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Old 07-06-2019, 10:37   #1
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ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

Can anyone explain to me the difference between ACR's Resqlink PLB and their Globalfix PRO EPIRB?

I already own a Resqlink PLB, but have a hunch I need a proper EPIRB for offshore sailing... though I'm not exactly sure why my PLB isn't sufficient. Both seem to have GPS, but the marketing speak on the website doesn't provide much clarity.

I am also curious to understand what sets apart the GlobalFix V4 Category 1 vs Category 2.

Thanks in advance for any clarifications.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:55   #2
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ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

I know that an EPIRB will broadcast for a much longer period, I believe the requirement is 48 hour min, in cold water.
Not sure what a PLBís requirement is, but itís for less time.
Iím also of the opinion (unsubstantiated) that an EPIRB will transmit a signal with more reliability, either stronger or maybe a better antenna.

In other words itís my opinion that a PLB is an excellent augmentation to an EPIRB, but is not an adequate substitute. I would agree with you in your belief that an EPIRB is a good thing to have off shore.

My opinion only

Oh and Cat 1 I believe you can mount on the outside of the boat and if it sinks the EPIRB will be released upon reaching a certain water depth (15í rings a bell) will float up and activate all on its on.
You can of course take it out of its enclosure and operate it manually.

Cat2 I believe is usually the exact same EPIRB, except without the case that you can mount outside and it will self launch the EPIRB.
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:54   #3
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

That’s very helpful! Thanks A64
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:02   #4
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

A PLB does more or less exactly what an EPIRB does, but with a smaller battery and rated to transmit at least one day rather than two days. The ratings are conservative -- low temperature, and end of the rated battery life, so practical duration should be longer.



EPIRB has an advantage in that it has a larger antenna which doesn't need to be unfolded and pointed anywhere. And is generally more robust.


But is it ESSENTIAL for offshore sailing? I wouldn't say so. I have both EPIRB and PLB, but I carried nothing but a PLB for years and didn't think anything about it.


In any case, it should not be your only means of emergency comms. You will want to have either HF radio with DSC, or a sat phone, in addition to the PLB and/or EPIRB. VHF DSC is the most effective emergency comms near shore. HF radio with DSC gives you two way communications with the SAR services -- a big advantage. You need several layers of emergency comms for offshore sailing, but an EPIRB -- I have one and recommend it, but I think a PLB is a reasonable substitute if you're not going to be crossing oceans or sailing somewhere where rescue would be days away. EPIRB vs PLB certainly not needed within a couple days sailing of a coast.
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:25   #5
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ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

Whatever you buy, Iíd recommend one with a built in GPS.
That will transmit an actual location, ones without a GPS have to be triangulated by Satellite I believe, that takes longer and is less precise.
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Old 07-06-2019, 13:12   #6
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

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Whatever you buy, Iíd recommend one with a built in GPS.
That will transmit an actual location, ones without a GPS have to be triangulated by Satellite I believe, that takes longer and is less precise.

Indeed. But I don't think you have been able to even buy them without GPS for some years by now.
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Old 07-06-2019, 13:52   #7
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

I was surprised you ever could, GPS is just a chip, and cheap, phones all kinds of devices have GPS now, I bet maybe even some watches do.
I always figured it was a marketers dream, charge $100 extra for a .50c chip.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:05   #8
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

Basically, PLB is targeted as a PERSONAL rescue beacon to be carried on your person/life jacket.
EPIRB is for a VESSEL use to be carried on deck and/or taken with you to the liferaft.
You may of course use the PLB as a sort of vessel beacon (with the limitations described by other posters above).
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:16   #9
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

I believe years ago, most PLBs did not transmit with the same power as a full size EPIRB - now quite a few of them do, and the only real difference is transmission time duration through a physically larger battery. If you are a solo or 2 person crew, I think a PLB is really invaluable.
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:53   #10
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A PLB does more or less exactly what an EPIRB does, but with a smaller battery and rated to transmit at least one day rather than two days. The ratings are conservative -- low temperature, and end of the rated battery life, so practical duration should be longer.
A great summary .

