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Old 21-07-2012, 21:49   #16
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

Gregg,

If you are on a budget, get a PLB or EPIRB first before you go farther than you want to swim back. If you buy the PLB, get one that floats, transmits the gps position, and many of the new PLBss have a strobe light, or LED lights. The helo pilots wear night vision goggles at night, and any light really helps them find you. Register it immediately. If it has gps, you will see rescue personnel coming your way quickly. They wont have to wait for the SARSAT low earth orbiting satellites that orbit every 102 minutes or so to give a basic position. Competition has brought the price of PLBs way down, and they are getting to be pocket size. PLB's transmit for 24 hours minimum, and EPIRBs transmit for 48 hrs min. EPIRBs are designed for boats and EPIRBs will transmit properly when they are in the water because they are designed to float with the antenna up. PLBs require you to hold them with the antenna up if you are in the water. All the other stuff talked about helps speed up the process. You probably wont be out of VHF range off the LI Sound, but a hand held in the water may be iffy, even for the new Rescue 21 towers. The Coast Guard in your area now has new direction finders that can home in on the strong 5 watt 406 MHz signal in EPIRBs and PLBs. The helos will bee line right to your EPIRB or PLB. Well worth the investment. Trust me, I worked for the government!
Greg
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Old 21-07-2012, 21:54   #17
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

I sail alone a fair amount, and I definitely have VHF, Knife, strobe, PLB on/in my PFD. I've never thought it was heavy, and gives me some pretty good options. My jacket is not an inflatable, but an Astral Buoyancy whitewater PFD (my buddy designs and produces them, and has been generous over the years). i don't wear it in fair weather and so have been experimenting with inflatables, and considering a belt PFD for fair weather, ICW, etc. I had the Astral on over gore tex, with wool hat as recently as the last week in June, on a recent overnight passage down the Chesapeake in force 6 winds.

Having a VHF gives me the chance to hail a nearby boat (even on 13), or Coast Guard directly if I don't feel the need to set off the PLB. I would consider going overboard in some conditions a PAN-PAN situation, unless of course I could not raise anyone on radio. If you need a SAR, by all means, but gawd, if you can avoid it.... I mean, can't this get expensive?

In most scenarios I can imagine going off the boat though, I'd fire off the PLB. I hope that day never comes. Just thinking of being near the stem in steep chop, it is so violent and quick sometimes that I can easily imagine getting tossed off like a rag doll. I've thought about wearing a helmet too

You can rent an EPIRB from BoatUS if you want an EPIRB for the ship for a week or two, very affordable.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Be carefull of adding a bunch of crap to a lifejacket. A lot of people like to do it, but I think it is bad practice. Not because it wouldn't be nice to have that stuff with you if you ever fall overboard, but because it makes it much less likely that you will have on the lifejacket...

Taken to extremes I know a guy who has a PLB, VHF, knife, whistle, dye marker, sewn in jack lines, knife, visual floatie thing, flashlight, strobe light, laser flare.... Some other stuff I can't remember. The problem is it weighs so much he take sit off all the time because it's uncomfortable.

The only thing I have on mine is a whistle. I might consider adding a PLB, but that's it. If I fall overboard, I want to have the lifejacket on, and the more crap attached, the less likely you are to actually be wearing the thing. Think about it like this.

Taking the junk one by one...

1) Flashlight - ate urging the day useless for a rescue, at night I carry one in my pocket, so it's redundant
2) VHF - If you have a PLB and get knocked off, the other person on board should make an immediate call by VHF to the USCG. If they indicate you have a PLB with you, the coast guard can send them the gps location of the plb instead of scrambling a helo. So you don't need the VHF.
3) knife - I carry one all the time, I don't need a second in the jacket
4) dye marker - really?
5) strobe - see flashlight
6) jack lines - attach them as needed
7) laser flare - see flashlight


On another diatribe... A SPOT is not a rescue device. People have died because the communication between SPOT and SAR teams broke down. They may do other cool stuff, but it isn't something to risk your life on.
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Old 26-07-2012, 10:30   #18
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

It is a pet peeve of mine that people think they can substitute a PLB for an EPIRB and save $$.

PLBs don't have the necssary battery power. By the time a rescuer responds to a PLB signal, the batteries are dead and you can't get a decent fix. However I suppose for close to shore sailing a PLB will do.
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Old 26-07-2012, 10:52   #19
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

I would think the PLB before the life raft for your description.....
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Old 26-07-2012, 12:13   #20
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrus Safdari View Post
It is a pet peeve of mine that people think they can substitute a PLB for an EPIRB and save $$.

PLBs don't have the necssary battery power. By the time a rescuer responds to a PLB signal, the batteries are dead and you can't get a decent fix. However I suppose for close to shore sailing a PLB will do.
I absolutely agree, and if i led people to think otherwise then I misspoke.

A PLB is not an EPIRB, and shouldn't be considered a replacement for one. That being said, if you are always within a helicopter flight from land (roughly 150 miles), and near the US coast where SAR helicopters are common, I think they are an acceptable, low cost option, for coastal cruising. I still carry an EPIRB though. Because of battery life issues.
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Old 26-07-2012, 18:49   #21
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrus Safdari View Post
(...) PLBs don't have the necssary battery power. By the time a rescuer responds to a PLB signal, the batteries are dead and you can't get a decent fix.(...)
I believe the newer PLBs have 48 hours battery life.

e.g. here: PLBs

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Old 26-07-2012, 20:31   #22
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

A few PLBs may have 48 hr. batteries, but they may be the old style that were biggger, didn't have mini strobes and gps. Check the beacon specs and compare. Remember, PLBs are not designed to float with the antenna up, and most are not designed to float at all without an extra flotation device that it can slip into. They are all much better than no 406 beacon at all. It's like a life jacket, the best one is one that fits you comfortably and you use when you are on deck. The perfect life jacket stuck in the V berth is not always the best one. Lots of people are alive because of PLB's but I'd still recommend an EPIRB, either float free or manually deployed. One reminder, don't take the EPIRB out of it's bracket for use in your dinghy. Without the bracket, the EPIRB can easily activate when the water probes get wet. This is common when people stick their EPIRB in a ditch bag when going on other boats or in their dinghy to go wandering about. If you have an EPIRB, you should know where the deactvating magnet is located. You can find it with a paper clip.
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Old 27-07-2012, 18:50   #23
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RUSTYNAIL View Post
A few PLBs may have 48 hr. batteries, but they may be the old style that were biggger, didn't have mini strobes and gps.(...)
This may be as you said but then if you look at the newest PLBs you will find they are claiming the 48 hours again.

I believe this may have something to do with improvements in battery technology.

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Old 27-07-2012, 19:05   #24
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Re: EPIRB or PLB necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrus Safdari View Post
It is a pet peeve of mine that people think they can substitute a PLB for an EPIRB and save $$.

PLBs don't have the necssary battery power. By the time a rescuer responds to a PLB signal, the batteries are dead and you can't get a decent fix. However I suppose for close to shore sailing a PLB will do.
But they do supplement an EPIRB very well - they address the issue of falling overboard on your own, which is one thing that worries me on SF bay, while singlehanding. A handheld VHF helps, but they do have range issues.
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