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Old 23-06-2016, 16:10   #1
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Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

Hi


Iím prepping a ditch bag and had a question:


If YOU were stranded in the middle of an ocean on a life raft, what portable, hand-held, radio/communication unit would you want to have, and why?


I know a waterproof sat-phone (w/prepaid card) would be nice, and possibly the best choice, but itís expensive and continues to occur expense, vs. possible other options.


Advice/Input?



thanks!
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Old 23-06-2016, 16:19   #2
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

These would be on my short list for a ditch bag:

EPIRB

ACR GlobalFix Pro 406 2844 EPIRB Category II Rescue Beacon with Manual Release Bracket and Built-in GPS = $436
__________

PLB
One to consider: ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ Personal Locating Beacon with 406 MHz Floating PLB, Built-In GPS, Strobe and 121 MHz Homing Beacon = $249

Attach to your PFD.

Positive? Like a small EPIRB for an individual to wear.
Negative? Won't help your own boat find you in MOB situation. You could be half a mile away from help (your own boat) and your own boat will not see you.
__________

Personal AIS Beacon

McMurdo Smartfind S20 SRS AIS MOB = $292

Attach to the PFD of the deck crew/helmsman/Singlehander

Unique Function? Will help your own boat find you in MOB situation.

Limitation? 4 miles and IF your boat (or another) has an AIS receiver turned on and an alert crew.

Negative? For MOB: Will every crew member have one on their PFD?
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VHF with DSC and GPS
(Handheld, waterproof, floating,)
One to consider: Standard Horizon HX870 Handheld VHF with GPS = $215

Limitation?
Limited to Line of Sight transmission, which can be very short distances if you are in a PFD at water level in big seas.
___________

In addition I would have other items (e.g. signal mirror). But for electronics, the above for communication.
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Old 23-06-2016, 16:47   #3
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

I noticed you are a new member of CF. Welcome.

The Google Custom Search function on this forum works very well to find previous threads on countless topics, including the "Ditch Bag" topic which is popular. Here is a quick search. Follow this link to many threads on the topic:

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...bag&gsc.page=1

__________

The use of SAT PHONE has been discussed many times too. Just do a Google Custom Search for that too. The Custom Search function is found under the Search menu at the top menu bar of your browser (but not seen or available if you are using the CF Mobile app).

Good luck on your choices.
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Old 23-06-2016, 17:08   #4
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
I noticed you are a new member of CF. Welcome.

The Google Custom Search function on this forum works very well to find previous threads on countless topics...
Thank you Steady'!
I was having trouble with google for a bit, but I will keep making use of it. There's is usually QUITE a bit of information that comes back- more than a day's reading easy!!!

I should get over to the introduce yourself at some point here.
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Old 23-06-2016, 17:08   #5
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

I would have a SH870 or a similar unit.

DSC, 6W, gps, waterproof. No brainer.

I would also carry a DSC/AIS combined rescue beacon.

b.
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Old 23-06-2016, 17:19   #6
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I would have a SH870 or a similar unit.

DSC, 6W, gps, waterproof. No brainer.

I would also carry a DSC/AIS combined rescue beacon.

b.


That is what I was thinking of earlier (The "MOB 1"), but forgot the item (lost in my notes).

Here is the product available on Amazon.

Ocean Signal Man Over Board (MOB 1) With AIS and DSC = $364

Key Features (from the manufacturer):

The MOB1 is intended to be installed within the life-jacket and will activate automatically on inflation, sending the fi rst alert within 15 seconds.

The integrated strobe light ensures maximum visibility in low light conditions.

The MOB1 communicates with the vessel you have been separated from and other vessels in the vicinity (up to 5 miles range dependent on conditions). To alert rescue authorities, an alternative product the rescueME PLB1 communicates directly via a dedicated search and rescue satellite network.

In an emergency rescueME MOB1 provides 2 methods of rapidly communicating your position, accurate to a few metres, back to the vessel, plus providing visual indication via its built in strobe light.

The best chance of rapid rescue if you fall overboard comes from your own vessel. Your crew needs to be immediately aware of the incident and keep track of your position whilst recovery is carried out. Even in the most moderate of seas it is alarming how quickly a visual sighting of a man overboard can be lost.

