Nebo Tracker: First Month

Since we started our Great Loop travels in September 2019 Rhonda and I have used Nebo from time to time. Nebo is a boat logging app used to record and share boating travels.

Looper friends have told us that they looked us up on Nebo to see where we were. But…in all of the preparations and activity of leaving a marina or anchorage or arriving at a new place, we usually forgot to click “start” or “end” in Nebo, so our “Nebo location” often did not match our actual location.

Enter Nebo Tracker. In early March while R&R was at Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers, I installed the small “Nebo Tracker” device that uses an accelerometer, memory, and communications gear to automatically track voyages, email the captain daily/weekly/monthly reports, and always “know” the boat’s location.

The installation was a simple DIY process, connecting two wires to an unused fuse under R&R’s flybrige dashboard. There is an option to connect a third wire that forces the unit to turn on whenever an engine starts, but even without that connection our unit has started immediately whenever R&R begins to move.

With good help from the vendor I connected the device to our Nebo account. (The main troubleshooting challenge was learning that – long forgotten by us – Rhonda and I had each set up a Nebo account, confusing us occasionally since then and really confusing the Nebo Tracker until we sorted it out.)

Since we installed the Nebo Tracker, it has worked automatically and flawlessly. Whenever we leave a dock or anchorage, within a few minutes I receive an email from Nebo that tells me “R&R is underway.” Nebo touts that as an anti-theft feature.

I use Nebo’s daily voyage summary emails to confirm daily trip mileage, get a sense of our typical speed, and the like.

Though there is an $11 monthly fee for a dedicated cellular connection, during our Great Loop travels the benefits will be worth that cost.

Now that March is behind us and April is here, Nebo sent me our March travel report. Here is the page one overview of the report showing our travels from Fort Myers to Jacksonville and beyond. There are two more pages of intense detail about every leg of the trip:

I like that the map view shows progress along the route and reminds us of side trips like (1) the short trip John and I took out the barge channel to Port Canaveral and Rhonda and I later took back to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and (2) our recent “fishing with friends a/k/a cruising with companions” trip with Alan and Marti from Jacksonville down/up the St. John’s River (more about that later).

The color-coded speed summary shows that while we can travel at 15-20 mph, we often cruise more slowly because we are enjoying the scenery, passing through no-wake zones, or slowing down to avoid disturbing or damaging other boats or shoreline docks with R&R’s very large wake on plane.

And our “Nebo location” on the Nebo app now matches our “actual location” (when this post was written) at the excellent Marina at Ortega Landing, on C Dock next to Inshallah. With no effort from me!

The Maps of our Great Loop page now shows R&R’s current location (using Nebo’s “Share my Location” feature.)

So far, I like the Nebo Tracker.

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