When I (Dave) first started sailing on Lake Ontario the boat was equipped with a compass, paper charts, and a boombox. No Loran, no satellite tracking, no VHF radio, no cell phones, once we sailed over the horizon no one could contact us, nor could we contact anyone else. Times have changed. Redundancy is now the word in on board communication. Second Star carries a variety of communication and location devices allowing us to remain connected with friends, family, and emergency services. Much of the time we will be within cellphone coverage, so phone calls and text messages will work. Just don't be alarmed if we don't get back to you right away. There are many perfectly benign reasons we aren't answering our phones, we may be sailing and not hear the phone, in an anchorage with poor cell reception, or we just want to be disconnected from the world, that is part of the adventure. Leave us a message and we will eventually get back to you.
Second Star carries two devices for emergency situations. In a dire emergency, like we're sinking we have an Emergency Position Indicator Beacon (EPIRB). When activated the EPIRB sends a signal to a satellite with our location and vessel identification which is then transmitted to an international consortium of rescue services. Within a few hours someone will come looking for us floating in our life raft.
The other device is a Spot Tracker which is a cool little device. Its primary function is to provide up dated location information via satellite and to provide emergency communication via text. Location information is displayed pretty close to real time on a map. So long as we have the Spot turned on and the battery charged that information is updated every hour. Clicking on the marker displays Second Star's speed, direction, and location on a map. The map is available here. (If you happen look before we leave you'll notice that Second Star is at the intersection of Genesse St and Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway in Cayuga, NY, the Spot and I were there ensuring everything was working. Second Star was still in Fair Haven.)
The third device we have is an Automatic Identification System (AIS). The primary purpose of AIS is to assist vessels see and avoid each other in crowded waterways and in poor visibility. There are several websites that provide that information to the general public. The largest and best know is MarineTraffic.com. All commercial traffic is required to have an AIS transponder on and transmitting all the time. Zooming out will show you the amount of vessel traffic around the world. Finding Second Star is pretty simple, search for her MMSI number (367700430) and a page will appear with some basic information and the boat's location. Because Second Star uses a noncommercial AIS the tracking is a little inconsistent.
Find us on SPOT: https://maps.findmespot.com/s/5Y86
Find us via AIS on Marine Traffic: https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-76.7/centery:43.5/zoom:8