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Old 13-04-2013, 23:43   #1
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Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

So Alchemy thinks I would be a Luddite if I left home without one. But what is the advantage of having a beacon tied to the ship, rather than the newer PEB's?

SInce life jackets are usually worn in dire situations, it would be plausible to assume that me and the Mrs could have a beacon each. I know that the larger battery Epirb models last up to 12 hours longer once activated. However Am I missing some detail I should have here?

The other aspect was that if we are ashore or in the dighu and have an emergency, a bloody great hunk of kit is no good as we get pushed out of the atoll.
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Old 14-04-2013, 06:00   #2
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

I have a PEB/PLB in the ditch bag. The only difference I could find between it and a full-fledged Epirb was battery life, 24 hours for the PLB and 48 hours for the Epirb. And, or course, price.
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Old 14-04-2013, 06:02   #3
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

PLB's are great, but they won't give off a signal as long as an Epirb, and they don't have to float, and float upright at that.
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Old 14-04-2013, 06:08   #4
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

^^ PLB's are also handled somewhat differently, in that an EPIRB is integrally tied (in registration) to a particular vessel, while a PLB is not. That has made the rescue response a bit slower in several PLB cases (for example Rambler) while they try to figure what the PLB is on.

A GPS enabled EPIRB is still the single best offshore mayday device, And VHF DSC probably the single best inshore (within VHF range) device.
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Old 14-04-2013, 06:46   #5
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

i have spot.
there is a precedent for spot sar rescues--a friend of mine had a crew who got scareded at crescent city and pushed spot's emergency button..was helped off the boat and my friend monitored thru some pnw storming activity a few years ago.....
yes i have spot inmy boat and will have it if f i have to leave my home for any reason at sea.
so i will save the thousands of boat dollaz and use em for boat....
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Old 14-04-2013, 06:49   #6
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

EPIRB and PLB are two different things. There is no substitution but more like each thing has its own application. Some boats/crews will carry both, some one, some none.

PS For economy or other valid reasons, I might imagine using a PLB in the place of an EPIRB. But otherwise I would use EPIRB as the main device and PLB as a secondary.

Horses for the courses.

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Old 14-04-2013, 06:56   #7
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I would add, "it depends". Crossing the Gulf of Mexico, a spot was enough for us. Crossing the Caribbean, we'd probably have gone the plb route. Crossing the pacific.....I'm in the epirb camp.
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Old 14-04-2013, 07:12   #8
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

I have a Spot, too, but their $100 a year fee bugs me -- it adds up to a lot over time.

We like to use Spot on longer cruises to let family know where we are . . . but lately we only do a few weeks of summer coastal cruising, and we can check in by e-mail or cell phone anytime.

So I'm thinking of getting a PLB for emergencies, and not subscribing to Spot again till we have a big trip planned (which might be 5 or 6 years off).

PLBs (~$250) and EPIRBs (~$400) are getting so inexpensive that you can get one of each. . . .
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Old 14-04-2013, 08:40   #9
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
I would add, "it depends". Crossing the Gulf of Mexico, a spot was enough for us. Crossing the Caribbean, we'd probably have gone the plb route. Crossing the pacific.....I'm in the epirb camp.
So why the change between Carib and Pacific? DO they both not offer the same service?
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Old 14-04-2013, 08:53   #10
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Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post

So why the change between Carib and Pacific? DO they both not offer the same service?
A good reason it's about the battery. 24h isn't enough in the Pacific, where any rescue would depend on mobilizing nearby ships and not helicopters or CG boats.
I guess...
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Old 14-04-2013, 09:10   #11
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i have spot.
there is a precedent for spot sar rescues--a friend of mine had a crew who got scareded at crescent city and pushed spot's emergency button..was helped off the boat and my friend monitored thru some pnw storming activity a few years ago.....
yes i have spot inmy boat and will have it if f i have to leave my home for any reason at sea.
so i will save the thousands of boat dollaz and use em for boat....
Their Spot didn't do a lot for the crew of the Aegean last year--their SOS message ended up on an answering machine.

http://www.practical-sailor.com/blog/-10824-1.html
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Old 14-04-2013, 10:57   #12
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

In my communications with AMVER, they stress the importance of an EPIRB. I was able to get assistance with a sat phone, but I was prepared to use the EPIRB if needed.
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Old 14-04-2013, 12:13   #13
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

Lots of good advice in this thread, NP. I have written on this topic in my blog fairly extensively and those posts have been among the most popular I've written.

Keeping in mind that a) you are proposing going FAR offshore, and b) I haven't heard you speak of liferafts (the EPIRB goes with you into that when you step up off of the boat) and c) you have to ask whether PLBs and locators are going to be of use if the heaviest crew falls off unconscious but floating, leaving the lightest crew to come about and retrieve you...

Well, you make the call:

The world encompassed: The realities of self-rescue on a sailboat

The world encompassed: Best practices for worst cases

The world encompassed: Self-rescue: More reality checking

The world encompassed: More risky business

I welcome your thoughts, either there or here. I believe PLBs are a good choice for coastal or inshore, but they compliment an EPIRB. They don't replace it.
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Old 14-04-2013, 12:17   #14
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

Rather than spot i was thinking these ARC type products.


Transmits on 406 MHz via the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system with your registered unique, digitally coded distress signal and 121.5 MHz (SAR local homing frequency).
Onboard 12 channel parallel GPS acquires then transmits LAT/LON when the unit is activated, dramatically saving valuable time for your distress message to reach local rescue centers and providing rescue agencies with your exact position to within 110 yards (100 meters).
Smallest and most functional PLB available; can be easily carried in a pack or pocket; small enough to be worn by skiers, hikers, hunters, kayakers, climbers, pilots or any outdoor enthusiast.
Lanyard and removable holster provide functionality and allow for multiple mounting options on backpack, belt, webbing and life vest.
Full functional self test of internal circuitry, battery power, 406 MHz transmission, and GPS acquisition.
Flat, stainless steel antenna wraps compactly around the unit for easy stowage; is easily positioned when needed.
Exceeds RTCM waterproof requirements.
Size: 1.4 x 5.85 x 2.21 in (3.6 x 1.49 x 5.6 cm)
Weight: 10 oz (283g) with lanyard

Waterproof: 5m (16 ft) @ 1 hour, 10 m (33 ft) @ 10 min., factory tested @ 21C (70F). Exceeds RTCM waterproof requirements.
Operational Life: In excess of 24 hours @ -20C (-4F) longer in higher ambient temperatures
Typical Performance:
36 hours @ -20C (-4F)
20 hours @ -40C (-40F)

Battery Type: Class 2 lithium battery packs, (non-hazmat), min. transmit 24 hrs @ -20C, 5 year replacement life (11 year storage)
Storage Temperature: -40C to +70C (-58F to +158F)
Radiated Power: 5 watts 2dB (406 MHz) / 50 mW 3dB (121.5 MHz)
Material: Engineered polycarbonate blend
Color: Hi-Viz ACRtreuse
Deployment: Manual
Activation: Manual
Operation: 2 steps: deploy antenna, press ON button, giving clear view of sky
Accessories: PLB holster, GPS interface cable
Certification: COSPAS-SARSAT, FCC, Canada, Europe
Limited Warranty: 5 years

Registration...
It is mandatory that you register your PLB. It's fast, easy and free.
USA: www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov
CANADA: www.canadianbeaconregistry.forces.gc.ca

Does an epirb do anything else?
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Old 14-04-2013, 12:18   #15
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Re: Have Epirb's been superseded by the Personal Emergency response beacons?

Cheers Alchemy

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