Whether you are taking on an Atlantic crossing or conducting vital marine research out on the open water, you are going to need a satellite phone and/or PLB or EPIRB to keep in regular contact with your support team, friends, or loved ones back home. Our handy guide to what we consider essential kit for sailors is designed to help you make those all-important choices.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Satellite Phone
- Where in the world are you travelling to?
- What will you most need the phone for? (voice, SMS, email, weather reports, GPS, SOS?
- Will you need a long battery life?
- How important is posting to social media, websites, or personal blogs?
- What airtime plan will suit you?
Satellite Phone Global Coverage
Iridium Coverage Map
Inmarsat Coverage Map
Thuraya Coverage Map
Inmarsat Satellite Phone
The IsatPhone 2 is an Inmarsat satellite phone with near-global coverage. It offers almost 8 hours of talk time, built-in GPS, and is IP54 water and dust-resistant. With an SOS button for emergency situations, the ISatPhone 2 is great if you are looking to make frequent voice calls from most places on earth.
Iridium Satellite Phone
The Iridium satellite network is famed for its fully global coverage. You can use one of their products from any location in the world and enjoy reliable connectivity. This is why their flagship satellite phones, the Iridium Extreme® satellite phone and Iridium 9555 are among the top contenders for sailors to take with them on any ocean voyage.
Each Iridium satellite phone is rugged and SMS and email enabled, however, the Iridium Extreme® is the only satellite phone with emergency services supported by GEOS International Emergency Response Coordinating Centre (IERCC), available at no extra charge. The Extreme® is also IP65 rated to handle water ingress, shock, and dust, making it the most highly-rated satellite phone available. Couple this with its rugged antenna and overall body design, it can truly take on even the harshest ocean-going environment.
Thuraya Satellite Phone
The Thuraya XT Pro is a ruggedised Thuraya satellite phone with a very long battery life, integrated GPS, and a large display. Thuraya’s network coverage only caters for EMEA and APAC, however, so it is important you check your sailing route to make sure you will be reliably served.
The XT Pro allows you to make calls and send SMS messages directly from the handset as well as accessing the internet. It comes with a dedicated SOS button that sends a pre-set message to an emergency contact.
Iridium GO!® WiFi Hotspot
The Iridium GO!® is an ultra-portable WiFi hotspot that lets you make voice calls, share photos, access emails, send and receive SMS messages, use GPS tracking and send out SOS alerts, all from your smartphone. You will need to have also purchased airtime to use the Iridium GO!. We have flexible airtime options to suit your needs.
Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1
The Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1 is the world’s smallest waterproof PLB, and provides peace of mind at sea by allowing you to alert global emergency services of your location at the push of a button.
It comes with a flotation case to allow the device to float in a marine environment, and, unlike most satellite-enabled notification devices, you do not need a monthly or annual subscription, making it one of the most cost-effective GPS-enabled emergency beacons available.
ACR GlobalFIX™ V4 Cat 1 EPIRB (Automatic)
The GlobalFIX V4 is a full-featured EPIRB loaded with high-efficiency electronics for performance you can count on. This EPIRB offers the very latest in marine electronic lifesaving technology, including an internal 66 channel GPS for faster acquisition from a cold start.
Cat 1 EPIRBs are can be automatically or manually deployed and activated. They are designed to automatically activate in the event of a vessel sinking.
If you think you know what your smartphone can do, think again. Your smartphone becomes a satellite phone with the Thuraya SatSleeve+, keeping you safe and in touch with the most important people in your life.
The Thuraya SatSleeve+ lets you make calls, use messaging applications, update your social network, send and receive email and SMS, and access apps. It also comes with an additional safety feature - a programmable SOS button that works even if your smartphone isn't connected. This convenient function allows you to call a predefined number of your choice, and helps conclude our list of recommendations for any budding or experienced sailor to take onboard with them when heading out onto the water.
As always, our team of experts is here to help. So, if you need any advice about marine satellite devices, contact us via:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 0800 112 3919