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Old 17-09-2014, 15:50   #1
F51
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EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

Just got our new ditch bag and will be stocking it soon. It has a separate pocket for the EPIRB and I got to wondering if we should leave the EPIRB in its bulkhead bracket, or move it to the ditch bag? I am inclined to keep it in the ditch bag pocket--one less thing to act on in an actual abandon ship scenario. What say you?
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Old 17-09-2014, 15:53   #2
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

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Originally Posted by F51 View Post
Just got our new ditch bag and will be stocking it soon. It has a separate pocket for the EPIRB and I got to wondering if we should leave the EPIRB in its bulkhead bracket, or move it to the ditch bag? I am inclined to keep it in the ditch bag pocket--one less thing to act on in an actual abandon ship scenario. What say you?
If your going 'off shore', Without any doubt, BOTH!

A PLB is best going in the ditch bag or life raft. But all ocean going vessels should have an Epirb fixed somewhere within easy accessibility in case of an emergency. Mine has two EPIRB's and a PLB. The PLB and one Epirb are both equipped with GPS.
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Old 17-09-2014, 16:19   #3
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

We carry three too. One in the ditch bag, one in a bracket next to the companionway and a PLB.

The house rule is that the PLB gets carried by anyone who goes on deck alone while underway and it is either in the cockpit or hanging just inside companionway.

Only our PLB is GPS equipped at the moment (the others all came with the boat) however when they expire in a year or so they will all be replaced with the GPS type.

Currently we are only coastal but have plans for offshore but regardless, I think having the three (a plan with two backups) is worth consideration.

Regards
Wind
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Old 17-09-2014, 17:40   #4
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

I have two.... one at the chart table... the other stowed within the liferaft.
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Old 17-09-2014, 20:37   #5
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

We carry ours in the Ditch Bag - no thinking involved, just grab and go.

We have a GMDSS VHF liferaft radio packed in the liferaft along with 3 extra lithium batteries. We also carry a 2nd GMDSS VHF liferaft radio and a simple hand held GPS unit in the ditch bag - both of which use AA batteries. There is a supply of AA batteries in the bag, and they can be changed out once a year.

The thinking is that we can make a VHF broadcast at least once an hour (or more often) and give our position - so sort of a "manual" EPIRB. There may be boats around that don't have the equipment to track a EPIRB, but would have a VHF radio that can receive a "Mayday" transmission.

Additionally with all the batteries available and the radio on in only the "receive" mode, we can have a radio continously on for nearly 10-days listening for boats talking in the area. If one is heard, then it's time for making the "Mayday" broadcast and perhaps firing a parachute flare.
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Old 17-09-2014, 22:47   #6
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

F51,
1) Before I start, PLEASE make sure your EPIRB is properly registered, and please read the referenced thread (and ALL the links there in), it's all FREE...will take only a few minutes, and just might save your life, or the lives of those that you love, someday....(probably take not much longer than composing your query here and reading our replies..)



2) You've gotten some good input here, not definitive, but hopefully useful to you...

You didn't mention where you're sailing/cruising, nor what type of boat, nor your boat's layout, nor your crew / family sailing with you???
And, all of these have an effect on the decision process of where / how to stow or mount your vessel's EPIRB....so...
Quote:
Originally Posted by F51 View Post
Just got our new ditch bag and will be stocking it soon. It has a separate pocket for the EPIRB and I got to wondering if we should leave the EPIRB in its bulkhead bracket, or move it to the ditch bag? I am inclined to keep it in the ditch bag pocket--one less thing to act on in an actual abandon ship scenario. What say you?
3) Understand that the number one cause of liferaft deployment is FIRE....Fire-on-board is still the number one cause, not collision, not flooding, not grounding, but fire...
This was confirmed by both liferaft manuf and USCG, just 2 years ago...

4) I don't remember the exact breakdown of causes of EPIRB activations (in legit Distress situations), but as best as I can recall, medical emergencies were number one, with "vessel floundering" (USCG's wording) being a close second, and "fire" and "collisions/groundings" being tied for a close third place....


5) So...
So, depending on your boat, your boat's layout, your sailing/cruising grounds, your crew compliment, etc. you may want to consider having your EPIRB accessible (but safely secured, to avoid accidental activation), where anyone can grab it and activate it, no matter what the situation on-board is....
Whether you have a convenient location on-board (see my photo) to mount it, or you keep it in a Ditch Bag, in a convenient spot, is a question that you will need to answer after you assess your specific situation....



6) Now if this sounds like I've written a lot, without actually saying anything....sorry about that....
So, here's my recommendation...
--- Find a secure, easy-to-garb, protected location....and mount it there in its cradle....do not stow it in your ditch bag...
In my opinion, most sailors will have a better chance of activating the EPIRB when needed, if it is easily accessible / mounted securely, rather than in a ditch bag (those damn things get heavier and bulkier every year....and just grabbing the EPIRB and pulling the lever is a simple job, unless it has floated away in the bag, or the bag got caught on something, etc...)
Again, just my opinion....but, you asked...

Of course, if you can afford two EPIRB's (or an EPIRB and a PLB), the answer becomes easy....mount the EPIRB, and stow the other one in the ditch bag...

Here's where I mounted mine, just around the corner from the Nav Station, near the ceiling, adjacent to the companionway....easy to grab from my cabin (and from the aft head, and from the Nav Station, main salon, forward cabin, or forward head) as we make our way out, also easy to grab from the companionway....
(not everyone has this convenient of a location, but I mention this here, along with the photos, to give you some good ideas...)

