New SPOT Assist Maritime Service Summons BoatU.S. Towing
Stranded Boaters Can Notify BoatU.S. On-Water Vessel Assistance with SPOT Satellite Messenger Products Despite Remote Locations or Limited Communications
MILPITAS, CA - (December 1, 2009) – Spot LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT) and a leader in personal satellite messaging communications today announced the availability of SPOT Assist Maritime, a new on-water towing service dedicated exclusively to the boating community. SPOT Assist Maritime combines satellite-messaging communications and GPS technology with BoatU.S. Towing Services, who operate the nation’s largest fleet of towboats for recreational boaters.
Boaters who purchase SPOT Assist Maritime service can summon a towboat using the Help button on their hand-held SPOT Satellite Messenger device for non-emergency towing or soft ungrounding assistance while off-shore at sea or in freshwater areas independent of cellular coverage and VHF radio.
“The biggest challenge we often face are boaters who are unable to provide an accurate offshore location and vessel information to our responding towboat captains,” states Jerry Cardarelli, Vice President of BoatU.S. Towing Services. “SPOT Assist Maritime uses satellites instead of depending on untrustworthy cell phone coverage offshore and sends us the necessary BoatU.S. member profile information so we can continuously communicate the boater’s location to our captains to help ensure a speedy response.”
By pressing the Help button on their SPOT device, boaters can send an automatic alert message and their GPS location coordinates via satellite to the BoatU.S. 24-hour nationwide dispatch centers. Custom interface software developed by SPOT passes a full member profile to BoatU.S. including the disabled boat’s latitude and longitude, vessel description, home marina, owner and family contact information. SPOT Assist Maritime transmits a new message and location every 5 minutes for one hour which is crucial if the disabled vessel is drifting in currents and unable to anchor.
SPOT Messenger products allow for multiple messaging options such as sending an “I’m OK” message to personal contacts or transmitting real-time tracking updates for online viewing. In a life-threatening emergency, pressing the SOS/911 button instead of the Help button will alert SPOT’s global emergency response center.
“Boaters have been using SPOT to track their locations and communicate with others when spending time beyond reliable cellular service for work, safety or just to stay connected with friends and family,” said Katie Schoeben, Director of Worldwide Marketing for Spot LLC. “Until now, boaters had no inexpensive way to notify professional towing services of their need for assistance if traditional means of communication where unavailable. SPOT Assist Maritime offers a reliable, integrated solution for our customers on the water.“
The BoatU.S. towing fleet offers North American boaters the largest network of U.S., Canadian and Bahamian towing ports with over 290 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels — three times that of any other service provider. Services include on-the-water towing, soft ungrounding, fuel delivery and jumpstarts.
SPOT Assist for Maritime is not available in Hawaii. BoatU.S. strongly recommends boaters have a DSC-VHF radio aboard to be able to hail the closest potential rescuers — fellow boaters and the Coast Guard— in an emergency. For offshore passages, BoatU.S. also recommends having an EPIRB aboard.
SPOT units start at $99.99 plus a $99.99 annual Basic Service Plan. Optional services such as Track Progress can also be purchased. To add SPOT Assist Maritime costs just $24 for the required BoatU.S. membership and a $10 SPOT Link connection fee.
With the national average on-the-water boat towing bill costing about $600, boaters can keep their wallets intact by adding a BoatU.S Towing Services “Unlimited” towing plan for freshwater lakes and rivers for $34 annually. An “Unlimited” on-the-water towing plan for saltwater is just $125.
BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half a million members with government representation, programs and money saving services, including on-the water towing. Last year, the BoatU.S. towing fleet responded to over 60,000 requests for assistance. For more information visit www.BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.