the Atlantic. They pushed the inreach SOS button. They said that the service was astonishingly good. A full coordinated rescue and ship diverted.
 

ylop

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Bear in mind that some of those prices are approaching half a Starlink subscription so if battery isn't an issue that may be worth a look too. Obviously in completely different leagues for bandwidth and power consumption but worth a mention.
That was my guy feel on reading the OP's post. I'm guessing he's ruled out Spot (which looks at a glance to be cheaper?)
 

lustyd

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They said that the service was astonishingly good. A full coordinated rescue and ship diverted.
Sorry if it sounded like I was bashing the Garmin, I wasn't and have an extensive collection of their tech! My point was that with an EPIRB the signal is automatically routed to an international MRCC directly, and if one of them closed then the traffic would be directed to a different one. With the Garmin, the signal is routed to a private call centre which then contacts an MRCC and asks for them to get involved. It's a subtle difference but to me an important one. I believe the EPIRB signal uses dedicated frequencies on COSPAS where InReach uses commercial bandwidth on Iridium, again a subtle difference but to me an important one.

As a tracker, absolutely love the InReach and the form factor is hard to beat in the mini.

I only mentioned the others to contrast the costs of any messaging which are out of alignment with the wider world in 2024. I was surprised that Starlink is only $2/GB mid ocean while UK mobile networks are still charging by the MB and message. You mentioned the monthly activation - Garmin sting you with activation charges on top of this for the year and I was again surprised with Starlink where I can literally just buy one month and stop.

For the power and size, I agree it's hard to beat the Garmin and for boats they do make a lot of sense.
 

GHA

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Bear in mind that some of those prices are approaching half a Starlink subscription
$200 per month for mobile global? Your sums are a bit out there.....
Though it is very popular with cruisers now, not sure how many just use it regional & not mid ocean.
Personally not interested. Too expensive & unnecessary. All I need is a little "all's well" regularly on the web somewhere when crossing oceans.
 

lustyd

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$200 per month for mobile global? Your sums are a bit out there.....
Sensible folk aren't buying mobile global. The £80 service is just fine and can be moved to new continents as you travel, with priority data used on passage (12 miles + offshore) at $2/GB.
We use ours mid-channel and would certainly turn it on daily mid-ocean for proper weather info and probably to keep up with news and some entertainment. I'd also certainly do video calls with family once a week if only to show them life on board.

Apologies for taking us off topic, I just thought it worth a mention.
 

GHA

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Sensible folk aren't buying mobile global. The £80 service is just fine and can be moved to new continents as you travel, with priority data used on passage (12 miles + offshore) at $2/GB.
We use ours mid-channel and would certainly turn it on daily mid-ocean for proper weather info and probably to keep up with news and some entertainment. I'd also certainly do video calls with family once a week if only to show them life on board
Read the first post, it's about crossing oceans. Regional don't work apparently.
 

lustyd

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Read the first post, it's about crossing oceans. Regional don't work apparently.
It works just fine, you just pay for data at $2/GB.
The only difference with Global is that it works in any continent on land, but you still have to pay for the data on passage away from land. For yachts, global makes no sense because you're only on one continent at any given time
 

geem

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That was my guy feel on reading the OP's post. I'm guessing he's ruled out Spot (which looks at a glance to be cheaper?)
Starlink
Sensible folk aren't buying mobile global. The £80 service is just fine and can be moved to new continents as you travel, with priority data used on passage (12 miles + offshore) at $2/GB.
We use ours mid-channel and would certainly turn it on daily mid-ocean for proper weather info and probably to keep up with news and some entertainment. I'd also certainly do video calls with family once a week if only to show them life on board.

Apologies for taking us off topic, I just thought it worth a mention.
This is what our friends do. They re-registered theirs to Dominican Republic. The monthly cost is only $50US so it works whilst sailing around the Caribbean islands.
 

Buck Turgidson

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For the OP:
I use a Garmin in reach for exactly your purpose and it works perfectly. I would buy the mini if I was buying it now. For what you want you can ignore the starlink posts.
 

GHA

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Mini 2 it is then 👍
Also have full ham license & set onboard which can send/receive small emails very slowly free but don't really trust it to always work which would probably cause more worry than sending no updates at all.
But handy for small gribs offshore & makes a great weatherfax receiver. 😎

Starlink can stay in the Dopamine Nation 🙂
 

geem

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I just set up are Mini 2 for departure on Saturday morning. The functionality is very much like our older Inreach explorer. I have sent mapshare to friends and family so they can track us. A couple of mates are sending us weather info. Another boat is leaving at the same time. We can message to each onroute with the inreach address. The message shows on the map, so we can their relative position every time they message us
 

GHA

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I just set up are Mini 2 for departure on Saturday morning. The functionality is very much like our older Inreach explorer. I have sent mapshare to friends and family so they can track us. A couple of mates are sending us weather info. Another boat is leaving at the same time. We can message to each onroute with the inreach address. The message shows on the map, so we can their relative position every time they message us
Do you get gribs or wfax on passage? Just wondering how others do it.
I'd be happy with some wfax synptics every day or 2, ...or 3, not that knowing what's coming makes that much difference anyway 🙂.
Last time I went north towards Bermuda from the Carib there was a high over the mast in wfax most of the way, took ages til the wind finally arrived up near 38N 😁
Saw inreach do some sort of weather but didn't even look at what they offer.
 
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