Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) and The Spot Satellite GPS Messengers hereafter referred to as “Spot”. Both can summon emergency help to your exact location when boondocking in areas where your cell phone won’t work. Both systems work via satellites orbiting the earth relaying your message to the appropriate people on the ground.
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The Spot however, offers several advantages to boondockers in addition to sending an emergency signal. The feature I find most beneficial is the “I’m okay” option. Depressing this button sends an electronic message to family and friends (up to 100) letting them know where you are located and that you are doing fine. When my wife and I travel, we pretty much know our route, but not how much time we plan on staying in any one particular area (another advantage of boondocking). By supplying the intended route to our adult children ahead of time they can keep track how far we have progressed each day (we send an “I‘m okay” message every evening). If we fail to check in one evening, they know our last location and the next intended location and can have search and rescue teams cover the points in between. That is assuming my wife or I were unable to activate the Spot 911 feature on our own.
Another feature of the Spot is the “Send Help” button. This button sends a pre-programmed message to people you have selected to receive it. In our case it tells our adult children to call our emergency roadside assistance provider and dispatch them to our location. In other words, we have broken down or become stuck in the boondocks (non life threatening) and are unable to call them ourselves due to lack of cell phone service.
There are many more advantages of a Spot, but I will let you discover those on your own using the links below. After all exploring and discovering new things is part of what boondocking is all about.
A short promotional video for the Spot can be viewed here.
Visit the Spot website here.
A good article comparing PLB units and Spot can be viewed here