The Best Satellite Phones for Boat for 2021

Nicholas Swartz
Written by
Last update:

You are planning a new international adventure that involves sailing across the Pacific Ocean?

Maybe you are readying for a local fishing trip and want to have the accessibility to a means of communication.

No matter the reason, there could be a good reason to invest in a satellite phone.

In fact, it’s becoming a necessity for some people.

Satellite phones can always be the best option for some kind of adventure.

Below we will tackle what a satellite phone is, what service you can purchase, what to look out for when purchasing a satellite phone, and finally, reviews of the best satellite phones currently available on the market.

NameCategoryProduct
BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone & Monthly Service Plan SIM CardBest OverallBlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone & Monthly Service Plan SIM Card
Spot X 2-Way Satellite MessagingBudget PickSpot X 2-Way Satellite Messaging
Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite PhoneUpgrade PickIridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone

1. BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone & Monthly Service Plan SIM Card

Our rating: 9 / 10

BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone & Monthly Service Plan SIM Card

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Extreme water resistance up to 3' for 30 minutes
  • Weather proof IP54
  • The device is both easy to use and very compact
  • Ability to make and receive voice calls
  • Built-in SOS emergency function

Cons:

  • You must sign a minimum 2 year contract
  • The device is a little pricey
  • No out of range nor out of service notifications
  • You’ll need a data plan for GPS location tracking

Everyone loves to experience the vastness of the great outdoors, especially those who are bound to the water. As much as the fun is to be had, there are safety concerns that are worth considering.

This kind of equipment is so important, especially on watercraft. It’s also quite handy to be able to communicate with others in times of emergency.

The BlueCosmo is a satellite phone that you can use to communicate with another person via a satellite orbiting the Earth. It runs on the networks of Iridium, Iridium Satellite Internet with fiber-based connectivity and GPS.

2. 2019 Unlocked IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone

Our rating: 9 / 10

2019 Unlocked IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Unlocked and compatible with worldwide networks
  • Long range of voice and data connections
  • Tactile design
  • Discreet and undetectable
  • Does not need to be charged
  • High-quality voice calls
  • A military-grade security solution
  • Freeze-resistant
  • Full motion video calls

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Battery life is short

3. Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro2 handheld satellite phone

Our rating: 8 / 10

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro2 handheld satellite phone

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The free unlimited calling plan for 60 days wherever there is enough 3G coverage in more than 100 countries.

An SOS button that can send an emergency text message to your chosen contacts and contact with SMS and email via the remote assistance service.

Ability to make a regular phone calls via a satellite connection.

4. BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Kit & 500 Unit Prepaid SIM

Our rating: 8 / 10

BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Kit & 500 Unit Prepaid SIM

Check Price on Amazon

5. Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messaging

Our rating: 8 / 10

Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messaging

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Only weighs 1 lbs
  • Supports two-way satellite text messaging and SOS feature
  • Fitted with GPS tracking for logging GPS coordinates via Spot mobile app
  • 7.4V rechargeable lithium-ion battery

The Spot X is a satellite phone with a built-in GPS locator that allows users to send text messages to virtually any cell phone in the world.

It also comes with a backup battery charger, and a protective sleeve. At 1 lb, the Spot X’s lightweight design and water- and dust-proof case, allow you to take it virtually anywhere.

Whether you use it on your boat, or for any outdoor adventure, you can be sure you’ll get the help you need wherever you go.

6. Thuraya XT-LITE Satellite Phone

Our rating: 8 / 10

Thuraya XT-LITE Satellite Phone

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Ability to use it anywhere in the world

Cons:

  • You can’t use it when there is no access to a wireless network
  • Very bulky design

The Thuraya XT-LITE is a top of the line sat phone. It comes with a good-sized touch screen, and good GPS mapping. The phone itself is waterproof to 3 feet of water. It comes with a portable and robust antenna.

This satellite phone has been designed to handle the harshest of outdoor conditions.

What’s great about the XT-Lite is that it that can be used with any 2G network. International roaming is included, which means that you can use it abroad at the same price as using it in the USA. The additional handset is the only additional cost.

