The high seas can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment where reliable communications for assistance and information are indispensable. Today, access to highly reliable, easy to use and economical satellite communications links with built in safety at sea and distress alerting capability are available for all size vessels, from cargo and passenger carriers and commercial fishing, to recreational sailing craft as small as 30 feet.
Satellite systems (Satcoms) designed for the marine environment have seen significant advances since their inception twenty years ago, providing voice, telex, fax and data services allowing the mariner to operate a commercial business office easily from sea. One system, Inmarsat C, is especially suitable to fleet operators of vessels of any size. It was developed as a low cost satcom suitable for fitting on a vessel of any size, large or small. However, Its size and weight, slightly larger than a car radio with a small five pound omnidirectional antenna, made it especially suitable for fishing vessels that were too small for the standard large and expensive Inmarsat antenna installation. This system does not provide voice communications, but provides a means of sending text messages (fax/telex/e-mail), in a very short time.
Inmarsat Cs automatic distress calling feature, with fast and reliable alert calling to the Rescue Coordination Centers (RCC) in closest proximity to the vessel in distress, is unparalleled by any other marine communications system. Last year, Inmarsat announced the commissioning and activation of the 100,000th Inmarsat C of all classes (land mobile, aeronautical and marine) since the inception of this digital communication device in 1991. This "bench mark" satcom was one of 3,938 "Cs" installed on the Rorqual IV, a 112 ton French fishing trawler based in LOrient, Brittany.
The International Maritime Satellite Organization (INMARSAT), the global communications satellite consortium of member nations (now 81 countries), provides the only two-way satellite communications recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). It provides communications around the clock for vessels of all sizes voyaging in all oceans of the globe. These satellites, two for the Atlantic Ocean Region , one for the Pacific Ocean Region and one for the Indian Ocean Region, provide for complete global coverage with the exception of the far polar regions above about 76 degrees north and below 76 degrees south latitude.
For more information on these and other marine satellite communication systems contact Quest Telecom International, 89 Main St. Ellsworth, ME 04605