Personally, I think a PLB attached to a lifejacket/harness is probably a better solution than an EPIRB. You are more likely to have the PLB in an emergency situation. I think this is probably more of an advantage than the longer batter life of an EPIRB.

The lower cost of a PLB means that attaching a unit to each crew memberís harness does not cost an unreasonable amount. Much better than a single EPIRB that may be inaccessible in an emergency situation such as fire or rapid sinking.

However, some regulation authorities mandate an EPIRB must be carried, so the choice between EPIRB and PLB is not always simply a matter of personal judgement.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:08   #11
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

I bought a high end EPIRB that came with a PLB. Sold the PLB so my net cost was the same as the less expensive EPIRB of same manufacturer.

Bought the IN-Reach PLB because with a monthly plan I can also send and receive texts in theory from anywhere in the world unlimited.

If I get into trouble where I need the EPIRB, I want one that lasts as long as it can TX. I have a life raft which I also don't ever want to use but JIC, they are all there.

Have a SPOT PLB somewhere I don't use anymore. I did take a bad fall backpacking and had to be helicoptered out. Push the button and rescue was sent in motion.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:08   #12
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

My preferred option, assuming the boat is equipped with AIS, is the Ocean Signal RescueMe MOB1. Instead of an EPIRB signal that has to go to a satellite to some official station with potentially hours delay before any action, the MOB1 transmits and emergency signal and position to your onboard AIS so you can start your own S&R immediately.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:13   #13
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

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I bought a high end EPIRB that came with a PLB. Sold the PLB so my net cost was the same as the less expensive EPIRB of same manufacturer.

Bought the IN-Reach PLB because with a monthly plan I can also send and receive texts in theory from anywhere in the world unlimited.

If I get into trouble where I need the EPIRB, I want one that lasts as long as it can TX. I have a life raft which I also don't ever want to use but JIC, they are all there.

Have a SPOT PLB somewhere I don't use anymore. I did take a bad fall backpacking and had to be helicoptered out. Push the button and rescue was sent in motion.


Neither the inreach or the Spot are PLBís.
Neither contact the rescue coordination center, hopefully their agencies will of course.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:18   #14
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ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
My preferred option, assuming the boat is equipped with AIS, is the Ocean Signal RescueMe MOB1. Instead of an EPIRB signal that has to go to a satellite to some official station with potentially hours delay before any action, the MOB1 transmits and emergency signal and position to your onboard AIS so you can start your own S&R immediately.


That is what I have on each of our vests, an AIS SART, and an EPIRB for the boat.
Different theories I guess, my thought is if you go overboard with an AIS SART I should have you back aboard pretty soon, with a PLB, Iíll never find you as I donít receive a signal, and it may well be tomorrow or later before the Cavalry arrives, and that may be too late.

Iíve read at least one account of a person waking up and wondering why their Wife let them sleep so late, to only find her gone, and that really bothered me.

I guess carrying both is best, but I will always believe that an EPIRB will more likely transmit a signal that will be received better than a PLB.
You read of accidents that the RCC only gets a couple of ďhitsĒ from a PLB, Cheeki Rafiki is one if I remember right, but donít usually read that about an EPIRB.
However Cheeki Rafiki I donít think any EPIRB signal was ever received either.

Iíd mount my class1 outside like your supposed to, but I canít figure out where would guarantee it wouldnít get caught in the Bimini or sails etc and go down with the boat.
Much better plan for a Trawler etc I believe.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:56   #15
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Re: ACR EPIRB vs Resqlink PLB

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My preferred option, assuming the boat is equipped with AIS, is the Ocean Signal RescueMe MOB1. Instead of an EPIRB signal that has to go to a satellite to some official station with potentially hours delay before any action, the MOB1 transmits and emergency signal and position to your onboard AIS so you can start your own S&R immediately.
I think you are mixing 3 separate scenarios.
The personal AIS systems is perfect for searching after a crew member that fell into the sea. It would not help a solo sailor who needs a PLB and would not help in case of a boat in distress on high seas that needs an EPIRB.
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