We’ll call him Captain ‘Pete’ for this writing. He has been a East Coast Satellite Communications client for a number of years. Two weeks ago I was in the office on a Saturday when one of my sales staff called to tell me an Iridium phone had been responsible for rescuing a client. She had recieved an e-mail saying that the cliet and crew were on a Chinese freighter. Of course I wanted to know the story, so here it is:
“We were sailing from the Turks Caicos to St Thomas in light winds. About noon the forestay broke and within seconds the mast fell. Luckily no one was hurt. We used the Iridium Satellite phone to contact the owner of the boat and advise him of our situation. Clearly he was not happy with the failure of the forestay. We decided to motor to St Thomas. Although we had minimal confidence in the belt that turns the alternator and water pump. Within about 6 hours the belt broke. We then called the USCG and advised them of our situation. We were approximately 250 miles from land. This is a little risky for a helicopter pickup, too expensive for a tow. A ship happened to be close and the USCG directed them to us. We boarded the ship and were taken to New Orleans. Without the satellite phone we would have had a very difficult time communicating with anyone. Our EPIRB only has a battery life of 24 hours and you have no way of knowing if anyone has received the message. My satellite phone has been an invaluable asset in my 200,000 miles experience on the ocean.”
While those who carry satellite phones for emergencies never really expect they will actually have to use them, we in the industry expect this kind of result, specifically because they had a satellite phone. What other piece of gear brings about this outcome?
As I said above Captain ‘Pete’ has been a client for years. Has he needed his satellite phone before? Not really, not that much. Imagine if he had shut it off, because, ‘I’m/we’re sick of paying the bill’ for something that I/we don’t use. Yes, I am intentionally mocking short-sighted people here.
I am in disbelief when I hear people tell me they will/have shut off their satellite phones because they have never needed them before. Can’t the same be said for car insurance and health insurance? Certainly life insurance; terminate it! I mean YOU never use that. (I’m kidding; do NOT terminate your life insurance policy).
The point is that you never know when your satellite phone will be the most important thing in your travel or work bag. Satellite phones save lives and this is just one story of such an experience.
Captain ‘Pete’ and his crew know it firsthand. And now you do too.
Satellite phones save lives. Keep your lines active because it could just be your turn next.
Thanks for reading!