MOB1-dimentionsOnce activated your MOB1 will transmit an alert to all AIS receivers and AIS enabled plotters in the vicinity. The integrated GPS ensures precise location is sent to your vessel and any others that may be assisting.

An additional feature of the MOB1, is its ability to activate the DSC alarm on your vessels VHF, alerting your crew to the situation.

https://www.amazon.com/Ocean-Signal-...+rescue+beacon
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Old 23-06-2016, 18:13   #7
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

I plan to add a Delorme InReach to my ditch bag.
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Old 23-06-2016, 18:18   #8
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

A friend once spoke his thoughts aloud on this. And it was 20yrs ago, so not as many options. But his idea was to take a hand held VHF which could run on AA batteries. And that he'd also carry a small solar powered battery charger, plus some spare batteries.
That way, in theory at least, the radio could always be charged up & switched on.

I'm thinking that the idea is sound, & could be applied to many of the electronic items in question, for the same reasons.

Aside from radios, one other item would be Laser Flares (pointer type).


The above said, redundancy in terms of devices would be a wise plan.
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Old 23-06-2016, 18:48   #9
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

an aviation band handheld is more likely to get you help than a marine vhf. I have both, and both are battery powered.

The odds of an airplane passing within hailing distance is far far greater than a ship.
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Old 23-06-2016, 19:53   #10
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

When J - world went down a few years ago, it was their VHF that got the rescue chopper to them. The EPIRB got the bird close, but lighting and sea conditions made visuals tough and it was "you are above us now" that sealed the deal.
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Old 23-06-2016, 21:20   #11
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

Many hand-held VHF radios (Standard Horizon, for example) come with a battery back that will accommodate long-life (lithium) AA batteries, in addition to the standard rechargeable battery pack. Good to have both in the ditch bag.
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Old 23-06-2016, 21:32   #12
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

I second the Delorme Inreach. Kind of a poor mans sat phone.
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Old 24-06-2016, 05:41   #13
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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I second the Delorme Inreach. Kind of a poor mans sat phone.
It is a little cheaper than current satt phones and plans, but I like the Explorer model because it also incorporates a GPS. Comm and Nav in one compact package. I do a lot of other outdoor activities too, hiking, kayaking... and plan to use it for those as well.

I also pack a hand held VHF and an EPIRB.
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Old 24-06-2016, 07:35   #14
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

I was fortunate enough to sit in on a lecture that was given by Eugenie Russell, who was the captain on a J120 being chartered for the 2007 Baja Ha Ha. In about 20 knots of wind from behind, the boat surfing fast down a wave, the rudder hit a whale and pushed it up through the hull. They had 45 minutes to escape the sinking boat.

Some of the key points of her lecture was that they lost their ditch bag early on. It wasn't tethered to anyone and in the process of getting into the life raft, it drifted away. In winds of that strength, there was no way to recover it. However, they were able to hold onto their EPIRB and handheld VHF.

While she and her crew were waiting for rescue in the life raft (her story on the life raft deployment is an entirely terrifying chapter in of itself - too long to go through here), they heard the US Coast Guard helicopter approaching and their hearts sank as the helicopter kept on going. Eugenie got on the VHF handheld and asked, "Are you looking for us?" Even though the helicopter had their coordinates from the EPIRB activation, they could not see the life raft and had flown right over it. Eugenie said that the VHF was a critical piece of equipment in their recovery.

While she made many points about the sinking, the life raft deployment and rescue, some of the main ones were:

1. The US Coast Guard's subsequent report on the accident said that Eugenie did everything perfectly, except that she waited too long before activating the EPIRB. She thought she could repair the damage. The Coast Guard said that she should have activated the EPIRB immediately. Their thinking is that they would rather have someone activate the EPIRB and then say they had repaired the damage and no rescue was necessary than wait too long.

2. Ditch bags should be tested. Take your loaded ditch bag to a swimming pool and throw it in. You might be surprised if it sinks. We have an old inflatable PFD in ours with the pull cord hanging out so in the event of a catastrophe, we can make sure it will float. We also have a tether secured to it.

No one was injured during the sinking or rescue and Eugenie was given very high marks for her skills and leadership. Her crew was mostly inexperienced people.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 24-06-2016, 09:27   #15
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

I "third" the Delorme In Reach. practical, economical, and works quite well from anywhere.
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