Being in the midst of a vast ocean gives you one great opportunity to meditate and break free from the stress in the city. Indeed, this lets you discover more of yourself better. However, you cannot wholly be away and remain out of touch because some unfortunate incidents can happen anytime.
Surely, you have a family who worries about you, and you have a job, or a business that needs your response in case there are some urgent matters. Hence, if you want to remain in touch when traversing the waters, the best satellite phone for a boat is a must-have for you.
Portable satellite phones are considered one of the best options. Some of them are offered free of any coverage plans and can function as a very economical means of global text and voice communications. Such a device is an excellent investment because this type of phone enables you to stay connected when you are distant from cellular coverage locations.
This post contains several satellite phones designed for boats that you can choose. You can make careful comparisons of their unique features, pros and cons. In the same way, you can have an idea of their price range and other functions that would be useful for your needs.
Table of Contents
- Best Satellite Phone for Boat Reviews of 2023
- 1. Garmin inReach Mini GPS Satellite Communicator
- 2. Satellite Phone Store 2019 Unlocked IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone
- 3. Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro2 Handheld Satellite Phone
- 4. BlueCosmo Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Bundle
- 5. Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messaging
- 6. BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Kit
- 7. Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
- 8. Garmin inReach SE+ Handheld Satellite Communicator
- 9. Thuraya XT-LITE Satellite Phone
- 10. BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone
- 11. Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone
- 12. SatPhoneStore Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone
- What to Look for When Buying a Satellite Phone for Boat
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Satellite Phone for Boat Reviews of 2023
1. Garmin inReach Mini GPS Satellite Communicator
It is worth noting that this device lets you have fast access to easy-to-download maps, colour aerial imagery, U.S NOAA charts and lots more with the aid of Garmin Earthmate app and other compatible devices. You can also have the optional inReach weather forecast service to obtain more exhaustive details to your paired device or inReach mini and you can select from available basic and premium weather packages.
For basic navigation, you can refer to the electronic compass that displays the distance and bearings to a waypoint or along a route. However, please take note of the importance of knowing and complying with all applicable laws in the jurisdictions where you plan to use this satellite phone.
- Designed as lightweight, rugged and small satellite communicator
- Made with Optional inReach weather forecast service
- Allows transmitting and getting inReach messages instantly through compatible Garmin devices
- A practical sat phone to stay in touch immediately wherever you are
- Built with interactive SOS to allow users to get instant access to 24/7 search and rescue monitoring centre
- Concise battery life
- Customer service support is unsatisfying
2. Satellite Phone Store 2019 Unlocked IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone
If you need a premium quality sat phone for far forest or ocean travel; then this product perfectly fits that purpose. Aside from its exceptional voice capability, it comes with GPS, emergency locator feature and SMS. If you can activate the SIM card during the listed periods of operation, then you are good to go in that aspect.
Once bought, this item already includes 100 unit of prepaid card that is all set for prepaid activation. Be sure to adhere to the activation procedures to activate the sat phone without much difficulty, and from there, you don’t need to worry about hidden charges. If you prefer, you could purchase minutes whenever you require them or obtain monthly service and delight in endless connectivity.
- Built with innovative display technology that offers well-enhanced daytime visibility
- Offers free 24/7 global customer support service
- Allows easy position tracking with GPS, receive and make voice calls without expensive roaming charges
- Works reliably especially during emergencies
- Includes complete accessories and other devices to allow easy activation and service
- Activation can be challenging
- Can only offer limited connection in some areas
3. Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro2 Handheld Satellite Phone
Many consumers pick this product because it can guarantee global coverage with very affordable calling charges. Users can transmit SMS messages, make voice calls and track your position with GPS wherever you sail. Take note that this does not include Polar Regions. You can do all these without thinking about spending lavishly on roaming charges. This item is supported by a one year warranty too.
Furthermore, the battery life is superb and can last for days on standby. It is sturdy, functional and looks rugged. Waterproofing is reliable, and this is quite useful for brief updates and emergencies. Meanwhile, if you opt for a satellite phone that is trustworthy enough and can be your companion while away from dry land, then this is your safest bet.
- Complete kit that includes all required devices and accessories for a satellite phone
- A piece of cake to activate and customer support is excellent
- Allows receiving SMS and calls on your phone without any additional charge
- Designed with a broad array of flexible airtime options
- Includes Quick Start Guide and SIM card
- Not directly connected to a USB in a computer
- Coverage is not as represented
4. BlueCosmo Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Bundle
This item already contains almost all the necessary accessories used for excellent global communication. It is duck soup to get started because this includes practical user guides and quick-start instructions. With it, you can lean on two-way SMS and short email capability no matter where you are in the world. Talk time can last for up to 3 hours while the battery can last 30 hours standby.
