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Old 29-11-2015, 21:58   #31
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
Imho Manual is what you want. The hydrostatic release of most brands doesn't operate unless the boat is 12 feet underwater.
The manual units will water-activate when wet floating.
Read the manual before you buy.
Hydrostatic release 12 feet under

The manual units will water-activate when wet floating I don't believe is correct. The problem here is that only automatic ones sold in the USA work like this.

Throughout Australia, 'manual' means 'manually operated'..

Happy to be corrected on this, but I'm pretty sure that's the difference. It's also why epirbs purchased in the US are all water activated. Though they have a manual switch as well.

But Like I said, I'm happy to be corrected if this is not the case.
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Old 29-11-2015, 22:02   #32
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Good post and I concur with Carl.

In my new Budget Marine catalogue the cheapest EPIRB is USD$851.40
Someone is being ripped off. Here's the current Whitworth's prices that I've just grabbed with a search for EPIRB at https://www.whitworths.com.au/

$199 - $559

Note that these as AUD, so take 30% off for USD and a further 9% (approx) off for the GST refund if you are taking it out of the country. So under $USD 355 for the most expensive one and under $US130 for the cheapest one.
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Old 29-11-2015, 22:28   #33
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

I carry both an EPIRB and several PLB's. But there's no doubt in my mind that a PLB attached to my harness is a better piece of safety equipment than an EPIRB stored inside the cabin. If I had to choose one (and I was not somewhere an EPIRB is required) I would choose the PLB.

The PLB's attached to Cheeki Raffiki crew DID transmit distress and position information for 18 hours that was used by rescuers. The EPIRB was never used - presumably it is still in the boat's cabin.

Over 20 PLB reports were received. A homing signal was also picked up by an approaching HC-130.

At least in this case, the EPIRB failed where the PLB worked. I'd be interested in a link to a case where a PLB failed (perhaps due to difficulty holding it above the water) and the EPIRB worked in an actual distress situation.

Here is the official report on Cheeki Raffiki's PLBs:
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Old 29-11-2015, 22:38   #34
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

I personally use a DeLorme inReach tracker. It works well, between here and Hawaii. Just make sure you set it up properly. I set mine up to send to Facebook. My daughter sends me short weather info. I keep battery charged above 80% when at sea; religiously.
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Old 29-11-2015, 22:48   #35
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quite unusual for an item to be cheaper in Aus!
We have two registered EPIRBs on our boat at the moment as one was due to expire this year and Whitworths had an ACR special on that included first aid kit,strobe light, mirror ,headlight and other bits and bobs in a very handy ditch bag for about $275 aud which was about the same cost as replacing the battery in the othe one.I know they are mandatory in this country but really for the low cost I don't know why you would not have one elsewhere in the world.
Maybe a dumb question but are the frequencies the same worldwide?
Chris
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Old 30-11-2015, 00:34   #36
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
I carry both an EPIRB and several PLB's. But there's no doubt in my mind that a PLB attached to my harness is a better piece of safety equipment than an EPIRB stored inside the cabin. If I had to choose one (and I was not somewhere an EPIRB is required) I would choose the PLB.

The PLB's attached to Cheeki Raffiki crew DID transmit distress and position information for 18 hours that was used by rescuers. The EPIRB was never used - presumably it is still in the boat's cabin.

Over 20 PLB reports were received. A homing signal was also picked up by an approaching HC-130.

At least in this case, the EPIRB failed where the PLB worked. I'd be interested in a link to a case where a PLB failed (perhaps due to difficulty holding it above the water) and the EPIRB worked in an actual distress situation.

Here is the official report on Cheeki Raffiki's PLBs:
I would agree with you for falling over board. But let's remember the main aim is to always stay with your boat. If the weather is so bad I need help, then I want it as long as possible and that's an epirb.

