SAT Phone

Hello fellow mariners,

I have been doing some research on sat phones and need some opinions. I have seen some of the iridium phones and iridium go!. Are they worth it? Is it a waste of money? What’s the return on investment?


Pretty much a waste of money if you ask me, Garmin makes a device that lets you text and I believe send and receive email that seems like a better deal to me.

Perhaps I’m old and cranky, but why pay for a sat-phone? every ship now has e-mail, and if you need to make a call you can just pay to use the ships phone.

I remember the days you got letters in port and ashore found a payphone or went to a phone exchange.

If there was a family emergency someone would call the port agent at the hall and the hall would call to company who would then telex the ship.


It really does depend on the application.

If you are looking for a sat phone for the ship, then yeah a commercial phone like an iridium phone with an annual plan makes sense. We always carry one as a redundant emergency communication method. The main sat com system has gone down before and having a portable on a separate system is handy.

But for personal use, travel, etc? Something like the Garmin In-Reach is probably a better choice. Or something real basic like a Spot plb that can send preset texts. Definitely depends on your intentions/needs.

Our ships’ email goes out frequently, our internet is often non-usable and our sat phones aren’t rentable.

Rentable, on most ships you can use the bridge phone as long as you pay

MSC doesn’t have reliable comms available for the crew? That kind of seatime aboard without good connection would be a dealbreaker for me.

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It’s hit or miss. Some ships have an open phone line the crew can use, some don’t. Some ships have useable internet, some don’t - usually dependent on the part of the world or how many Navy ships are in the area. It usually doesn’t matter because we spend a lot of time in port.

Some people have business to keep in touch with, sick family, extra wives to juggle or just want reliable communication so they quietly carry sat phones on board.

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you guys work on boars without internet, crikey!
Must be a breach of your human rights…lol