If you prefer a universal satellite phone service, this brand won’t fail you. The best thing about it is that whether you are in the most remote locations, the connection is possible. Your family can quickly locate you and be updated with your happenings. This device’s more unique and advanced email messaging and SMS functions are what set it apart from other options out there because it is not limited.
- Provides premium quality data and voice connections in Polar Regions, airways and across oceans
- Compact and powerful
- Includes integrated speakerphone, well-enhanced email messaging and SMS capabilities
- Equipped with Li-Ion battery that comes with standby times of 30 hours and 3 hours talk time
- Specifically designed wherever you wish to go
- Incomplete box contents
- Considered one of the most costly options
5. Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messaging
You can connect the Spot X to your smartphone through Bluetooth. Alternatively, you can utilize its data so you could stay connected with everyone. It is worth knowing that this sat messenger comes with excellent battery life and also allows several connectivity options to guarantee that users can easily get connected with people they care about or instantly contact authorities in case of unfortunate incidents.
Besides, this phone is lightweight, portable and the batteries can be immediately replaced mid-trip if you have a spare set. It is nice to know that a single set of lithium batteries are capable of lasting a long period.
- Practical to use for aviators as well as emergency preps
- Only requires simple setup procedure and operation is easier
- Can offer useful features such as check-ins, compass, Bluetooth phone connectivity app, messaging and SOS
- Battery lifespan is 240 hours and designed with rechargeable lithium
- Makes contacting the authorities during emergencies more straightforward
- Poorer reliability of transmitting and getting messages and tracking points
- User interface is more complicated to use and buggier than the inReach
6. BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Kit
This satellite phone is excellent because you can let your loved ones know your whereabouts and is reliable for emergencies. The reception would exceed your expectations and capable of functioning exceptionally within a dense forest. Moreover, you can enjoy clear calls that come with a bit of digital distortion. Meanwhile, the ear speaker is loud and is built with good quality.
The phone is slightly large; however, it is not that bulky, and it feels incredibly durable. It includes all the accessory required once bought, such as the travel case, wall and car charges and earpiece. You need to use a standard micro USB when charging. This phone comes with a longer battery life, but it is crucial to switch the phone off when stored. All these would fit well into a camera bag.
You can use this phone even under rugged conditions since it is made to be dependable, sturdy and can fight off the dust, water and shock. It also comes with a humidity tolerance of 0 to 95%. This product includes a quick start guide, offered with 18 months warranty and SIM card once purchased.
- Allows 8-hour talk time and a total of 160 hours standby
- Tough and reliable built, can resist dust, shock and water
- Does not come with roaming charges and designed with global coverage
- Long-lasting batteries and well-enhanced daytime visibility
- Package includes all necessary device and equipment to make the satellite phone work
- Antenna requires to be deployed first to make a connection
- Quite overpriced
7. Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
This product can be tagged as a very portable satellite phone for a boat. It comes in small size and is not bulky so it won’t cause any burden in transporting and cruising faraway lands. It is good to note that this device allows users to take pleasure in second to none voice quality and capable of providing the swiftest handheld data speeds in sat phones these days. As compared to other available options, this is not overpriced yet it is functional.
For sailors, travelers, and for people who love going to remote locations, a reliable satellite phone is especially required. No matter what your reasons are when travelling, one thing is for sure- the need to stay connected so that you won’t miss out anything. This phone can be your companion if you wish to keep in touch and receive or make calls and messages while you are away.
- Allows 4-hour talk time, a total of 36-hour standby and includes a battery with a long lifespan
- Smooth sailing to use and comes with suitable size
- Designed with a lighted keypad and ergonomic design
- Comes with maximized backlit colour display for outdoor daytime viewing
- Portable, lightweight and very affordable for anyone short on budget
- Terrible customer service support
- Keeps dropping calls
8. Garmin inReach SE+ Handheld Satellite Communicator
This phone is built with 100% universal Iridium satellite coverage that allows two-way text messaging wherever the user is but this calls for a satellite subscription. It makes tracking and sharing your location with loved ones and colleagues a lot easier as you progress on your journey.
What makes this more distinguished than its competitors are its capability to activate an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search. This device can also assist in case of emergencies. From hinterlands experiences to international journeys, inReach could provide navigation, communication, critical SOS functions and location sharing for those who love to explore remote spots whether on skies, water or land.
There is no need to further your search because this brand can offer you superb quality handheld sat communicator that comes with reliable GPS navigation functions. The price is not as overpriced as other brands sold on the market nowadays.
