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Old 14-03-2014, 22:56   #31
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Not to mention that a PLB is USELESS as a mob device USELESS
There are much better MOB devices than a PLB, but I think that quote is overstating the case.

A modern PLB as well as sending up a distress message sends up an accurate GPS position.

I freind of mine rescued 6 sailors in the middle of the night, storm conditions when their boat sank offshore. Their liferaft was swept away, but they the victims tethered themselves together in water. The resue authorities were able to relay a frequent position of the people in the water from the GPS in the EPIRB. (They did need to account for drift due to some delay).This would work just as well with a PLB.
Although not a MOB this was a practical case of people in the water and using the EPIRB to locate and ultimately rescue them.

Even the starting position for a MOB is sometimes not known with a small crew and a boat sailing on autopilot (which describes a lot of cruisers). A PLB could be a significant help in this situation.
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Old 15-03-2014, 11:57   #32
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Even the starting position for a MOB is sometimes not known with a small crew and a boat sailing on autopilot (which describes a lot of cruisers). A PLB could be a significant help in this situation.
I would prefer a PLB to an extra handheld flare!
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Old 17-03-2014, 02:37   #33
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InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
There are much better MOB devices than a PLB, but I think that quote is overstating the case.

A modern PLB as well as sending up a distress message sends up an accurate GPS position.

I freind of mine rescued 6 sailors in the middle of the night, storm conditions when their boat sank offshore. Their liferaft was swept away, but they the victims tethered themselves together in water. The resue authorities were able to relay a frequent position of the people in the water from the GPS in the EPIRB. (They did need to account for drift due to some delay).This would work just as well with a PLB.
Although not a MOB this was a practical case of people in the water and using the EPIRB to locate and ultimately rescue them.

Even the starting position for a MOB is sometimes not known with a small crew and a boat sailing on autopilot (which describes a lot of cruisers). A PLB could be a significant help in this situation.


The reasons were detailed in another thread. It can take anything upto to 4-5 hours for a epirb response to be validated and assets dispatched. Such assets could be a ship.

Given the life expectancy in cold water is about 30 minutes unless wearing a survival suit. What's the use of a PLB to someone threading water.

Dave
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Old 17-03-2014, 03:27   #34
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
The reasons were detailed in another thread. It can take anything upto to 4-5 hours for a epirb response to be validated and assets dispatched. Such assets could be a ship.

Given the life expectancy in cold water is about 30 minutes unless wearing a survival suit. What's the use of a PLB to someone threading water.

Dave
However with one of these on board, eprib / plb response would be achieved in less than a couple of minutes.
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Old 17-03-2014, 05:19   #35
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Given the life expectancy in cold water is about 30 minutes unless wearing a survival suit. What's the use of a PLB to someone threading water.

Dave
I guess that's why many crusers avoid cold water . I usually go for a snorkel (without a wetsuit) for an hour or so each day. The survival time for our water temperature (other than winter) is 40 hours plus.

With a MOB situation a mayday could be be raised via VHF, or SSB so the position from the PLB GPS could presumably be relayed reasonably quickly and the boat that has lost the crew member (or others) can start a search using this information.

It is much better to have mechanisms to stay on board. If overboard you at least need a good lifejacket with spray hood etc. (and most commonly the PLB is attached to lifejacket/harness). The best electronic devices are an AIS personal transponder, or perhaps a H/H VHF DSC (although the latter are mostly too bulky to wear all the time and there is a battery life issue), but a PLB does offer some hope and I don't agree with your assessment that it is "USLESS", at least not in all situations.

The benefits of the PLB would be particularly in the nightmare situation where the off watch crew wake up to find the helmsmen is no longer on board and the boat has been sailing on autopilot. Like most couples on largish boats we sail 95% of the time on autopilot. Despite rules of always clipping on, such situations are not impossible to imagine.
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Old 19-03-2014, 19:21   #36
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

