Emergency Contact/Text and Tracking

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Escalante-Class Member
Been looking into satellite texting and tracking (Garmin and Zoleo). Great thread from 2021 below by @Ryan thank you.

Since the above thread’s now closed AND Elon has his birds in the air, things have changed. Wondering if anyone’s still using Garmin/Zoleo and if you have any new feedback on these devices/plans.

Starlink is quite pricey…we don’t really miss emails and texting on the lake so that option might be overkill for us. But having a good reliable means to send an occasional text and tracking info to loved ones is a big concern we need to address before our next adventure. Any advice/input would be much appreciated.

Thanks from the Yachtzee crew.
Apple introduced emergency satellite communications to its iPhone 14 and 15 lines. They will show a satellite icon and SOS but allow you to send an emergency rescue message just like the spot and Garmin devices. If you are out on the road, it will connect you with AAA for roadside assistance. The service is free for the first two years you own the device. They have not identified a future cost of service.
I wouldn't really put Starlink and a personal device in the same shootout. Starlink is big and bulky if you're moving it around a lot. inReach, or similar, are completely portable, self-powered, and require no set up. I have both. I take Starlink on the houseboat and RV almost exclusively. Whereas, I take my inReach on every adventure (hiking, boating, camping, long road trips, international travel, etc).

Pricewise, as you mentioned, they are also very different. I have the $11/month inReach plan and the $150/month Starlink plan. Starlink is currently paused (likely until next Spring). I leave the inReach active year-round.

Hope that helps!
Elon has us covered here too, starting next year.

For all my backcountry/lake trips I bring my Garmin InReach Mini. Remember it's not about the size, its what you do with it lol. You can use the Garmin Explore app on your smart phone to access all the features on your Mini. The Mini also attaches easier because of it's carabiner + webbing loop.

Although, the InReach Messenger might be all you need and it's $100 cheaper than the Mini. You would need to use your phone with this device as I think you can only send preset messages via the device without the use of your smart phone. This device doesn't have an easy way to attach to your person/gear so that can be seen as a con.

UPDATE: The InReach Messenger doesn't do tracking which I think is a feature that might be worth the extra $100 IMO. Half the fun is sharing your tracking info on Garmin MapShare so we can all see where you're at on your adventure.

Also, if any body on here is a veteran/first responder/guide/etc...see if your skills/trade gets you access to ExpertVoice as they currently have a Garmin deal for 25% Off + Free Shipping. I get access to hundreds of outdoor brand discounts because I do volunteer Ski Patrol. If your application gets accepted, I would only look for discounts that provide free shipping deals because otherwise they charge you out the wazoo with a flat shipping price. There are similar websites for veterans/police/fire, but ExpertVoice is what i use.
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