- Allows two-way messaging from any location
- Can be paired with other mobile devices by utilizing Earthmate app
- Makes tracking and sharing your current location more accessible and clearer
- Includes built-in barometric altimeter, digital compass and accelerometer
- An ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts who prefer exploring farther
- User interface is not a touchscreen
- The map isn’t as bright as newer units
9. Thuraya XT-LITE Satellite Phone
It cannot be denied that the best marine satellite phone must be capable of guaranteeing clear and undisturbed connectivity. Luckily, if that is what you are presently searching for, then you can give this sat phone a go. This option is recognized for its dependable sat phone connectivity that comes with unmatched value. It is primarily made for cost-conscious consumers who necessitate secure connection while they’re away from home.
This phone lets users transmit SMS and make phone calls in a satellite mode- this is possible even when sailing at sea, traversing the desert or climbing mountains. The good thing about it is that even if there is no terrestrial network available; it is still easy to make calls and send text messages. It is very smooth sailing to use and can guarantee uninterrupted connectivity no matter how remote your current journey may be.
- Supported by the most powerful and reliable satellite network
- Comes with a durable and long-lasting battery
- Not complicated to use
- Allows dual GSM and satellite voice calling using only a single SIM card
- Capable of providing dependable phone connectivity and great value for the money
- Battery is not longer-lasting as advertised
- Seems not built with sturdy materials
10. BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone
This sat phone enables users to delight in a wide range of Iridium Monthly Service options that are especially crafted to satisfy your satellite communication needs without the need to spend more on yearly contracts. This product already includes a wind-resistant microphone, speakerphone plus a diamond tread tapered grip to guarantee much better in-hand ergonomics. This brand is a reliable option because it is renowned for being one of the top-rated providers of data and voice service.
What makes this a good deal to invest in is that you can rely on inbound and outbound SMS and voice calls that are generated by Iridium. Hence, wherever you are, monitoring your position is made easier with an outstanding GPS feature or the use of a built-in emergency SOS button that is intended to obtain assistance during unfortunate incidents.
- Capable of ensuring undisturbed monthly connectivity service
- Can provide universal coverage without any costly additional charges
- Comes with a complete kit and supported by an 18-month warranty program
- Not troublesome to activate with QuickStart and User Guides
- Built with military-grade durability and functions
- Cell power instantly declines when the user is engaged in transmitting and getting voice service
- Reception works well with an unhampered view of the sky, but signal is interrupted if there are blockages
11. Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone
Sure thing, if you’re going to explore some marine satellite phone reviews, you will discover that this brand is one of the highly trusted ones. Thus, you shouldn’t be overly surprised if the price tag is costly. As for quality, built, and performance- you wouldn’t have second thoughts about buying this device because it is quite reliable in those aspects. If you are going to inspect the unique and useful features and functions of this phone carefully, you will unveil that is indeed one of the most advanced sat phone available to date.
This sat phone is designed with short email capability and two-way SMS. As for its battery, it could allow a total of 30 hours of talk time, and it is also equipped with an illuminated weather-resistant keypad. Its military-grade toughness makes it a very dependable device that you can lean on whenever you’re travelling or need to partake in adventurous activities.
- Constructed with military-grade durability and unique functions
- Enables users to set up Iridium 9575 Extreme as a Wi-Fi hotspot
- Resistant to shock, dust and jet water
- Capable of providing fully integrated services of customizable GPS
- Highly recommended for adventurers and travellers
- Incapable of withstanding extremely drenched conditions
- Prepaid service is not cost-effective
12. SatPhoneStore Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone
A waterproof satellite phone is sold expensively at present, and this product is not an exemption. Once purchased, the package already contains SIM card that is pre-loaded with 50 unit. Yu can use it for 33 minutes and this is valid for a month after activation period. You can conveniently use SMS and voice calls over the universal Inmarsat satellite. This way, you can enjoy superb call and voice connectivity all the time wherever you are.
Many adventurers and explorers prefer this device because it is equipped with SOS and GPS capabilities. Also, the battery life can extend by up to 8 hours of talk and a sum of 160 hours standby. Thus, it is always all set whenever you need it the most. Packed with all the required accessories, getting started is made more convenient.
- Ready to activate
- Users can be guaranteed of reliable features, functions and coverage
- Includes cost-effective and practical emergency responder package
- Furnished with tempered glass screen protector
- Equipped with an excellent and dependable handset
- Not an affordable option for those with a limited budget
- Comes with a little tricky activation process
What to Look for When Buying a Satellite Phone for Boat
Factors to Look into when Getting a Satellite Phone for Boats:
- Renting vs. Buying
To accommodate many adventurers, outdoor travellers or sailors’ needs and preference, there are two options to consider: renting or buying a satellite phone for boats. The most appropriate one would highly rely on the frequency and how long each sail would be in a year.
