Gone Fishin’? Unexpected Times When You Need a Satellite Phone
With major weather events like Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina fresh in many people’s minds, we hear a lot about preparing emergency kits to help us survive in the event of disaster. No one wants to be cut off, unable to contact family or emergency services, when the power goes out or communications are disrupted, and for that reason, they opt to rent or buy satellite phones to add to the kit.
However, these phones are not just for emergency situations. Sometimes your personal cellular phone is inadequate, such as when you’re headed to a remote location and you need a reliable means of staying in contact with the outside world. You might not think to pick up a sat or bag phone when you’re in one of these situations, but if you need one, you’ll be glad you have it.
Hunting and Fishing
You’re alone out in the middle of a remote lake when your boat’s engine fails, or you get turned around in the forest and can’t find your way back to camp. If you’re in an area with limited or no cellular service, you have a couple of options: try to row or hike back to safety, or stay put and hope that help comes soon.
If you have a satellite phone with you, though, you have a better chance of survival, or at least a quick rescue. Not only can you call for help, but using GPS, rescuers can pinpoint exactly where you’re located.
Although the chances that you’ll run into an emergency situation while you’re on a cruise ship are slim, you might want to bring along a satellite phone for checking in on the kids at home. Rates for ship-to-shore calls can run higher than $10 per minute, making that quick call to the house to say goodnight to Junior an expensive proposition. If you’ll be gone for more than a weekend, renting a satellite phone may be a more cost-effective option, letting you stay in touch without breaking the bank.
You were only planning to take a three-hour tour, but the fog rolled in and now you’re looking at a long night out at the sea. While you should always have a two-way radio on any ocean-going vessel to stay in touch with emergency personnel, bringing along a satellite phone — even on short trips — allows you to call for help, or even just update those waiting for you back on land that you’ll be delayed.
A Phone Without the Commitment
Many people assume satellite communications are only for the very wealthy, the government or for those working in extreme conditions, such as on oil rigs or in search and rescue. The fact that a phone handset and calling plan can run upwards of several thousand dollars makes it cost-prohibitive for the average consumer; however, if you need one for a short time, satellite phone rentals are a viable option.
In most cases, renting a phone involves paying a daily fee — usually between $7 and $12 per day — and purchasing airtime, either with a prepaid plan or a pay-as-you-go fee structure. The per-minute rates for airtime are generally less than $2.00 per minute and include perks such as free incoming calls or texts.
You can rent a phone from a specialty retailer, who will provide you with a handset and a reprogrammed SIM card, allowing you to make and receive calls. You can use the phones just about anywhere in the world, as long as you are outdoors and have a clear view of the sky.
When it comes to staying safe and keeping in touch with the people who can help you in the event of an emergency, renting a satellite phone is a more affordable and user-friendly option than ever before. Even if you do not use the device during your trip, knowing that you have the option can bring you great peace of mind.
About the Author: Caroline Black is a technology expert and blogger who covers the telecommunications industry. She’s worked with several sites, including www.globalsatellitecommunications.com, to promote the benefits of satellite communications to the average consumer.