Since 2011, the InReach device has been a trusted safety feature for backcountry adventures. 10,000 times someone carrying one has gotten thems
Since 2011, the InReach device has been a trusted safety feature for backcountry adventures. 10,000 times someone carrying one has gotten themselves into trouble (real or imagined) and pressed that glaring red SOS button. Garmin, and presumably DeLorme which Garmin acquired in 2016, the company that created the InReach, has been keeping data about those SOS requests for a decade now and just released the info. Wanna know what outdoor hobby called for the most rescues?
Let’s dig in.
First of all, probably shouldn’t be terribly surprising the majority of SOS calls came from people in the western half of North America. But you can see from the map people indeed call for rescue around the world, which should be comforting knowing Garmin’s network really is worldwide.
More than a third, 39%, of all SOS calls came from hikers or backpackers. Next highest was someone who’d been in a car crash, so it’s not all adventurers using these things.
As you’d expect, half of all SOS triggers are for injuries or other medical emergencies suffered while outdoors, but not necessarily because someone was outdoors (heart attacks, etc). Being lost didn’t even crack the top 5 which is encouraging—you can often get out of that jam without needing SAR.
A full two-thirds of SOS calls aren’t for the person who owns the InReach, but a member of their party or someone they don’t know they encountered having an emergency in the backcountry.
If you’re an InReach subscriber, or even just curious, the data is worth checking out. It’s here on the Garmin site.
Top photo: Ananya Bilimale/Unsplash