Contributors to this thread:
Garmin Inreach, first time sending a SOS
A couple of weeks ago while elk hunting in the Uncompahgre NF I hit the SOS button on my Inreach Explorer. I was coming out late and did not notice that my cell phone was losing battery quickly while on onx tracking. Not having glasses on made noticing the battery level difficult, my error. Anyhow the phone went dead and this trip I did not bring a charge pack to charge my cell. I tried walking out but it was difficult even with a compass. So my bright idea was to try and contact Inreach. There was a preset message stating I needed rescue which I could not seem to erase but was able to add that I needed directions to a certain road. I was under the impression that I would get an answer asking what my situation was. I got no response for over 5 minutes. Meantime Inreach is contact a rescue team and calling my wife and son to letting know I was requesting a rescue. My wife and Son back in WI were alarmed to a very uncomfortable level. After a longer time I cancelled the SOS. I found my way out and was given a ride back to my atv by another hunter.Turns out Inreach could see that I was moving at a vehicle speed and figured everything was ok. They tried to call me but of course my cell was dead. Turns out they have a policy that they do not give directions, you either figure it out our a rescue team comes. Thought I would share this experience in the chance it helps someone else.
If you were lost and needed directions why not message a hunting buddy that could see your location in a text? Then let him give you directions. Not picking on you but that sounds like a less than responsible use of the SOS button.
This was very brave of you to post.
Wow. Thanks for sharing. I think the only way I would consider pushing that button would be if I was in a knife fight with the grim reaper and losing, but now I know the process.
SOS is similar to calling mayday to coast guard. The only thing they will do is the save your life, the most important. Boat will definitely be left behind but your life will be saved. You only use SOS when your life is in jeapordy. But you can message friends your location and ask that help. I love my phone map capabilities but I always try to navigate without it and carry paper topo because those batteries never die
Aspen Ghost's Link
That's not what the SOS button is for. It would be like dialing 911 for directions.
Attached is an related article. I guess some folks were upset that some heroic rescue was not made for this damsel in distress. But rescue teams aren't there to give free rides to poor planners. She wasn't in danger, she just didn't plan well. And, BTW, this rescue team did give her directions in the morning.
I ain't touching that button unless I'm about to die. Mainly, just so they can find the body.
Save Our Souls, or now “hey maybe can I get directions to Starbucks, my phone battery died” LOL, sorry I couldn’t Help it.
Yeah, I’ve even considered gluing the cover closed on mine! No way I’m pushing that button!
I thought they designed it so only female fingers fit inside there to push the SOS button?
We’re having fun with this now :)
Brotsky… that was a good one:)
Cracking up laughing
Man this could get rough…
I can’t stop laughing !! Sorry Glunker:)
My only piece of advice is to use Offline maps when using OnX Maps. Keep the phone in airplane mode. I just did an 8 day elk hunt in WY and was amazed at how long my battery life was following this tip.
I bet you won't do that again. But in all seriousness, glad to hear you made it out safely.
Your experience with OnX tracking is the same as mine....... it sucks down the battery in tracking mode to the point I don't like using it.
So you couldn't send messages to a friend or your wife with your GPS? I really don't understand why you did what you did or why you did not do certain things
Recently I lost my phone packing into the Gila wilderness and was pretty freaked out but only because I lost my phone. I quickly regrouped and just started using the in-reach mini to text the wife, I also approved a real estate transaction using the in-reach mini that same evening. It wasn't easy to use that PIA mini in-reach unit but my point is that one must know their gear and always think proactively to what may happen out in the woods and be prepared.
An SOS button is only one part of being prepared for things that could go wrong.
Lots of feedback by some tough hombres. My partner was not getting cell service so it would do no good to message him. One of the points I wanted users to know is the response time was not what I was expecting nor was their ability to help me. I also thought that maybe they could provide critical info say for example how to do a tracheodomy, from my experience that is questionable. I was not about to have a rescue team find me because I would not spend another night on a mtn. What I started doing was rather than using tracking on my onx, I would measure the distance between me and a destination, save the line and follow it. Seemed like I used less cell juice.
I don't see anyone being tough on you, bottom line was you should have known prior that the SOS button wasn't for directions or how to do an emergency operation on your buddy or yourself.
Are we reading that you are okay with the turn of events? You should be much tougher on yourself because of what happened but good for you for posting this and now you know to look deeper at your preparedness, there are definitely things to be addressed before your next adventure. The good thing is that you may help yourself and others with your post, someone reading may need to make adjustments to their game plan before they go out in the woods.
My wife freaked out when I texted her (from the Inreach) that I had called in a bear to 5 yards (which I thought was pretty cool)...she thought I was being attacked. After I stopped laughing, I explained to her that if a bear was attacking me, I wouldn't be texting her!
Was that Tuesday (the 27th)? Could hear the siren from the emergency vehicle.
I had my Inreach and iPhone (airplane mode) on continuously and the batteries held up amazingly well...even when I was in onX tracking mode.
Previously, I had only experienced the "Spot", so the Inreach and coupled with my iPhone was very easy to use...gave my wife "peace of mind" that they could find the body (ha!).
Glad you found your way home but that's definitely not what the SOS button is for! When you hit that button the SAR team will start to mobilize, and you potentially take resources away from somebody who really needs them. If your hunting partner had an InReach you could've messaged him directly...
We have rules about the inreach. The only time I hit the sos will be life or death…. There are other preset messages. One specifically is I am good but need help. That is the key to send a friend to find me. I am stuck, have truck problems, lost but safe… the only SOS I have used was for an atv accident that had the driver with a mangled arm and the passenger with a broken collar bone.