7. Garmin inReach Mini GPS Satellite Communicator

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin inReach Mini GPS Satellite Communicator

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Rugged and waterproof
  • Provides full support for a global SOS alert
  • Support for both text and voice messaging
  • Dedicated 1-1 button and satellite tracking button
  • GPS Location feature
  • Can be used as a handheld
  • Has additional features such as tracking and waypoints

Some of the devices in Garmin’s inReach range have been designed to be used for an extended period of time. This is what the Garmin inReach Mini looks like.

This device is designed for you to be able to use it on your boat or kayak if there is an emergency. It has a simple design that is mainly flat.

It comes with a battery life which lasts about a week and a half on a single charge. This level of battery life has been achieved by ensuring that it only uses a small amount of power when sending out its signals.

8. Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone

Our rating: 7 / 10

Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Made by Iridium Corporation
  • Uses 9575 satellite
  • Waterproof Rating: IP7
  • Comes with Lifetime Maps
  • Battery life up to 18 hours
  • GPS Capability
  • Weight: 1.8 Kilograms

Cons:

  • It’s slightly heavier than other options
  • You have to purchase the SIM card separately

While on the boat, it’s important to keep track of your location at all times. You must also maintain contact with your loved ones. There are many ways to do this such as using a cellular network or satellite network.

The Iridium 9575 is a satellite phone that has been designed to withstand all sorts of harsh conditions. One of the features is its waterproof rating of IP7, meaning that it is both dust proof and water proof.

Another feature worth mentioning is the long-lasting battery life up to 18 hours. The satellite phone has been designed to work in any region around the world.

9. Garmin inReach SE+

Our rating: 6 / 10

Garmin inReach SE+

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Waterproof (not to be used while SCUBA diving)
  • SOS/Help button. If you need assistance, then a rescue alert will be triggered
  • GPS features (ex: geotagging photos)
  • Text messaging to any cellphone, regardless of carrier

Cons:

  • SOS feature requires the annual subscription
  • Texting is limited to 160 characters.

The Garmin inReach SE+ is a handheld satellite communicator with GPS navigation that can text and send short messages. This makes it particularly useful if you need to communicate with family or friends at home while you’re on your boat.

If you don’t have cellular service, you can use the inReach SE+ to send and receive text messages, too. So it’s a great option for sailors, fishermen, and those who want to leave a loved one a safety net.

The best feature of the inReach SE+ is that it will send you a text message if an SOS is acknowledged. This satellite messaging system is capable of sending SMS messages to any landline or cellphone, including those from other carriers … which is unusual for satellite phones.

10. SatPhoneStore Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Emergency Repsonder Package

Our rating: 6 / 10

SatPhoneStore Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Emergency Repsonder Package

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Excellent reception and fast connection times
  • Works at pretty much any altitude
  • Built-in alerts for incoming calls
  • Can be used in almost any conditions
  • Very easy to use
  • Has SOS feature
  • Very sturdy
  • High-quality sound
  • Can also be used in remote locations

The SAT Phone Store compay makes another appearance on our lists with their Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone. They come with a reputation for excellence thanks to their high-quality solid-state phones that are based on a beautifully designed system of antennas.

The IsatPhone also has a unique little black box called the SAT Pro that weighs less than a pound. It amplifies satellite signals up to 63 dB so you can be protected against even the harshest weather conditions.

This satellite phone has an exceptional focus of being waterproof. The battery compartment is watertight, the battery has a waterproof interior, the SIM card is sealed, and all the connectors are waterproofed. So if you’re looking for a phone that can hold up to tough conditions, then the SatPhoneStore IsatPhone is probably the best you can find.

11. BlueCosmo Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Bundle

Our rating: 5 / 10

BlueCosmo Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Bundle

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • High-quality voice communication
  • Accepts SIM cards for data transmission
  • Free satellite phone and SIM card for activation
  • Very reliable reception
  • International GSM service
  • Support for satellite communications
  • Accepts an optional 2-year international voice and data package
  • It is a large phone with a big screen, easy to navigate and use

The BlueCosmo offers satellite communications that have been used by people around the world for disaster relief and military operations. It is especially useful to clients who regularly travel in remote locations where cellular communication signals are weak, or when cellular communications are blocked by natural disasters or war.