And in the case you cited, the epirb DID NOT fail. It was not activated, so you can hardly say it 'failed'.
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Old 30-11-2015, 01:44   #37
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
I carry both an EPIRB and several PLB's. But there's no doubt in my mind that a PLB attached to my harness is a better piece of safety equipment than an EPIRB stored inside the cabin. If I had to choose one (and I was not somewhere an EPIRB is required) I would choose the PLB.

The PLB's attached to Cheeki Raffiki crew DID transmit distress and position information for 18 hours that was used by rescuers. The EPIRB was never used - presumably it is still in the boat's cabin.

Over 20 PLB reports were received. A homing signal was also picked up by an approaching HC-130.

At least in this case, the EPIRB failed where the PLB worked. I'd be interested in a link to a case where a PLB failed (perhaps due to difficulty holding it above the water) and the EPIRB worked in an actual distress situation.

Here is the official report on Cheeki Raffiki's PLBs:
And now I've read a little bit about this case. You can't claim the PLB worked when no one survived. It's purpose was not realized.
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Old 30-11-2015, 04:41   #38
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirage Gecko View Post
Maybe a dumb question but are the frequencies the same worldwide?
Chris
Yes, Chris, they are the same world wide.

Also the Australian company KTI has a good cheaper EPIRB.
www.kti.com.au


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Old 30-11-2015, 09:40   #39
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Yes, Chris, they are the same world wide.

Also the Australian company KTI has a good cheaper EPIRB.
kti


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Do you have an Aussie registered PLB?
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Old 30-11-2015, 12:07   #40
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Someone is being ripped off. Here's the current Whitworth's prices that I've just grabbed with a search for EPIRB at https://www.whitworths.com.au/

$199 - $559

Note that these as AUD, so take 30% off for USD and a further 9% (approx) off for the GST refund if you are taking it out of the country. So under $USD 355 for the most expensive one and under $US130 for the cheapest one.
It would be great if we in the US could take advantage of the Class 3 [manual activation only] EPIRBS currently only available in Australia and New Zealand. But unfortunately- as I understand it- they cannot be registered with NOAA because they lack the automatic water activation function [in addition to manual activation...]
Sidebar: Don't confuse activation when floating in water with automatic deployment of the device (via hydrostatic release); those are two different things...]
Here is one US cruiser's lament on this topic.

I researched the above because we are due to replace our ACR RLB-35 EPIRB next year, and I've been shopping lately...

Why replace? A new [5 year] battery is US$285 + shipping to/from Alaska both ways- another ~US$50+ or so.....

The new EPIRB I am currently leaning toward has a 10 year battery and sells for ~US$369...
Sidebar on this unit: Ironically, the EPIRB I linked above is Class 2 [automatically activated in water] so can therefore be registered with NOAA for US flagged vessels [and all other countries] BUT is requires manual deployment of the antenna... Now this is something I can live with, but it seems at odds with my interpretation of the intent of the water activation requirement. [e.g., If this unit floated-free of a sinking vessel, it will activate- but the signals won't be transmitted until the antenna is manually deployed...]
What about purchasing a unit in Australia and changing the country code? [i.e., to fool NOAA...] I have not found any documented evidence indicating this been successfully accomplished. Therefore, I will pay an extra ~US$180 for the same model EPIRB [but Class 2 with water activation feature] compared to our friends from down under...

Maybe this will all change in the future, but I have to deal with now...

Please let me know if you have knowledge and/or references to the contrary, or know of a better deal on EPIRBs matching the specs I linked above.

And for the nerds and/or insomniacs among you, here is the link to the Int'l Beacons Regulations Handbook [Conveniently it is missing a link to the list of EPIRBS approved for registration in the US...]

Slight drift: Reading the above linked handbook, I just noticed [and this is the part I did know...] while the US has no mandatory EPIRB carriage requirements for US flagged recreational vessels, Hawaii does... This is news to me- but perhaps not those of you transiting Hawaiian waters...

Following are those details about Hawaii in case any of you were unaware of Hawaii's law [like I was...] and may be affected:

Quote:
On May 28, 2003 the State of Hawaii became the first state within the USA to enact a statute requiring mandatory EPIRB carriage requirements for any vessel that operates beyond one mile of shore.

