I think both are important. They should be viewed as two totally different applications. Like say a GPS
and a chartplotter
. The EPIRB is designed to alert Authorities that your are in need of urgent assistance, (for what ever the reason) from a great distance, like most of the world's ocean. A PLB is designed to Alert those on your vessel that you have gone overboard
. They are short range operation only and the Base station can have features that tie into your vessel. Like it may stop the engine
, or it may put the boat into a turn or what ever.
The EPIRB is a unit that is also varied. (Which I think you understand). There are units that are just an Alert device and there are units that give the Satilite the Boat name, and the Position. We have many EPIRB alerts here in NZ waters. Most are accidental sadly.
But the interesting thing I have learn't, is it is well worth the expense of having the Unit that gives your Vessel name and co-ordinates. Otherwise, it seems to be an absolute guessing game
for authorities as to where the Vessel in Trouble is. Which means a long time before rescue
. Here in NZ at least. This would be because our coast is such a Maze.
One the other day was in a Vacinity of me. But happend to be over a ridge in another sound. If it was open water
, I was probably 15 mins away. But with our coast here, it would have been 15hrs under motor
to get there. Turned out it was some kids
Now this may be slightly different offshore
, as it would be easier to target with an Aircraft. Of course, you have to remember, that often the reason an EPIRB goes off is sometimes related to the weather
a vessel maybe trying to endure. And massive sea states make it very hard for Aircraft to spot you.
Around the coast of NZ at least, they really struggle to know just where a vessel maybe. So when one goes off, we have our Maritime Radio
put out a Mayday Relay and ask any vessels in the area to keep a look out.
So to summerise, I think you should have both and you should view both as different.