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Old 05-02-2014, 16:50   #1
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PLB Recommendations/Experiences

Ready to purchase my first PLB and looking for your input. I will be singlehanded only and intend to attach it to my safety harness which I will wear at all times. Thanks.
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Old 05-02-2014, 17:19   #2
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Coastal or offshore? There are two technologies, that have interesting benefits.

For offshore, you pretty much HAVE to go EPIRB based. Take a GPS fix, send to satellite, the response center looks up your info, makes some phone calls, thinks about it, and responds to your exact location. Really slick, but perhaps not quite instantaneous. And your mother ship (if there is crew aboard -- not an issue with you) has no idea where you are. Response is assured, but may be measured in hours.

For coastal in populated regions, consider the VHF/DSC version. This has a GPS, and broadcasts your location on VHF radio using the DSC emergency function. Your mother ship, the USCG, and ever pleasure boat within 10 miles knows your exact location, the fact that you are in trouble, and many even have your location mapped on their GPS. Response could be measured in minutes -- or never, depending on who might be within the limited VHF range with a radio on.

I don't have either. But I contemplating the VHF version since I sail exclusively on the Chesapeake Bay.
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Old 05-02-2014, 18:07   #3
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Assuming you go for the COSPAS system (EPRIB), get a unit with an embedded GPS. They are far superior in providing a high resolution location.

VHF/DSC units are only useful in highly populated areas in the USA (and perhaps Europe). Certainly useless in vast areas of the world.
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Old 05-02-2014, 18:58   #4
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Interested in the offshore Cospas-Sarsat units.
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Old 05-02-2014, 19:11   #5
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

I own a McMurdo 220 PLB. It has GPS and all the gadgets and is very small so easy to put on the harness/vest.

The only difference with a full blown EPIRB is the life of the battery. When you sail in cold areas, it may only last 24 hours instead of the 48 hours of an EPIRB.

In warm areas, battery life is longer.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:59   #6
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

I have the ACR Resqlink +. I bought two of them, as I thought it would be mean not to get my husband one, too. He has taken his along on a charter tuna fishing trip, too. Ya never know.

Any ACR dealer should have a dummy one for you to play with. Do that; you have to get the antenna up for it to work. They won't help an unconscious person.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:09   #7
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingharry View Post
I don't have either. But I contemplating the VHF version since I sail exclusively on the Chesapeake Bay.
You don't need any kind of EPIRB if you sail exclusively in Chesapeake Bay. Besides the DSC type, consider the AIS SARTs -- which look awfully good to me.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:12   #8
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethflkys View Post
I have the ACR Resqlink +. I bought two of them, as I thought it would be mean not to get my husband one, too. He has taken his along on a charter tuna fishing trip, too. Ya never know.

Any ACR dealer should have a dummy one for you to play with. Do that; you have to get the antenna up for it to work. They won't help an unconscious person.
I bought the same one, and the reason was that this unit is, or at least was at the time I was looking, the most compact PLB available. This is really important for a PLB you intend to keep in your lifevest always with you, as mine is.

The ResQLink is about the size of a smallish but thickish mobile phone, and is almost unnoticeable in the pocket of my lifejacket. A very nice unit although, since I have never activated, can't say how well it works in action.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:18   #9
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethflkys View Post
I have the ACR Resqlink +. I bought two of them, as I thought it would be mean not to get my husband one, too. He has taken his along on a charter tuna fishing trip, too. Ya never know.

Any ACR dealer should have a dummy one for you to play with. Do that; you have to get the antenna up for it to work. They won't help an unconscious person.


We use the ACR Resqlink + also. Good little units at a fair price and it's really a mini EPIRB. The only fault I can find with the unit is that yes, you do have to manually unclip the antenna. Also, we have found that sometimes the antenna comes unclipped on it's own when we have them attached our life jackets. Other then that, happy with the units..
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:07   #10
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Like others I have the ACR Resqlink +, perfect size to fit into the pocket on my off-shore inflatable life vest. I would never sail single handed with out it on me. Small price for piece of mind and of course should the worst happen.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:24   #11
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

This is a fast-moving area, and it helps to match the device you obtain with your regular sailing area. The good news is that devices are getting smaller and arguably better. The bad news is "not much cheaper".

It's nearly two years old, but I wrote on AIS SART concepts in my blog if you find it helpful:

The world encompassed: Self-rescue: More reality checking

It's clearly a topic I'm interested in. I own a 2007 ACR Resqlink that is bulky compared to more recent models, but I bothered to replace the battery as it's not quite time to buy an EPIRB yet.

It will serve you well to get educated about the COSPAS setup. No matter where we sail, a PLB or EPIRB is, short of a liferaft, the absolute last resort. I have a PLB, but I use a tether, and have stayed aboard because of it.
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:40   #12
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Assuming you go for the COSPAS system (EPRIB), get a unit with an embedded GPS. They are far superior in providing a high resolution location.

VHF/DSC units are only useful in highly populated areas in the USA (and perhaps Europe). Certainly useless in vast areas of the world.
The primary point of DSC and or AIS sart is that the boat you fall off will rescue you. You don't need lots of vessels.

PLBs are really useless at sea. You'll be dead from exposure first.

Dave
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:53   #13
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

I agree that PLB's are of limited use at sea, depending on the water temp. Most yachts dont carry the DF equipment required to locate a PLB/EPIRB. Ideally a unit that is EPIRB and SART combined. Not seen one yet, but they are coming!!
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:57   #14
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

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Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
I agree that PLB's are of limited use at sea, depending on the water temp. Most yachts dont carry the DF equipment required to locate a PLB/EPIRB. Ideally a unit that is EPIRB and SART combined. Not seen one yet, but they are coming!!
I think the latest DSC sarts do meet that requirement

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Old 12-02-2014, 13:38   #15
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Re: PLB recommendations/experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I own a 2007 ACR Resqlink that is bulky compared to more recent models . . .
Are you sure its a ResQLink? I thought those were introduced only in 2011 or so, and that they are still the most compact PLB available?
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