Sea Smart 3, & what about Rescue 21?

Rescue21 Deployment Jan06 2

Well, so far a very small sampling of Panbites (?) is not too excited about Sea Smart. But I am. I think it may well become a “no brainer” for offshore fishermen, long distance coastal cruisers, and others, especially once it’s fully rolled out. I for one am tickled that at last there’s a service that makes good use of DSC. Especially as I’ve been in touch with the U.S.C.G. again, and the latest on Rescue 21 is discouraging. At least they’ve finally got a revised implementation schedule—above, and bigger here
—which is better than the situation I wrote about last year. But check it out. Full implementation of R21, once expected by 12/2006, is now set for 2011!

Now Sea Smart is not meant for distress calling, but its call center will be able to hear DSC distress calls and relay them to the Guard if needed. I like that, and think its another reason to wish the service well. But there is a contrarian view, expressed to me by a couple of you via the back channels. There have been issues with Sea Tow and other towing services over salvage claims—in fact I once wrote about such a  questionable claim, and then about all the follow up letters. So cynics theorize that Sea Smart’s long range coastal VHF network will give Sea Tow franchisees a head start on possible salvage operations. My take:

* Sea Smart might make any towing service better because it will give you a more reliable way to get a call through or get help from an operator, and the operators will know exactly where you are, even if you aren’t sure.

* Sea Tow especially gets better because its dispatch center is in the room next to Sea Smart. (And the combined subscription package, $262, is going to appeal to many).

* Every boater should learn exactly what the difference is between towing and salvage.  

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

6 Responses

  1. DM says:

    What I found underwhelming is their roll out schedule. In a business (IT) where the hype far exceeds reality, and the value propositions are all in the eye of the beholder. This is a definite wait and see.

  2. Russ says:

    I’m afraid I also don’t share your enthusiasm. From San Francisco to Monterey the cell phone coverage is fine at least 8-10 miles offshore.
    As others have said, I can reach the CG from well offshore. The inbound calls might actually be more interesting since I can never know why or when somebody will want to reach me.
    In general, I’m also not interested in yet another monthly subscription service, charge me by the call. Perhaps the commercial fisherman or sport fisherman who travel further offshore will find it appealing.

  3. JGB says:

    I’ve e-mailed Sea Smart to no avail, so does anyone have an answer on whether they will incorporate SSB?
    Your MMSI also covers MF/HF transmissions & this could be a fantastic way to keep in touch offshore.
    Combined with SCAMP, you’d have a phenomenal worldwide comms/data setup for not much more than equipment costs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am afraid it may turn in to another Maritel… With the advent of the ICOM M802 DSC capabilities and Shipcom’s ability to make phone calls… Do we really need Sea Smart?

  5. Jeff says:

    There is nothing about this Sea Smart thing that appeals to me. My cell phone seems to work for a good 5 or more miles offshore. With an external antenna, I’d probably pick up a few more miles. I really don’t want another fee to bridge the gap from 10 miles to maybe 50 miles offshore. For many people going that far or doing a crossing, they’ll have SSB anyway.
    It seems to me to be a major limitation that it is only ship-to-shore. As a safety thing, sure, I want to be able to call from my boat. But I also want to receive emergency calls from land-based family members when I’m cruising.
    Finally, I really doubt that the centrally-based call center is going to be an appropriate place to get restaurant or marina suggestions. Will marinas pay a fee to SeaTow to get special mention?
    All in all, I think that technology has marched way past this re-branded old idea…

  6. gshepard says:

    Just used the system on a trip from Ft Myers>Islamorada>Key West and back.
    Phone system great to Marathon om Fl East coast & Everglades City on FL west coast.
    Seasmart tracking ability is great safety feature.
    Maybe a little big brother watching, as in mother in law asking why we were stopping here and there.
    But fabulous when my brother borrows the boat!

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