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distinguished member(1471)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/23/2024 05:14PM  
It seems that there are a number of rescues already this year for paddlers who are lost.

I have a Zoleo. Others in my group have a spot or a Garmin InReach. One of the benefits is that if you were lost, you could activate your Zoleo (or other device) and because the SAR teams would have access to your exact location they could talk you back to where you need to go.

This assumes one other principle of bringing a sat communicator. It must be on your person at all times. In the case of a Zoleo, your linked cell phone as well for texting purposes.

If groups had these and knew how to use them. . . .and carried them with them at all times. . . SAR teams would be simply directing those lost back to where they needed to go as opposed to sending in SAR teams to find them.
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member (43)member
06/23/2024 06:34PM  
I would hope someone who brought their cell phone would have also pre-downloaded a Google Maps area or installed some other navigation app if they had any concerns about keeping their bearings. ¯\_(?)_/¯
06/23/2024 06:55PM  
If you have downloaded a map on the Inreach, it will tell you exactly where you are, and you can find that location on the paper map that most will have with them. No need to contact SAR.
06/23/2024 07:52PM  
I guess I missed the emergency calls about being lost and calling for help.

Yes, you are all correct that if they had the proper device either SaR could direct them or they could locate themselves. But OMG if this is true…how the heck does this happen?

When you head into a wilderness you need to brush up on basic skills. Even if you were “lost”…anymore the BWCAW has enough people you could eventually find someone to help get ya back on track. Maybe I am being too harsh, but it seems embarrassing to call emergency services for being lost while paddling in the BWCAW.

I guess if ya need help, ya need help…but it's hard for me to imagine even at my most clueless stage.

06/24/2024 08:30AM  
Are we talking about people becoming so lost that they call SaR to figure out where they are at? To make an analogy, this would be like 15-20 years back when cell phones were popular but before they transitioned to smartphones, and calling 911 because you can't figure out where you are on the map. Do I have that right?

This seems like an incredible waste of resources. Am I missing something here?
distinguished member(1471)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/24/2024 06:21PM  
My point is that over the years there have been several situations where canoers and hikers traveled into the BWCA and got turned around and lost. In an attempt to get back out they continued off course. When they did not arrive back at the scheduled time SAR was called.

If people had GPS and downloaded maps, and/or a PLB with interactive texting capability this would not happen. I understand that trippers should know where they are at at all times but that often is not the case. In early years, we had members of our group get turned around on Seagull Lake. There are a lot of islands on that lake that all look alike.

The issue is "where am I at". A paper map does not answer that question if you don't have reference points you are familiar with. A GPS or interatctive PLB does.
06/25/2024 10:58AM  
Maybe the lesson to be drawn from people getting lost is less that they should consider bringing a satellite communicator and more that they need robust map and compass skills.

That said, only the lowest tier satellite communicators are without geolocation abilities, and for those types people are bringing smartphones that have gps functionality. In other words, there is no reason that a person who brings a satellite communicator should need it for the purpose of contacting SAR for navigational assistance.
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