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Theft Alert Satellite Tracking Devices

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So you spent a lot of your hard earned money on your toys and cringe at the thought of someone taking them from you. The simple fact is that theft of boats and other big boy/girl toys are on the rise.

You buy locks and try to store them in a safe location but can never be sure if they are going to be there when you return to use them. How can you be sure you know exactly where they are and that they are not being tampered with?

Today there is a new breed of theft tracking devices that can give you peace of mind that your toys are safe and possibly with the added benefit of an insurance discount.

The small Spot Trace can be easily mounted in a desecrate location and will activate satellite tracking if it detects movement.
The small Spot Trace can be easily mounted in a discreet location and will activate satellite tracking if it detects movement.


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Companies such as Gost and Spot have grabbed a large portion of the market with their satellite-based tracking products. With a huge advantage over cellular-based systems that lose usefulness when the item being tracked drops out of cell range, satellite tracking devices can operate almost globally with huge coverage footprints. These new satellite systems are proving themselves so effective that there are many insurance companies that are requiring one of these systems be installed on a vessel before they will underwrite them. For example most insurance companies underwriting triple and quad outboard vessels today require a tracking device of some sort due to the very high theft rates of these boats and engines.

Gost products are at the high end of their category and cover a wide range of tracking possibilities. Its line of products includes Gost Insight HD, Gost Tracker, Gost Phantom and Gost Watch HD. Insight HD includes wireless security with remote monitoring including surveillance cameras that will record when the alarm is triggered and will send it to the Web, all while sending text and email alerts. Gost Tracker utilizes Inmarsat satellites to set up a perimeter around your boat and can track it remotely worldwide should it venture out of the perimeter. Gost Phantom allows tracking but also allows calling in to remotely arm/disarm or control relays to turn onboard systems on or off at will. Gost Watch HD allows watching the vessel through existing cameras remotely.

For those who have small craft or are looking for a simple and a less expensive way to track your prized possessions there is now something available for you. Spot, well known for its lifesaving Spot emergency satellite locators now offers a simple and inexpensive satellite tracking device call the Spot Trace. Spot previously had a popular tracking product called the Hug that was designed specifically for the marine market. That unit proved popular but aiming for a larger and wider market share Spot has now replaced that unit with the smaller and less expensive Spot Trace.

It costs just $99 and with an annual cost of $99 for 24/7 unlimited service. Rich Galasso of Spot’s parent company Globalstar describes the Spot Trace succinctly: “If it moves it tracks.” He explains that when it detects movement the tracker activates and sends via satellite a message to designated email and text messaging notifying the owner that it is moving. Once you receive that initial announcement you would go and log into your profile on their website and can watch your boat, RV, snowmobile, motorcycle, trailer or whatever possession on a Google Earth and trace its movements. The unit can be programmed to update position at 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute intervals. If the owner opts for an upgraded service for an additional $99 a year the unit can update every 2½ minutes. This would be particularly valuable to racers and others who want to track equipment to as close as real time as possible.

The Spot Trace is waterproof and very compact, approximately 2 x 3 x 1 inches, and weighs just over 3 ounces. It comes with a reversible mounting bracket and can work through glass, canvas, fiberglass and wood. It will not work transmitting through steel or concrete, however, as it requires a location in a similar manner to marine GPS antennas. It also comes with Velcro and double-sided tape for different mounting options. It is powered by 4 AAA lithium batteries (included with the unit) and battery life is subject to how often it picks up a vibration and activates. For typical application such as on a small-trailered skiff stored on the side of someone’s house the unit will transmit once a day (under standard settings), determine its location and transmit a link with position, power status and battery level. Doing this each day the batteries will typically last 1½ to 2 years. If the boat is used once a week for 8-10 hours then batteries will last about 6 months to a year. A supplied USB connector allows for updates and line powering it, leaving the lithium batteries as a back up.

The Spot Trace has coverage across the globe as seen in the coverage map above.
The Spot Trace has coverage across the globe as seen in the coverage map above.

Designed to work not just for marine applications this unit works across a wide variety of applications and interests. Because of this and the volume of units being used and anticipated to be used the price of the unit and subscription puts the Trace in a place that makes it an attractive option for anyone who wants to keep a watchful eye on his or her toys or “assets.” Some insurance companies are even offering a discount if a trace is installed, negating the purchase cost. The simple fact is this unit or those offered by Gost could offer peace of mind and in a worst-case scenario can aid in recovering stolen property.

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Glenn Hayes
Glenn Hayeshttp://www.HayesStudios.com
Glenn Hayes is a writer and photographer based out of west central Florida and has marine industry background spanning almost a quarter century. He can be reached through his web site www.HayesStudios.

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