The one thing that we've found disturbing on RIBnet is reading about stolen boats. When our boat is at home, it's in an alarmed, locked, brick garage. When we're in transit or on the water, of course, we're as vunerable as the next guy. So, ... we've recently bought one of THESE
GPS/GSM trackers (albeit from different eBay reseller).
We'd researched the market...there are a huge number of these devices now and the price range is considerable. UK sourced, subscription devices are the most expensive - many £hundreds plus a monthly fee - but there are a number of non-subscription devices that are around £70 if you're happy buying out of China or HK, or, the same device can be UK sourced for about £110, all through eBay. (JK - there maybe a RIBnet marketing opportunity???)
We paid £64 for ours plus £12 for a 12v charge lead. It arrived within a week and out of the box it looks a well made device. It's the size of a large box of matches, finished in soft touch paint and has a good air of solidity. It comes with a 240v charger, two Li-ion batteries, a magnetic cover, a non-magnetic cover and a waterproof pouch (zip-lock Codders style) that is too small for the device! The device itself is clearly not waterproof. There are no external aerials.
It also comes with instructions that are written in pigeon English: the website for the device is no better, but they're both clear enough to enable use.
And, it's not difficult to set up. You need a GSM SIM (£0.01 off eBay!) and away you go. Within 5 mintues it was powered up, initialised and set up (which phones are authorised to access it, which time zone are you in...) and it then sent us a text to say the boat was in our garage, not moving and it was 15:20 on the 17/05/09. It gives you lat, long, speed and date/time and you can get this everytime you call it from an authorised phone (it hangs up on un-authorised phones). It can also be programmed to text if it starts to move or moves out of a pre-determined area (a Geo-Fence); it has an overspeed alert, an SOS button, a low battery alert, etc etc. and, of course, it doesn't have to be on a boat. It would be just as happy in a car, in a kids backpack or whatever.
Is it robust and reliable? Don't know yet. Watch this space