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Old 11-11-2014, 11:06   #1
Guy
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PLB use.

Our EPIRB died and the cruising kity is taking some big hits as we are headed back to the boat and you might know how that is. Instead of another $750 I bought a PLB for $240. So now that we have such a small unit, it seems the night watch person will have it in their pocket. It does have a strobe, we also have a strobe on our PFD's so the person will be well lit. But even with some little strobe lights you still probably won't find them, so they will be on their own, with a PLB.
I have always thought that we would push the MOB and the red buttons if we woke up and the other was missing. I would not have tossed the EPIRB.
Now, if the other is in the water and broadcasting a signal can SAR direct the boat back to them via hf or dsc radio? The speed our boat goes they won't be that far away.
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:56   #2
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Re: PLB use.

The signal goes to the satellite with the MMSI number that’s programmed in the EPIRB. If the EPIRG got a GPS, that position is also sent. Else the EPIRB satellites have to get several signals from the EPIRP in the water and that way find the position but they have low precision. Either way the MMSI number have a lands code and the signal will be sent to your lands SAR (not to the nearest of the transition). I you contact your lands SAR they can give you that information, but as I said, if the EPIRB doesn’t have a GSP, the precision is maybe 5 nm, and that you do not have much use of. An advise (to late now when you bought your PLB) is to have a PLB with AIS, then all boats nearby (with AIS receiver) se where the person in the water is.
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Old 11-11-2014, 17:29   #3
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Re: PLB use.

To the OP,

I know it's a long thread, but if you look at the Cheeki Rafiki thread, there was some after the sinking discussion of what amounts to how to get the best use out of a PLB. You need to be able to get the antenna out of the water and hold it up for "a while". You've got about 12 hrs. of transmit time; but the question is how to maximize its use.
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Old 11-11-2014, 18:48   #4
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Re: PLB use.

A PLB is no replacement for an EPIRB. A PLB has to be held up out of the water and it gets very tiring. There have been several recent discussions about PLBs. As Ann mentioned Cheeki Rafiki where the crew were lost after it turned turtle. The PLB alerted rescuers but by the time they got there the signal had gone and neither crewman were found.

If you are worried about someone going over at night then there are systems that will set off an alarm on the boat to alert the crew. It also marks the nav system MOB position. If you get over 50' or so away from the receiver then it triggers the alarm. Does your autopilot/nav system allow you to retrace your track? In any event timely alert plus MOB location will help a great deal in locating your MOB.

Edit: if you look down at the bottom of this page you will see links to other discussions on this subject.
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Old 12-11-2014, 22:56   #5
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Re: PLB use.

PLB's do not use the same technology as a 406, they have more in common with the old 203's, or really the 101.5's. If you're sailing out of site of land, for more than a few hours or so, I would really recommend a 406, they just aren't that much money (less than an engine for your dink). Having said that, we picked up some guys off Baffin island using just a SPOT a few years back.
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Old 13-11-2014, 05:46   #6
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Re: PLB use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
PLB's do not use the same technology as a 406, they have more in common with the old 203's, or really the 101.5's. If you're sailing out of site of land, for more than a few hours or so, I would really recommend a 406, they just aren't that much money (less than an engine for your dink). Having said that, we picked up some guys off Baffin island using just a SPOT a few years back.
Modern PLBs are exactly the same technology as EPIRB. Many (most) PLBs have in-built GPS and send exact coordinates via 406MHz. The main differences are the PLB isn't designed to float on the water and start automatically (has to be started and held up by the conscious MOB) and the battery lasts half as long as an EPIRB.

But I agree that an EPIRB should be first device on board. Then PLBs for crew as you like. But for crew the personal AIS devices are really helpful as they allow the rest of the crew to locate a MOB precisely. A MOB with handheld DSC VHF is also good as the boat can locate the radio precisely.
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Old 13-11-2014, 06:08   #7
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Re: PLB use.

The ACR PLBs have a lanyard that is designed to be affixed to the shoulder or neck strap of a PFD. When attached the antenna can be rotated so that it points skywards.

They do NOT recommend holding it in the hand as once dropped it is gone.


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Old 13-11-2014, 06:09   #8
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Re: PLB use.

Importantly - in our part of the world, if you are legislatively required to carry an EPIRB, then a PLB won't meet that requirement. I have a couple of PLBs, a really cute new little "Rescue Me" from Ocean Signal. Makes carrying it very easy, but it will not meet my legislative requirement for an EPIRB.
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Old 13-11-2014, 18:33   #9
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Re: PLB use.

Now that I have our new little ACR PLB, I find that it is pretty much just as good s a large unit. The only big difference I see is no mmsi#, it's your name. I also find that it broadcasts on 121.5. I have a little bit of know on how to do a search for a 121.5 signal in an airplane and think this might be easier, no mountains.
So if a person is in the water and you can pick up their signal, (100 on your fm dial,) how do you lay out a search pattern when you have no land reference and no proper df radio?? The fm in your our boat is up fwd port side, it would be crazy to steer from it. We have a little emergency hand crank radio that might be the thing. I don't know.
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