Sorry about the photos...one is >7 years old, and the other is blurry....




This location has served me well now on my current boat, for > 10 years, > 15,000 offshore miles, multiple Atlantic Crossings, etc...

~~~~~~~~~~~~


7) Now, here's the REALLY important part....

PLEASE make sure your EPIRB is properly registered, and please read the referenced thread (and ALL the links there in), it's all FREE...will take only a few minutes, and just might save your life, or the lives of those that you love, someday....(probably take not much longer than composing your query here and reading our replies..)

EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds
SSCA Forum € View topic - EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds


I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 18-09-2014, 08:29   #7
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

ja4wja makes some very good points. Registaring the EPIRB doesn't take that long, the form is easy, and they send you back the sticker in just a couple of days!

A point:

Mounting the EPIRB up at roof level could present problems if a good size interior fire should start. Flames and heat rise - and very quickly! If you want to see flame size of one pint of gasoline of a 14" x 20" pan of water, see my pictures on page 4 of "safety Tips to Share" on this site (just further down the list).

I don't like mounting a float free EPIRB above deck as there is a very good chance it can get snagged/fouled on the rigging or rear arch. Plus once it floats free it will drift at a much greater rate than the liferaft, which could make it a little harder to find you.

If you don't legally need a float free (Type 1) EPIRB, then just get a Type 2 and save yourself $150 and keep it in your ditch bag or mounted somewhere where you can get to it. Type 2's activate automatically when placed in water and they float - they just don't get into the water by themselves!

Something else to think about....

Hopefully you will have 2 people onboard if you are sailing offshore. In an emergency, one can then deal with the problem while the other gathers up the ditch equipment in the cockpit in case the problem can't be solved.

Remember, per the USCG and their records about fires, you have VERY little time to deal with a fire and all sorts of burn injuries can occur - while with flooding or sinking you generally have a much longer period of time to deal with the situation in a much safer enviroment (you'll just get wet instead of burned).

Hopefully you'll never have to find out!
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:43   #8
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

I'm not sure what this catagory 1, 2 etc stuff is, must be an American thing. Epirbs are basically just manual or automatic and then gps or no gps. Automatic ones need to be outside, preferably on the mast.

Non automatic ones, I'd strongly spending that extra $150 and get yourself GPS epirbs. They will be the international standard soon.

As to where you put the manual one in a cradle. Up high where the gangway is in the photo that someone supplied is the ideal place. Yes, it's up high where the 'flames and smoke', go if a fire takes hold, but think about it abit, it's also where you and crew will be evacuating through. So, it's easily grabbed from outside and inside or when your leaving.

And my initial suggestion was to put a PLB in the kit bag, but on reading other comments, carrying it on the person who has the night shift, especially is highly recommended. I keep mine in the ditch bag, but if I'm doing a passage (havn't done a solo yet), then when it get's rough, it goes in the pocket of the jacket of who ever is on main watch.
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:47   #9
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
F51,




Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
I so love your layout John. Got more lights and buttons than my light plane. Did you customise this or was it a production lay out?
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:24   #10
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

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I'm not sure what this catagory 1, 2 etc stuff is, must be an American thing..
No not American, it's a SOLAS/GMDSS thing......

Recognized categories:
  • Category I 406/121.5 MHz. Float-free, automatically activated EPIRB. Detectable by satellite anywhere in the world. Recognized by GMDSS.
  • Category II 406/121.5 MHz. Similar to Category I, except is manually activated. Some models are also water activated.
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:34   #11
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

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No not American, it's a SOLAS/GMDSS thing......

Recognized categories:
  • Category I 406/121.5 MHz. Float-free, automatically activated EPIRB. Detectable by satellite anywhere in the world. Recognized by GMDSS.
  • Category II 406/121.5 MHz. Similar to Category I, except is manually activated. Some models are also water activated.
So, as I thought, there either automatic or manual!

What's the category 3, 4 and 5? I can't seem to google them?
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:54   #12
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

I'm going to be odd person out here, we carry the EPIRB and the hand held GPS & VHF in the oven. Way to many weird things happen with lightning.
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Old 19-09-2014, 17:22   #13
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

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Originally Posted by tedsherrin View Post
So, as I thought, there either automatic or manual!

What's the category 3, 4 and 5? I can't seem to google them?
Can't say I have heard of Cat 3, 4 & 5 EPIRB'S, as far as I know there's only 1 & 2.....

Australia (AMSA) did introduce a standard (AS/NZ 4280.1) for a Class 3 EPIRB, these where supposedly specifically designed for use in Australia and ACR used to market one as such, but these where discontinued due to the confusion created by naming them a Class 3, obviously ACR are still making the EPIRB but the new models are marketed as a Cat 1 or 2 that "meet's Class 3 (AS/NZ 4280.1)", it's not called a Class 3 anymore....

Old.....

ACR ResQmate 406MHz EPIRB
ACR ResQmate Class 3 EPIRB

New.....

https://www.whitworths.com.au/main_i...144&item=74530

Of course we used to have a whole bunch of different Classes A, B, S, C & Inmarsat-E, but these are all obsolete and no longer recognised.....
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Old 19-09-2014, 18:26   #14
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

I would keep one where you have highest chance of reaching it if things were to ever go astray. Say close to the companionway, with a depth-release lock on it.

I would invest in another unit for the bag.

That's just one option. Much depends on what you are doing.

b.
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Old 19-09-2014, 20:47   #15
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Re: EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag?

One in the ditch bag. One plb with the person on watch.
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