Saturday, 30 June 2012

I've always been a bit concerned about using expensive smart phones out on deck and when working locks etc. We have a Blackberry and an iPhone and they are expensive to replace (not to mention the loss of valuable data when they disappear into the cut leaving only bubbles).

Hearing about yet another boater who has lost their phone overboard (Alison Tuck on NB Davinci), I bought myself one of these JCB Tradesman phones from Ebay for £57.

I didn't expect much for the money - even the cheapest phones in Tesco are about £35.

The Tradesman, apart from being sexist, is rated at IP67, which means that it is waterproof.

Not trusting IP ratings particularly, I set about dropping the phone in the bath.

Not only does it still work after a dunking, it actually floats and there is a natty little LED torch on the top that can be switched on at night to aid location in the event of a dropping.

Admittedly, after smart phones, it's more of a dumb phone, but it is fine for calling and texting.

It has a very loud ringtone, which is great for hearing over engine noise, although the choice is a bit restricted and it is really simple to use (I downloaded the full manual from the JCB website, although it's not essential). It works with my car hands-free when I'm driving to jobs and its pretty tough.
JCB who sell the phone make a big thing about driving a JCB over it - I think I'll give that test a miss - there's only so much you can get for £57.

So on our boat, we keep the smart phones down below so we are connected to e-mail and the net and we use the "Tradesman" for keeping in touch on deck and when on the towpath.

It's even useful when the first mate is steering and wants to ring me at the lock to tell me to get a move on...

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