- Power Source and Battery Life
At present, the only means to recharge your sat phone is to plug it into an electric power outlet traditionally. This concern would not be an issue under typical situations because nearly all vessels and yachts come with power sources for electronic devices.
However, as previously mentioned, if you’’ need to abandon the vessel, it is ideal to have with you a spare or two to completely and reliably recharge your batteries. A wholly charged one commonly last a period of 2 up to 3 hours of talk time.
Furthermore, some things that could affect the battery lifespan consist of the temperature and batteries. Extreme cold or hot could weaken the battery lifespan.
- The Trip
In general, you should have an insight into where you are heading. This factor is quite essential when you sail or traverse in the waters where there are no landmarks that could function as your reference in determining your location.
Look through the location you are heading. There could be neighboring islands that have cell sites. These would have been a waste of your time subscriptions. More than that, several communication firms offer coverage at specific locations for a less expensive cost as compared to the global coverage that is provided by Iridium phones.
Apart from this, the kind of weather could have impact on the capabilities of your satellite phone to enable you to communicate outside. A timeline is helpful to have as this would assist you which days you’re going to reach specific destination. Having fundamental insight would be beneficial because this would indicate the minutes you may require for the satellite phone.
- How portable is the satellite phone? Consider its weight, size and dimensions.
While there is no need to carry around the sat phone with you all the time since you’re staying inside the ship or yacht while voyaging when sailing, in instances that you and your companions need to abandon the vessel, this is worth considering.
Several options have their antennas built into the sat phone. Nonetheless, the antennas are mostly visible and come in a larger size. Moreover, they could be folded or stacked within the phone. Others are equipped with auxiliary antennas that are meant to amplify signals, particularly if more reliable internet connection is preferred.
- Other Vital Features
There are options that are designed with SOS button. Here, you need to pay for the subscription. As you press it, the rescuers would be there to provide you the required assistance. A renowned subscriptions service is from GEOS. These are serviceable for a total of 140 countries, can respond and dispatch support 24/7.
Additionally, numerous systems sustain low bandwidth access of internet. Typically, the connection you would obtain is not as fast as LTE services or 3G. Other options are capable of broadcasting your exact GPS location. This feature is very convenient, particularly for rescuers, because they could monitor you instantly. Such a feature can provide your loved ones with the peace of mind of being updated with your whereabouts.
And, because we are in the era of smartphones, it would now be handy for satellite phones to be capable of synching with the regular Samsung or iPhone phone. If that is so, many apps will remain unworkable.
As you might already know, the weather in the ocean is frequently variable. This is the reason why investing in a premium quality satellite phone that offers the latest weather-related updates is crucial.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a satellite phone for boat?
Satellite phones largely depend on a network of satellites that are either fixed in Low Earth Orbit or Equator that’s anywhere from 500 to a thousand miles above the earth. These devices are barely affected by raging storms and, relying on the architecture of their system; they work virtually in any locations globally.
The devices are commonly lightweight and might be roughly the same size as a mobile phone. Fundamentally, having a sat phone could be a lifesaver even when your ship or yacht is furnished with other electronics. This device allows you to stay in touch with everyone wherever you are in the world.
How does it work?
Sat phones for boats work by directly transmitting radio signals to a satellite that afterwards dispatches back down to earth where a station would forward the call to the public switched telephone network.
Please be guided that the outbound calls are transmitted from the sat phone on the ground to the other satellites that is not beyond the line of sight.
Then, the next call is passed on from one satellite to another wherein it reaches the suitable sat to link back down to the correct ground station. From there, the call is delivered to the Internet or public voice network when it hits the recipient.
What are the different types of satellite phones for boat?
These are installed in a geostationary orbit at a fixed position in the sky. Such devices can sustain close by continuous universal coverage that comes with merely three up to four satellites, so it helps minimize the launch costs.
These satellites utilized for such systems are quite bulky and pricey to build and launch. The satellites sit at a total of 35,786 kilometres in altitude; however, an evident delay exists while making calls or utilizing data services due to the remote distance from users.
It is worth noting that the bandwidth amount on such systems is substantially higher as compared to Low Earth Orbit systems- all the three active systems offer compact satellite internet that utilizes laptop-sized terminals that come with speeds between 60 and 512 kbps.
These sat phones are practical to be utilized only at lower latitudes; in general, between 70 degrees north of the equator and 70 degrees south of the equator. Moreover, the line of sight between the satellite and phone tends to be severely affected by hindrances like forest and steep hills. Hence, signal interference is expected.