"SOS is similar to calling mayday to coast guard. The only thing they will do is the save your life, the most important. Boat will definitely be left behind but your life will be saved." I was towed in from 25 Miles offshore by Coast Guard the other day (including my boat).
Does Inreach/Garmin send a bill when SOS is pushed?
In most situations....I don't believe the CG will leave an abandoned boat out floating. I suspect if they did and the vessel becomes a nav hazard, they may have some level of culpability should someone run into it. In some cases I know they will call the boat towing companies and let the owner and tow company deal with it. Some boats will get shot/sunk....especially ones that were carrying illegals. One exception to towing is in storms....it's just too dangerous for all involved. They'll hoist the folks off, mark the position and sort things out after the storm or hurricane passes.
Don K's Link
Yes, that was my case. We drifted for a couple hours trying for a tow until it was clear the CG was our only option. At that point they came and got us.
So, nobody contacted you after pressing the SOS? They are supposed to try to contact to see how bad the situation is and will respond with or without a response.
Good info. I used my inreach for the first time to text etc. Despite being at 12,000 feet with no taller peaks around and having it sit in the open with antenna pointed up, 98% of times I tried to text it said "no GPS signal available, do you want to send, some info might be missing.
I have used a lot of gps's over the years and was completely shocked at this. I should have had a strong signal! This was literally the best case scenario. Wide open, not really cold, gps in open, antenna pointed up for 30 minutes, on, fully charged. I have no idea what would have happened if I hit SOS.
Note my gps almost instantly got a signal/location at lower elevations, in my tent, under cover below freezing - while the inreach, outside in open for 15 minutes still said sending a text did not have a good signal.
I was very disappointed with the units ability to acquire a signal.
Don, There may be something wrong with your Inreach. I just got a Mini 2 in August and it acquired gps very rapidly even under trees in some deep canyons.
AG thanks, maybe. Did you ever get that message when sending a message?
Also no gps points I saved show up online on the garmin map?
Update I had the same issues. On top of mountain. Probably 8 - 10 different times, different days. Clear skies, 11,000 feet, no higher peaks around. Inreach mini2 turned on for hours, set on rock antenna pointed at sky. Tyy to send message and get same "error".
At one point while my inreach was "thinking" I pulled out my 10 year (or older) garmin dakota. Turned it on. Got a signal and confirmed on map it found me. Saved a gps point, and turned it off. All of this BEFORE my brand new inreach mini2 could send a simple text message.
I have no faith in my garmin mini2
I would contact Garmin and get a replacement...I also purchased a Garmin Inreach mini 2 and had zero problems with it. And I was always in a canyon with everything around me at a higher point.
Glunker, Wear your glasses on a rhinestone neckchain.
I am glad others are sharing that they have no issues. I will contact them, I just wanted to share my personal story. I am suspect I got a lemon.
That little button is becoming a major and very expensive PIA for SAR teams. People punch it when they run out of water on a day hike, get a flat tire, run low on snacks, run out of gas, etc.. Imagine you have a true medical emergency and the SAR team is out looking for a woman with a broken shoelace.
They should rename it the "Mommy button"
Mommy button? Bwaahahahahaha! Nailed it. The local Sheriff's office and SARS folks will be sending you a HUGE bill for services rendered if it's not a bona-fide life or death matter. Losing the trail or spending the night out doesn't meet the criteria if you're a hunter. If aircraft are involved in the search, you could be looking at a bill exceeding $.5 + million these days. You shouldn't be depending on the E-tech. Know the landscape, study the maps and know how to work the compass with the map. Running tracks on the devices is as you've learned a fast drain on batt life. Loss of the devices today in the field leads to unnecessary anxiety which will then lead to bad judgements and panic. I just finished a hunt helping a disabled man on his first elk hunt. He spent most of his time looking at his phone instead of looking for animals. It was very annoying. Esp. when the evening fell, and he fretted about getting out before dark. Dude, the critters stick their noses out the last 10 minutes of shooting light. He constantly kept informing me about his phones batt life and where we were. Lame and sad. Lessons learned cheap this time Glunker.
Just saw this post. Glunker you are a brave soul for posting this. I guess you know by now that it not what the SOS is for, but I bet a lot of people that have the service have done the same thing as you.
I use a 66i. It gives me Inreach and very good navigation. It has an excellent antenna. I also use gaia on my phone and print out a map if in an unfamiliar place. Always carry a compass and have a battery charger if I am out for more than one day. Have whatever you need in your pack to stay out overnight if you have to. The people on my text message list in Inreach are folks that are at least close enough to be able to help me. Family members in other states can't help you. That SOS will only get hit if I am dying.
And most important; make sure you know how to use everything. Practice communicating with friends using your inreach.
I think people place way to much reliance on their phones. Don't get me wrong. They work great, as long as you have the offline map downloaded before you leave your house. And airplane mode that was recommended above is sound advice. However, they are not made for the backcountry and can fail if dropped or if it gets wet. Also, have any of you folks ever have the gps go wonky on your phone when in the mountains? I have. It was off by 180 degrees. Thank god I had other means to verify. As much as I hate garmin and their 30 year old software tech, the hardware is bombproof. The phone should be considered a backup. The 66i is extra weight on my pack, but it comes with me on every outing. Most of the time it never gets turned on. But I know its there and can get me out when my phone fails. Pete
OnX using offline maps. I have never had a problem with my phone since I started using this method. I went 3 days in WY this year withhout charging my phone.