Though the use of electronic trackers can give comfort to the people back home, they can also raise concern. I'm posting my experience below so that someone else might avoid the ... muck ... I stepped in. I don't use a cell phone because: 1) I can't afford the monthly fee (but I carry one on trips because even without an account they still allow 911 calls). 2) I figure if I am within Cell service I'm not out far enough. 3) I have a ham radio device that pretty much covers the San Juan and Vancouver Island area. I also have a Marine VHF but in this case it was (is my face red) at home. But I don't think it would have come into play anyway. I had a Spot Device and before the trip I set up a "new" profile (Gary Larson is starting an new "trouble brew'n" cartoon strip). With the Spot device you set up four messages - Okay/Check-In, Custom, Help, and SOS. Each has its own mailing list and message. The Custom message is my "Plan B". It's something like, "Everything is fine but I'm off my float plan a bit because of weather or other change of plan." For the Help, I say, "I'm fine but I can't get out of here without help." I figure the scenario would be like I'm on shore but my boat has a hole in it. And SOS is full on Search and Rescue where I give boat descriptions, daily medications, etc. I'm sure many of of you have filled out an online form and at the bottom, or somewhere on the page there is a Save button. I've used many "search" pages for different forums where there are several filter fields and several "submit" buttons on the page - Any one of which will trigger the search. Soooooo, after filling out all the mailing lists and messages, I pushed Save. But as it turned out, that Save only applied to the Okay/Check-In section and not the others. Each section had it's own SAVE button. So when I left the page - without getting an "Are you sure" warning - all the other sections returned to Default, "Default Message" and wiped out email list. But wait, there's more. The Spot offers real time tracking and when you set that up, you specify what elements you want on the Map. For example, it can show not only the track, but allow the waypoints from where your messages were sent. However, even though this screen is for tracking, you still have to click a "Tracking" option check box in order for the track to appear. But wait some more ... early versions of the Spot didn't allow for adjusting the interval of when the device would make a point - I think it was every 10 minutes. The newer devices allow adjustment of that timing. I'm guessing the "Tracking" check box is for the older devices and the "unlimited tracking" (misleading label) is for the newer devices. I know that NOW. I had just checked "tracking" and thought everything was fine. Before the trip, I pushed the Check-In/Okay button and saw the intended recipients got that email and the "tracking" email that gave them the URL (web address) where they could see my route (tracking) on a Google Earth type map. But of course at that time there was no track to see. So I'm all set, systems checked, ready for the trip ... time passes ... The weather is great, the crowds are gone, we have large campsite areas all to ourselves, no appointments to keep, etc. Once I moved beyond my expected Float Plan return, I stop pushing the Okay button and start pushing the Custom Button which I expected to say, "Things are fine, slight change of plans." No one got that message because the Save button I pushed only saved the Okay/Check-In mailing list and that was the only one I tested (figuring the Save had saved everything). And I didn't know that no one was seeing my on the water route when I had Tracking turned on the device. So after my Float plan return time, no one was getting anything (almost). After 3 or 4 days, one responsible party called the local 911. That call suggested filing a local (Bend OR) missing persons report. That call was routed up to the police in Sidney (Vancouver Island). And they called the Spot people. The Spot people looked at my account and in "God Mode" could see my tracking route and could see where I had pushed the Custom (Plan B) button - but the message just said, "Default Message" and there was no email list. Looking at the track they could see that we had landed a few hundred yards from the ferry that goes back to Anacortes. And as we landed about an hour before departure, they reported we were on our way home - which wasn't exactly true (we took a different ferry) but close enough. Note that I had also pushed the "Okay/Check-In" when we landed at the car, but authorities had already been notified by then. When I got home I had to endure a "talking to" because it looked like I had just gone silent. I have learned that sometimes "being right" is not the best path for world peace. So I didn't push the fact that had the worried party LOOKED at the Tracking map, they would have seen my Custom waypoints - time/date/location - even though the message said, "Default Message". They would have seen that every day I was still "above ground" and where I was. Nor did I point out the Okay/Check-In email that was sent when we landed back at the car. Now I understand there are two "tracking" check box options and just to be sure, I check them both. Also, from now on I'll test both the Okay/Check-in message AND the Custom (Plan B) message before I leave home. There's a system called EchoLink (sparing the details) the may allow the ham radio to reach form Vancouver Island back to Bend OR and I'll look into that. And last, it looks like Garmin/DeLorme has a small device (InReach) that would let me send/receive a text message (via satellite) back home. I like it because I can subscribe for only the three or four months I'd use it (about $12/month) - unlike the Spot that cost me $250/year even though I only use it 3 or 4 times during the summer. Two years Spot subscription costs about $150 more than the one time cost for the InReach (and InReach may have promotions during the year). I'm glad someone was paying enough attention to be alerted when they though I might be missing and I suppose going through all the agencies was an unfortunate but valuable exercise. But I'm a little disappointed that calmer minds didn't look at the information they did have - the time/date/location of my Okay/Check-In and Custom messages (thought it just said "Default Message") and realize I was checking in daily.