Garmin buys GEOS, good or bad for SEND distress services?

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

17 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Incidentally, the Garmin inReach MFD integration shown in the last image does not yet include the ability to type custom messages using the MFD’s bright touchscreen keypad, but I’m told that’s coming soon as part of an MFD update.

  2. James says:

    Do you happen to know if a Garmin inReach (or even the likes of Zoleo) subscription includes rescue costs as standard or do you need to go directly through GEOS?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Well, both Garmin and Zoleo include unlimited SOS messages in all their service plans:

      https://discover.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/personal/

      https://www.zoleo.com/en-us/plans/

      That does not cover actual rescue costs, but usually they are free from the governmental SAR organizations that GEOS coordinates with, like the USCG. So the additional GEOS SAR insurance plans you can purchase apply to situations where a private rescue contractor comes into play, generally in the third world.

      • Rob says:

        Very untrue. Almost all medical helicopters charge huge costs in the US. When I coordinated air evacs in South America a fat deposit was required before they would spool up. Looks like Garmin is slowing cancelling medevac insurance. A huge diminution of the value of InReach.

        • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

          Good grief, Rob, you really need to work on your reading skills. Like SAR and USCG. Also check out LifeFlight of Maine, an actual med heli service that is nonprofit and often free.

          • Rob says:

            30 years full time RN EMT. University trauma hospital. Ambulance duty. USAF medic. I’ve reviewed hundreds of EMS bills including international medevac and intra US helo missions. Free is rare. I stand by my report…

          • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

            Rob, do you even realize that you’re ommenting on a U.S. boating site? So most readers use an inReach or similar in distress to reach out to the USCG, whose rescue assets include ships, planes, helicopters, rescue swimmers and medics, all free of charge except in cases of purposeful false alarms. Many countries offer free SAR services, reachable by inReach or Zoleo etc.

  3. Nathan says:

    Looks like Garmin is slowly making the move . Once they GEOS , they will know if they are at risk with their competitors .
    So a potential takeover of Zoleo ?

  4. They have just dropped MEDEVAC insurance.
    “We would like to inform you that existing MEDEVAC membership benefits will no longer be renewable after Dec. 31, 2021. However, if you renewed your MEDEVAC membership benefit in 2021, it will still expire one year from your renewal date.

    New MEDEVAC membership benefits are no longer available for purchase.”

  5. Rob says:

    Please help me clarify the medevac insurance(no longer?) offered thru Garmin InReach. Medical helicopters are all private for-profit services in my state, New Mexico. $40-80k per ride. I’m no lawyer, but looking at Garmin’s announcements they are getting out of the rescue cost reimbursement business. Thanks

  6. Will King says:

    A brief review of their new terms of service also shows that they may not even attempt to contact rescue services on your behalf in certain countries, depend on local governmental SAR services to the exclusion of coordinating private rescue in areas where the government may not provide those services, and will now only pay claims for services on a reimbursement basis, thus ensuring you won’t be able to use their services in areas where cash up front is the standard.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I guess that nonprofit medevac services are rare, but LifeFlight of Maine is great for my state and also for cruisers poking around remote parts of the coast. Average fee is currently 15,000, more detail here:

    https://www.ellsworthamerican.com/featured/lifeflight-runs-lean-in-world-of-rising-costs/

    Also this great profile by my wonderful daughter Jesse:

    https://downeast.com/issues-politics/healers-in-the-sky/

  8. Kris says:

    WOW, What happened to GEOS, now Garmin, and SPOT relationship? Gone to zero in less than a year. SPOT now uses FocusPoint – “What happens if I press the S.O.S. button? “FocusPoint International, Inc. provides the S.O.S./911 monitoring included in your Basic Service. Your device will send FocusPoint International”

    From findmespot dot com web page today

    https://www.findmespot.com/en-us/spot-focuspoint-partnership

  9. Ron says:

    Anyone signing up for any of the SAR plans being sold by Garmin under the “my-geos” or IERCC should read fully the terms and conditions. You may be surprised to learn that you do not have coverage for natural disasters, it’s right there in the terms and conditions in plain english among many other exclusions. Cash cow, near zero payouts, another garmin money grab.
    I discovered this product because of a handout that came with my new inmarsat sat phone and thought what a great idea. Then noticed the Garmin copyright at the bottom of the page…that prompted me to read the full terms and conditions, which prompted me to forget the whole thing.

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I notice that the new ACR Bivy Stick — https://panbo.com/bivy-stick-acrs-new-satellite-tracker-with-strong-outdoor-roots/ — uses a company called Global Rescue to dispatch SAR services. The dispatch is included in the communications subscription but GR also offers rescue and medical policies:

    “Q: HOW DOES THE SOS WORK?

    A: Global rescue handles all SOS monitoring for Bivy stick users. Once you initiate the SOS button Global Rescue will dispatch the appropriate SAR based on your location. Your monthly subscription includes dispatch for rescue anywhere in the world. You could possibly be responsible for costs incurred from a rescue and you can purchase a Global Rescue membership for additional rescue insurance. To activate the SOS on the device, pull back the red tab and depress the button for 5 seconds. The lights will indicate if an SOS has been activated. https://partner.globalrescue.com/bivy/

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