Low Earth Orbit
These satellite phones help provide users with global wireless coverage without any gaps. They orbit the earth in more superior speeds, with an altitude of 400 up to 700 miles, low-altitude orbits that come with an orbital period of 70 by up to 100 minutes.
Additionally, because the satellites are not geostationary, they maneuver towards the ground. The call must be handed off electronically to the other satellites when users pass further than the local scope since the given sat is solely in view of a phone for a short period.
Relying on the terminal and satellite positions, a workable pass of a LEO sat would commonly last roughly four up to fifteen minutes. A minimum of 1 satellite must come with a line of sight to each coverage spot at all times to ensure the coverage. Hence, a constellation of the satellites, which is usually 40 up to 70 is needed to sustain global coverage.
Why do you need a satellite phone for boat? (Benefits)
There are plenty of perks in having a satellite phone for boats, and a few of these include:
- These devices can keep you and your loved ones in touch during emergencies and diverse sorts of disasters, especially if you are living or frequently travelling to earthquake or hurricane-prone areas. Relying on laptops, smartphones or landline phones alone is not specifically enough in unfortunate situations like these.
- This device provides much broader coverage as compared to a regular phone. With a sat phone, it is unnecessary to be troubled about looking for signals just to make calls and send messages. You can stay right where you are and get in touch with everyone.
- A sat phone gives your family and friends the peace of mind whenever you sail or tour around remote and unfamiliar places because they can get monitored on the progress of your journey and they could reach out to you more easily.
- Satellite networks nowadays are main-stream. Indeed, these devices have been accountable for saving lives and offering communications, especially at tough times such as disasters. Connecting users with the outside world when terrestrial-based networks break down is no longer a serious problem to deal with nowadays. Mobile networks could be unavailable and fragile for different reasons.
- Such a device enables users to instantly get connected with the fire and police department, and other government agencies during disasters or emergencies. Calling nearby medical facility and requesting for assistance without any difficulty is easy to do with a reliable sat phone. Also, check this list of the most trusted first aid kit for urgent situations if you need.
- Sat phones are straightforward to utilize. Its functions are similar to regular mobile phones. They include a manual that guides users on how to set it up, recharge and use it.
As you can using a satellite phone for boats can guarantee an uncomplicated and convenient means to communicate with loved ones back home to minimize their worries while you are away from home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted satellite phones for boat brands?
Some of the most trusted brands that you can select from when buying high quality satellite phone for boats consist of:
These brands are popular, tested and proven to be producers of premium quality sat phones that most sailors, adventurers and travellers around the world trust and prefer.
How to use?
Depending on the brand and type of sat phone you prefer to use; these devices sometimes come with slightly different setup process and functions. Hence, it is a must to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up one.
Where to buy?
Fortunately, high-quality satellite phones for boats are not that difficult to find since a lot of options are readily available in many renowned and credible online shopping sites like Amazon. You only need to do your homework first and be sure to be well aware of the requirements, features and functions that you want to have when buying one. Shopping online is more convenient and can offer you lots of exclusive promos and great deals that can help you save more money in the end.
As always, go for highly trusted brands that have been considered the top choices for many marine or boating activities enthusiasts. Products manufactured by credible brands are guaranteed to be reliable and functional. While most of them are priced much higher than other available options, your satisfaction is guaranteed. And, best of all, quality is not compromised.
How to care and maintain?
For satellite phone care and maintenance guides and procedures, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines with regards to the dos and don’ts of the device. Proper use and storage is a must. Review the product information or description to avoid any issues in the future.
In a nutshell, when searching for the best satellite phone for boats, the first thing that must be highly considered is what you need it for. It is critical to thoroughly compare satellite phones and other satellite equipment to guarantee that they are compatible with your personal communication requirements.
As previously mentioned, think about what you have to be able to do with your device or satellite phone, if you’re going to use it more for sending text messages or making calls; or if you merely need it to have primary email access. Additionally, check if you could utilize your tablet or smartphone for data access or satellite voice.
The different satellite phones for boats reviewed in this article are designed with distinct and unique features that help guarantee a continuous and uninterrupted form of communication whenever you’re sailing. Majority of them are useful for sending SOS alerts, making a quick call for some emergencies and capable of easily tracking your location. Indeed, it is critical to have instant access to the internet and examine the device’s broadcast capabilities.
As shown, there are a lot of essential features and functions that you need to look into when purchasing top-quality satellite phones for boats. We hope this article can serve as your practical guide when shopping for the right option that could match your preference and requirements.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.