What’s Selling at ComFish 2016

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Many members of the fishing industry attend the ComFish fishery trade show to network and shop for gear, and on Thursday, one booth in particular drew attendees’ business.

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It’s a little slow in the first few hours of ComFish, but one type of item soon stands out for the people wandering the aisles.

Tom Dooley says he came to pick up a new radio for his boat, and he’s already found one at the Satellite Technical Services booth.

“It’s a satellite radio phone, a track phone and got track phone capabilities, and it’s to be able to talk to the canneries, be able to talk to other boats. And the main thing was the young man that’s running the boat for me now, he’s been having trouble getting a hold of the tenders. So, this is a track phone thing so that he’ll be able to talk to his tenders and find out where they are to deliver at night.”

Kimberly Cochran, who owns several boats, says she and her husband bought a DeLorme InReach Satellite Communicator at the same booth.

“It’s gonna allow communication in a different way, like texting while you’re at sea. We’ve seen it in the past, but we’ve known Harold for years and we needed to get one and so we called him and said ‘Are you gonna be up there?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Bring up one of those.’ And he says ‘Okay, I’ll bring a few.’ So, that’s how we did this.”

I wander over to the Satellite Technical Services booth and find representative Harold Whittlesy deep in conversation with a client. He’s helping him install an InReach mobile app to his smartphone.

Whittlesy says they’ve been selling mobile satellite phones since 1997, but started offering the InReach about three years ago.

“It allows you to bluetooth the device to a tablet, IOS device, apple device, or to a Google device, and you can do your texting to and from your device via bluetooth as opposed to doing it from the unit, but you can always do it from the unit itself. It’s just more cumbersome.”

He says they introduced the new mobile app last November.

“It allows the customer using a two-way dispatch phone to have weather information, dispatch directory, news, a small AIS display which shows them the vessels around the phone. And it gives ‘em information. He can stay on one page and go to a variety of different places and not have to move around.”

Whittlesy says about 600 of the company’s clients are using the app, and by the end of ComFish, he hopes that number will have risen to 800.

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