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SPOT on a Keychain

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Outdoorsy folks know SPOT LLC as the maker of GPS communicator devices for use in the backcountry. But what about SPOT functionality on a key fob? That’s one piece of the SPOT HUG, a new satellite-based monitoring system that debuted this fall at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. Made for the marine market, the HUG product includes a SPOT Tracker GPS satellite transmitter, a wireless keypad, and two keychain fobs for your boat’s keys.

SPOT HUG key fob

This new SPOT product has little relation to the orange units you see on backpackers and climbers heading into the wilderness. SPOT calls the HUG package a “theft-notification” product, and it’s made for “asset protection and GPS security.” In short, if someone motors off with your yacht, the system can track the vessel via GPS as the bad guys sail out to sea.

The multi-piece product, which comes to market this month, uses a 2.4 GHz receiver to link its components. The three devices communicate wirelessly to build a “virtual security perimeter” around a docked boat. If the boat moves outside the perimeter without the presence of a key fob, an alert is transmitted every five minutes via satellite, providing whereabouts via GPS and online maps.

SPOT HUG package

HUG users can also operate the on-boat system like a traditional SPOT messenger device, including satellite-based messaging features sent from the keypad or key fob and manual emergency-response alerts in a worst case scenario in troubled waters around the world. The SPOT HUG costs $449.95 plus an additional annual subscription fee.

—Stephen Regenold

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