The main feature of this phone is that it provides reliable communications for people who are in remote areas. No matter where you are, you can always call for emergency help in case of an accident or threat. Much effort went to ensure that the phone is truly a global phone that offers great coverage and fast response.

The BlueCosmo features a dual-pane LCD screen for better readability. It has a big color screen with a resolution of 240×320 pixels.

12. Globalstar gsp-1700 satellite phone

Our rating: 5 / 10

Globalstar gsp-1700 satellite phone

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Globalstar has the widest coverage of any satellite network in the world. It’s great for emergency communication when there isn’t land-based network
  • Your satellite phone will work anywhere in the world – even if you’re on the ocean. Globalstar does not offer traditional roaming and you can only use a satellite phone within the coverage area of its satellites.
  • You get a two-year warranty with the purchase of your sat phone.
  • The satellite phone is rugged and waterproof, so it can handle just about anything

Cons:

  • Satellite phones can be very expensive to buy.
  • It’s harder to use than other satellite providers because you have to manually input information like your address and then you have to dial the number when you make a call.
  • It’s not as fast and easy to use as a traditional wifi or cell phone will be.

If you’re looking for a robust satellite phone, the gsp 1700 is a great choice. It’s rugged, waterproof, and very reliable. This satellite phone is one of the best satellite phones available for heavy use in an emergency situation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which satellite phone is the best?

There are a couple of ways to answer this question. Older satellite phones have now been replaced with small, handheld, Internet-capable devices like the Inmarsat Isatphone or Iridium Go!

Depending on where you're headed and what you're doing when you're there, you can choose between the Isatphone or the Isatphone Pro if you want to connect while at sea. This is a great option for a boat like a yacht with a permanent phone connection but you can also use it on a charter boat.

If you want satellite phone option that can be connected at sea as well as on land, you'll want an Iridium GO!. It can be used on any boat as long as you have the satellite phone bracket tray installed. Some of the newer Iridium Go phones are even prepared with the capability of being connected to the Iridium constellation without having to be physically hooked up to a satellite phone bracket tray however.

Do satellite phones work everywhere?

Satellite phones use space satellites to communicate with land-based servers, and while they give the user the ability to communicate anywhere on the planet, the drawback is that they require a clear line of sight to the nearest satellite. And, like an analog phone, they donʼt offer unlimited communication time.

If you require and expect immediate communication with the outside world, a satellite phone is probably not for you. However, for anyone who wants to be problem free and who is less concerned with communicating with their support at all times.

Is a satellite phone worth it?

If you are frequently to be on the water, you should seriously consider getting a satellite phone. Though the price of the phone itself is very expensive, it is an addition unlikely to disappoint in terms of practicality and security.

I have seen firsthand the difference a satellite phone can make while on a trip. A simple call or message will save your life if you are in a situation where cell towers and wires are nonexistent or unable to be used.

Truly, the satellite phone is a powerful tool to have while getting on the water.

What countries ban satellite phones?

Since satellite phones need to receive a signal from a satellite to work, many governments have placed restrictions on their use for various reasons. In the US, it is unlawful to sell or own satellite phones that don’t have an FCC ID tag on them. Canada and the UK don’t allow the use of satellite phones without proper licensing.

In Australia, India, and some other countries, only specialized companies dealing with land and sea search and rescue are allowed to use them. Russia bans satellite phones completely while other countries simply restrict certain types.

Be sure to read your satellite phone user’s guide or contact your provider thoroughly if you intend to use a satellite phone in a sanctioned or non-sanctioned area.

Conclusion

If you are going to be out on the open sea for a long time, it is vital that you have a satellite phone so that in the event of an emergency or a need for an emergency service, you can be reached even when you are on the move.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone & Monthly Service Plan SIM CardBest OverallBlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone & Monthly Service Plan SIM Card
Spot X 2-Way Satellite MessagingBudget PickSpot X 2-Way Satellite Messaging
Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite PhoneUpgrade PickIridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone