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Old 13-03-2014, 11:33   #16
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

I was recently given an InReach. I compare it to the SPOT device, rather than a PLB, which is an EPIRB for your body. I think it's "nice to have", particularly if you don't have a satphone or an SSB. In 2009, a SPOT "OK" message was sent at 6 AM and 6 PM from a boat I was crewing on a delivery to the USVIs. When I returned, I found seeing the course we sailed on a Google Earth-type layout to be fascinating.

Our loved ones found the mere fact of the "check in" reassuring, particularly as we saw some heavy weather.

That said, I would not, these days, go offshore without a quality EPIRB. We are seeing currently how difficult it is to find a large object wrecked at sea with the Malaysian jet crash; we can only assume that the EPIRB or EPIRB-like beacons aboard that plane were either destroyed or otherwise disabled by the violence of the crash.

Which in itself is a little disturbing, I suppose.
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Old 13-03-2014, 11:41   #17
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

my admiral has told me at times i wear both suspenders and belt but in this case she does not mind
we have a epirb with gps that is near the companionway --we also have 2 personal epirbs - one with gps and one without - we also have vhf and ssb with dsc capability --

took a look at inreach on line and while nice i would not rely on it for rescue at sea - cute and nice but not in a situation where the boat is going down - and the cost for a yearly subscription is high for the best plan so what is the great advantage??

it also kinda depends on where you are headed -- if coastal cruising then inreaach might work -- but long offshore passages i think not

i guess the question you have to ask is what is your life worth
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Old 13-03-2014, 11:43   #18
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

Not to worry....I'm not going to turn this EPIRB discussion into a debate about HF radio...
Just making an observation, that there are very reliable and accepted ways to provide redundancy to Distress (or otherwise) signaling, and that provide a means of actual two-way communications and allow details of the situation to be passed easily and accurately....
And, these are HF-DSC-SSB radio and INMARSAT-C....both of which are an integral part of the GMDSS....
(yes, the fixed-upfront approx. $2800 cost of a new Icom M-802/AT-140 installation....and/or approx. the same costs of a INMARSAT-C terminal, are significantly more than the cost of an InReach....but there are no monthly costs...



Gotta go..


John
s/v Annie Laurie
John, as the owner of an 802, a GX 2200 VHF and several DSC-capable handhelds and a freshly issued MMSI number, I naturally concur.

I think when evaluating these setups (I nearly said "gadgets", but they aren't in the same league as a smartphone that allows you to hook up in a bar, are they?), one has to consider them in the light of a Venn diagram of overlapping capacities and safety utility. They often complement each other, rather than replace; look at an AIS site like Marine Traffic and one can see not only the boat, but its rough particulars (beam and LOA), its current status and how recent was the last update...all data from the transmission of its data string.

Consider also how AIS and RADAR are complementary: the blip at extreme range could be an anchored ship or a rock; the AIS will confirm one way or another, and corrections, if needed, can be made. An AIS transponder will allow ships to "see" you even if you can't be discerned on RADAR: surely, this is the belt and suspenders approach to safety.

So is the use of SSB, GPS in handheld VHFs, or PLBs/SARTs on the PFD: they are ways in which, should we choose, we can be seen and known.
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Old 13-03-2014, 12:13   #19
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

u4ea32, is absolutely correct here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by u4ea32 View Post
Everyone cruised without EPIRB before they were invented. None of these are essential for safe and enjoyable voyaging.
I grew up cruising as a kid in the 1960's....and we made it, with no worries at all, thru the Bahamas, all the way thru the Caribbean, etc...(Florida to Grenada), with nothing but a Ritchie compass, and old RDF, and a mediocre 2mhz AM marine radio....
And, then in the 70's sailed across the Atlantic, and a few seasons in the Med, etc...and while we did have some new gear (new Motorola VHF, and SGC Intercontinental One SSB), we still used a Ritchie compass, sextant and tables, paper charts, etc...
Satellite communications was the thing of science fiction....

And we (and countless others) survived just fine!!!



But, I think the point here in this discussion is:
IF you do desire to equip yourself / your vessel with some gear...what is the stuff that works well, and is reliable...



Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 13-03-2014, 12:44   #20
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Another vote for redundancy.

I think it's crazy to carry only a single EPIRB when two PLB's don't cost any more. What's your backup plan if your single EPIRB doesn't work?

Carrying two PLB's plus a Delorme Inreach is even better since you can have friends convince the authorities that the EPIRB signal is real.
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:13   #21
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Factor View Post
If you are coming to Australia you will need an EPIRB, can have (and I do) PLBs can have in reach etc, but there is a statutory obligation in at least QLD, NT and WA to have an EPIRB. You may wish to check the legislation in the areas you intend to cruise in case they have a similar provision.
Just to add, an EPIRB is now required in all Australian states

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Another vote for redundancy......
Redundancy is good
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:32   #22
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
u4ea32, is absolutely correct here... I grew up cruising as a kid in the 1960's....and we made it, with no worries at all, thru the Bahamas, all the way thru the Caribbean, etc...(Florida to Grenada), with nothing but a Ritchie compass, and old RDF, and a mediocre 2mhz AM marine radio....
And, then in the 70's sailed across the Atlantic, and a few seasons in the Med, etc...and while we did have some new gear (new Motorola VHF, and SGC Intercontinental One SSB), we still used a Ritchie compass, sextant and tables, paper charts, etc...
Satellite communications was the thing of science fiction....

And we (and countless others) survived just fine!!!



But, I think the point here in this discussion is:
IF you do desire to equip yourself / your vessel with some gear...what is the stuff that works well, and is reliable...



Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
To be fair, that was before the globalization of shipping and the widespread adoption of containerization. The seas have arguably never been so crowded with shipping, nor the ships so lightly crewed.



I believe that if devices can give you warning, or can make you more visible to the current crop of marine behemoths, all the better.
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Old 13-03-2014, 16:54   #23
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

I realize this is a discussion about "inReach vs. EPIRB", and I don't wish drift this off to far on a tangent...
But, when we speak of redundancy, or various means of signaling, two-way comms, etc.
We should all fully understand what the GMDSS is, why/how it was developed, and how it works...
And, while this is well beyond the intent of this thread, maybe I could just add a few brief things that might be helpful to all here??

{And note, that as long as it is professionally serviced / battery replaced / tested as per requirements, every 5 years....I've NEVER heard of any EPIRB failure at all....THEY JUST WORK....they are one of THE most reliable pieces of electronics made....so, while "redundancy" / "multiple ways to signal" are nice to have, AND provide a "confirmation" of a distress, it's not because of any "failure" of an EPIRB....just wanted to point out the incredible reliability of an EPIRB!!!}


While the "D" in GMDSS does stand for "Distress", the first "S" stands for "Safety" (and of course the second "S" is for "System")...
And, the goal of the SOLAS convention / IMO in creating the GMDSS was to quite literally improve Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS).....

And, providing better weather and safety information, notices to mariners, etc. (which improves safety at sea, and REDUCES the need for any "distress"), in different/multiple ways.....was actually as big a part of the final GMDSS, as was the ability to signal a distress in multiple ways...

NAVTEX, HF-Radio (voice and text), and INMARSAT-C (text) are all parts of the GMDSS which are designed to provide better weather and maritime safety information to vessels at sea....
{Please note that HF-WeFax is not officially part of the GMDSS...but over the years it has become a very much prized and well used (daily) weather resource (which is preferred by most ocean mariners, over the "text" info provided by HF-Radio and INMARSAT-C), by a majority of vessels at sea, even today....the most recent data is the 2012 survey from the WMO/jcomm Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology...}

So, when we small boat sailors go looking for some redundancy and/or various ways to signal assistance and/or allow two-way communications over long ranges, and thru various conditions....we should all be aware that these systems already exist....in the form of the various parts of GMDSS....

As I have written in the past, none of us have the room, electrical power, nor the $$$ to be fully GMDSS-compliant...but using the parts of the GMDSS that are affordable and feasible for most of us, will provide this very "redundancy", "multiple ways of signaling", and "two-way comms", that many desire...

--- An EPIRB is quite affordable and small/light, so it fits the bill...

--- NAVTEX is also a great thing to have on-board...although it doesn't cover areas more than 250 or so miles offshore, it is relatively cheap and easy-to-use...

--- HF-DSC-Radio is not too expensive (~ $2800 for M-802?At-140, installed), and provides the redundancy / second way to signal (simple "one-button"), as well as "two-way comms"...AND provides very easy access to excellent offshore weather info/forecasts (WeFax) and voice / text weather and comms...

--- INMARSAST-C is a bit pricey for many of us....but is very good for circumnavigators...provides both another separate/redundant way of signaling (simple "one-button"), and good offshore weather information...


Yes, there are other parts of GMDSS....such as SART's, VHF-DSC, handheld VHF radios, multiple/redundant power supplies, etc...but the above items are the ones most useful to this discussion...




So, when we sailors seek "redundancy", or a way to "confirm" or "communicate" when at sea and/or in remote areas....maybe we should look at what works VERY well, and is VERY reliable, easy-to-use, etc....
Look to parts of the GMDSS....
And, the fact that some of these will also provide other services/advantages on-board, such as weather, routine communications (voice and DSC), Distress signaling, vessel tracking, etc...and mostly all for FREE...
(personally I'd rather look to the GMDSS, rather than InReach, or buying two PLB's....but, you can all make your own decisions....)


I hope this helps add something helpful to the discussion...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 13-03-2014, 16:59   #24
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Once you purchase and register an EPIRB it becomes part of the GMDSS system(global maritime distress and safety system) there is no substitute for an EPIRB when it comes to safety at sea that's why we carry the same 406 on our container ships as the small boats do.

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Old 13-03-2014, 17:00   #25
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Alchemy,
Yes, you are correct here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
To be fair, that was before the globalization of shipping and the widespread adoption of containerization. The seas have arguably never been so crowded with shipping, nor the ships so lightly crewed.
And, this is one very good reason that the GMDSS was created....and the creation/implementation of the GMDSS has in fact allowed for the increase in the number of ships and reduction in the number of crew on watch!!!

Which just goes to show 'ya....the GMDSS does work...


Fair winds..

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Old 13-03-2014, 18:03   #26
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
{And note, that as long as it is professionally serviced / battery replaced / tested as per requirements, every 5 years....I've NEVER heard of any EPIRB failure at all....THEY JUST WORK....they are one of THE most reliable pieces of electronics made....so, while "redundancy" / "multiple ways to signal" are nice to have, AND provide a "confirmation" of a distress, it's not because of any "failure" of an EPIRB....just wanted to point out the incredible reliability of an EPIRB!!!}
Electronic reliability does not eliminate the advantage of multiple units and the benefits of redundancy.

What about if you loose the single EPIRB while launching, or getting into the life-raft?
Or perhaps you cannot get to, or even find the single EPIRB say with a fire, or rapid sinking
Perhaps a collision, or the mast falling down has crushed the single EPIRB
Perhaps the single EPIRB is swept away.
What if the crew become separated with only one EPIRB?


I still think the biggest advantage of the PLB is that with its small size it can clipped to harness/lifejacket and therefore is much more likely to be with us in the event of an emergency, but the redundancy of multiple PLB units (one for each crew member) has advantages that should not be dismissed even if we accept that an EPIRB is 100% electronically reliable.

The current PLB's will transmit the same 406mhz (and121.5) message complete with GPS position as the (newer) EPIRB will. The major difference is a minimum battery life (at -20C) of 24hours compared to 48 hours for the EPIRB.
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Old 14-03-2014, 12:36   #27
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Alchemy,
Yes, you are correct here...And, this is one very good reason that the GMDSS was created....and the creation/implementation of the GMDSS has in fact allowed for the increase in the number of ships and reduction in the number of crew on watch!!!

Which just goes to show 'ya....the GMDSS does work...
I'm not sure that the reduction in watchstanders is necessarily a good thing, but I will agree they can be saved a lot faster thanks to GMDSS!


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Old 14-03-2014, 13:17   #28
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I'm not sure that the reduction in watchstanders is necessarily a good thing, but I will agree they can be saved a lot faster thanks to GMDSS!


The only reduction in Bridge manning that GMDSS caused was the loss of the dedicated radio officer, and they where usually hidden away in the radio room, not on the bridge looking out of the windows. They could be called upon if the OOW wanted another set of eyes, but most only did this grudgingly....

On topic: InReach instead of an EPIRB? not on my boat.....
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Old 14-03-2014, 14:36   #29
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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I would go for a PLB with inbuilt GPS & strongly recommend that you wear it AT ALL TIME whilst at sea on a belt like I do which also has a knife in a sheath along with a Leatherman both of which are on lanyards. I always wear mine night and day as if you should go overboard which can just as easily happen in good conditions then a PLB is not going to help you if it is on board in your sailing bag or a drawer.

If you want to also keep shore based family and friends aware of your position go for a Delorme as well.

Not to mention that a PLB is USELESS as a mob device USELESS


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Old 14-03-2014, 22:31   #30
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

I have the inReach and used it on a passage from Seattle to SF. One thing is you better get use the function and how it works before you head out. The tiny little letters on the display are easy to mess up in a rough sea. It's not a qwerty keyboard. You have to scroll and select each letter/#.

And the mapping has to be initialized online, which is a bit difficult offshore. And when you text someone's email they need to be computer savvy to manage the site.

The battery would lose about 20% per day. But the nice thing was being able to communicate with family/friends each day. I had to tie mine to the inside of the dodger for a clear shot of the sky and for quick access. I bought the extra battery pack to keep in the ditch bag. It is water proof but not submersible. I kept a HD ziplock baggie with it.

When you turn on the SOS button they will text you back (supposedly) to check on your situation. But it keeps sending out your position until you shut it down. You can preprogram messages but I had trouble trying to get what I want, which also has to be done online. I didn't have much time to play with it before heading out.

The instruction manual sux! And they lock you into a service contract that is costly to cancel.
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