Enacted on January 1, 2004 under the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 2,
Chapter 200, a new law that designates and reads:
§200 - Emergency communication devices -
It shall be unlawful to operate in the waters of the State beyond one mile of shore any:
SP/S7JAN31.15 USA - 2 C/S S.007 - Issue 1 - Rev.6
January 2015
(1) Vessel required to be registered by the State or documented by the United States Coast Guard; or
(2) Manual or sail-propelled vessel not required to be registered by the State or documented by the United States Coast Guard, unless the vessel is equipped with a properly functioning fixed mount or handheld marine VHF-FM radio (156 - 162 MHz band) or 406 MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon.

Canoes, thrill craft, surfboards, and paddleboards shall be exempt from this section. Kayaks and training sailboats shall be exempt from this section when accompanied by at least one vessel that complies with this section.
Cheers!

Bill
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Old 30-11-2015, 18:22   #41
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
It would be great if we in the US could take advantage of the Class 3 [manual activation only] EPIRBS currently only available in Australia and New Zealand. But unfortunately- as I understand it- they cannot be registered with NOAA because they lack the automatic water activation function [in addition to manual activation...]
Sidebar: Don't confuse activation when floating in water with automatic deployment of the device (via hydrostatic release); those are two different things...]
Here is one US cruiser's lament on this topic.

I researched the above because we are due to replace our ACR RLB-35 EPIRB next year, and I've been shopping lately...

Why replace? A new [5 year] battery is US$285 + shipping to/from Alaska both ways- another ~US$50+ or so.....

The new EPIRB I am currently leaning toward has a 10 year battery and sells for ~US$369...
Sidebar on this unit: Ironically, the EPIRB I linked above is Class 2 [automatically activated in water] so can therefore be registered with NOAA for US flagged vessels [and all other countries] BUT is requires manual deployment of the antenna... Now this is something I can live with, but it seems at odds with my interpretation of the intent of the water activation requirement. [e.g., If this unit floated-free of a sinking vessel, it will activate- but the signals won't be transmitted until the antenna is manually deployed...]
What about purchasing a unit in Australia and changing the country code? [i.e., to fool NOAA...] I have not found any documented evidence indicating this been successfully accomplished. Therefore, I will pay an extra ~US$180 for the same model EPIRB [but Class 2 with water activation feature] compared to our friends from down under...

Maybe this will all change in the future, but I have to deal with now...

Please let me know if you have knowledge and/or references to the contrary, or know of a better deal on EPIRBs matching the specs I linked above.

Cheers!

Bill
Can someone explain this 'class' and 'catagory' of EPIRBS.. from what I can see Australia doesn't have 'classes and catagories' of EPIRBS which I think is a damn good thing. Is it only the US? Where can I read about these groups.
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Old 30-11-2015, 19:37   #42
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Can someone explain this 'class' and 'catagory' of EPIRBS.. from what I can see Australia doesn't have 'classes and catagories' of EPIRBS which I think is a damn good thing. Is it only the US? Where can I read about these groups.
Hi Rustic,

It is real confusing... I haven't yet found a single source making it all clear.

Following is what I have gleaned from different resources during my search. I think it is pretty close, but don't take it as authoritative:

[I edited the following Category section trying for more clarity...]

Since I've been shopping, I've seen 3 'Classes' and 2 'Categories' defined.

Categories have to do with the type of bracket used to house the EPIRB.

Category I is auto release if vessel sinks- using a hydrostatic release device. It is inferred that Category I brackets can only be used with a water activated EPIRB [Class 1 or 2, see below]

Category II is manual release. I have read that keeping a water activated EPIRB in it's designated bracket will prevent accidental activation while in the bracket. Therefore it is inferred that a Category II bracket may be used with any of the 3 classifications of EPIRBS available today. [Read on...]

Of the manual and/or salt water activated units acceptable anywhere in the world:
Class 1 Beacons are rated to -40C for the minimum 48 hr operation period
Class 2 are rated to -20C " [what we all typically get...]

Of the manual activation only [no water activation]
Class 3 are also rated to -20C but are only available/registerable to boats flagged [residents of?] Australia and New Zealand.

Just to add to the confusion... it is worth noting that historically the word 'Class' was used differently: when differentiating between EPIRB features dealing with frequency. [e.g., 121.5MHz homing frequency only, 406MHz satellite frequency, etc.- from memory...] That all went away [again from memory] in early to mid 2000s when 406 MHz with 121.5KHz units became the standard. And then GPS was added...

If anyone finds an authoritative resource spelling this all out, please share...

Cheers!

-Bill
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:08   #43
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
And now I've read a little bit about this case. You can't claim the PLB worked when no one survived. It's purpose was not realized.
True, but the PLBs worked much better than the EPIRB did -- they got signals out which were actually received by the rescue services. The EPIRB on board failed to get out any signal at all. In any other situation -- not in the very middle of the ocean so far from any rescue assets -- the rescue would have been successful.

The point is that a PLB kept on your person is much more likely to be at hand when you need it in a disaster, and is much more likely to stay with you. The extra battery life of a true EPIRB is of no use to you whatsoever if you get separated from the EPIRB as was the case with Cheeky Rafiki.

As someone above posted, if you have to have only one, I would, personally, choose the PLB over the EPIRB.

I don't presently sail more than a couple hundred miles from land, and so a PLB is quite enough for me, in my judgement, at the present time. For crossing oceans, I would personally want both -- a PLB in every crewman's lifejacket, and an EPIRB for the ship.

That Australian one for $200 (!) and with 10 year (!) battery life looks like a superb option. The annual cost of ownershp of an EPIRB is basically the initial cost divided by the number of years of battery life, since battery replacement is rarely economical. So $200 for 10 years is a no-brainer -- fantastic deal. I'll probably buy one of those this winter if I can figure out how to get it to the UK.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:15   #44
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
That Australian one for $200 (!) and with 10 year (!) battery life looks like a superb option. The annual cost of ownershp of an EPIRB is basically the initial cost divided by the number of years of battery life, since battery replacement is rarely economical. So $200 for 10 years is a no-brainer -- fantastic deal. I'll probably buy one of those this winter if I can figure out how to get it to the UK.

It's going to cost a bit more, but taking into account tax, duties, delivery charges, and then the hassle of changing the country code etc, you can get the same unit in the UK for about £300
See
Ocean Signal RescueME EPIRB1 EPIRB | Piplers
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:28   #45
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Re: Personal Locator Beacon as boat's EPIRB?

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True, but the PLBs worked much better than the EPIRB did -- they got signals out which were actually received by the rescue services. The EPIRB on board failed to get out any signal at all. In any other situation -- not in the very middle of the ocean so far from any rescue assets -- the rescue would have been successful.

The point is that a PLB kept on your person is much more likely to be at hand when you need it in a disaster, and is much more likely to stay with you. The extra battery life of a true EPIRB is of no use to you whatsoever if you get separated from the EPIRB as was the case with Cheeky Rafiki.

As someone above posted, if you have to have only one, I would, personally, choose the PLB over the EPIRB.

I don't presently sail more than a couple hundred miles from land, and so a PLB is quite enough for me, in my judgement, at the present time. For crossing oceans, I would personally want both -- a PLB in every crewman's lifejacket, and an EPIRB for the ship.

That Australian one for $200 (!) and with 10 year (!) battery life looks like a superb option. The annual cost of ownershp of an EPIRB is basically the initial cost divided by the number of years of battery life, since battery replacement is rarely economical. So $200 for 10 years is a no-brainer -- fantastic deal. I'll probably buy one of those this winter if I can figure out how to get it to the UK.
You can't say it 'worked much better than the epirb did', when as far as we know they didn't use an epirb. Though I do accept your reasoning for a plb over an epirb
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