In reach well worth having for a few reasons.1. communication is 2 way, you know someone is responding. 2. Regular position updates to nominated persons you trust at very low cost with global coverage. You can text friends family with SOS as well as the SOS listening service. I was in a yacht that capsized in the med in force 11 at night. We were not in danger as she self righted as they should. Our NEW FULLY REGISTERED epirb was washed overboard and activated automatically as it floated away with its stobe light flashing. We had better things to do than try to recover it. It's hard to believe that the 3 crew were the only people in the world that knew it activated. We checked with coastguard in Falmouth England and they had no record of the activation. YES strange but true. But I still would not go without one
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Old 19-03-2014, 20:38   #37
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by cajucito View Post
In reach well worth having for a few reasons.1. communication is 2 way, you know someone is responding. 2. Regular position updates to nominated persons you trust at very low cost with global coverage. You can text friends family with SOS as well as the SOS listening service. I was in a yacht that capsized in the med in force 11 at night. We were not in danger as she self righted as they should. Our NEW FULLY REGISTERED epirb was washed overboard and activated automatically as it floated away with its stobe light flashing. We had better things to do than try to recover it. It's hard to believe that the 3 crew were the only people in the world that knew it activated. We checked with coastguard in Falmouth England and they had no record of the activation. YES strange but true. But I still would not go without one
This would be concerning and disconcerting.
Can you provide more details?
Year, manufacturer, country of beacon registration, time between activation and latter checking with CG Falmouth etc.
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Old 19-03-2014, 21:08   #38
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Two stories of cruisers who crossed the Atlantic this season (2013/2014):

1.
Single handed sailor with a leak. Could not keep up with the manual pumping. Batteries already submerged.
Called Falmouth coastguard in the middle of the atlantic with his satellite phone. They contacted Fort The France in the Caraib and checked on the sailor every 20! minutes to check of everything was ok.
Sailor was rescued by a cargo vessel within hours and never turned on his EPIRB.

2.
Couple sailing from Africa to Caraib.
Epirb turned on by itself without manipulation. Noticed by the sailors due to flashing strobe on the EPIRB. Sailors called coastguard agencies with satellite phone. Respons from coastguard agencies. "We saw your epirb distress signal but didn't do anything."!

Lesson learned: Get a satellite phone!
The possibility to talk to someone (MRCC) and explain the situation will start a search and rescue or will divert a cargo vessel.
You can update them with your location and situation instantly.
Use EPIRB as a backup.

We have a satphone and EPIRB on board but in an emergency we will call the MRCC in our country of registration first and keep the epirb as backup in case the satphone doesn't work or rescue takes longer then the satphone batteries can handle.
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Old 20-03-2014, 04:46   #39
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
This would be concerning and disconcerting.
Can you provide more details?
Year, manufacturer, country of beacon registration, time between activation and latter checking with CG Falmouth etc.
It wasn't my boat, luckily, as far as I remember it was a mcmurdo epirb, It was only a few months old and registered in Ireland. When we got the boat sorted out after the capsize we tried to contact coast guard in Spain via VHF to cancel any rescue efforts but vhf was knocked out by mast damage. We were about 15 nm off the Spanish coast and sailing from Melilla in Morocco to Almerimar in Spain. We then used mobile phone and contacted marina in Almerimar, They contacted local coast guard to tell them we were ok and didnt need assistance. The Spanish coastguard had no record of our distress. When we got ashore we contacted Falmouth Coastguard as we believed they should have been aware of the activation, but they had no record of the distress signal either. The Epirb was under the spray hood along with some spare lifejackets HH Vhf and stabilizing binoculars. The sprayhood and everything under it was sheared off by a large broadside breaking wave which rolled us 180 deg. The life jackets were still wedged between the backstay and the top of the mast when we entered port the following day raising some eyebrows and causing many tourists and sailors alike to reach for their cameras. The boat was damaged but nothing major. A much larger German yacht was severely damaged abandoned at the fuel berth with a large section of the bow missing.
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:04   #40
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Most EPIRB activations are false alarms.

I wonder if there is another advantage in multiple PLbs instead of single EPIRB. The chance of an inadvertent activation (in the same position) of two distress beacons is remote.

Would authorities be more likely to take multiple alarms (say two PLBs activated at the same time) as less likely to be false alarm and therefore utilise more rescue assets than they would over a single EPIRB? (Assuming there was no other confirmation such as mayday)
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:17   #41
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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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
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Sorry John to be the first person to give an example of an Epirb failure. As an Electronics Engineer about to set off on a circumnav, I have to remind everyone that Epirb's are made by Man and not by God. Yes the design and engineering is as good as you can get but nothing in this world is perfect. Proof is the number of dead astronauts who had best engineering available on the planet. Anyway when it comes to life threatening situations you just cant have too many options as there are no second chances. I have DSC, fixed and handheld, PLB's, VHF and MF Radios, Epirb, 4G Radar, AIS Transponder, and InReach. If other options become available before I cast off, I will have those as well because the thing I value most on my boat is not any piece of electronic wizardry, Its my life, and the lives of my crew.
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Old 22-03-2014, 03:40   #42
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajucito View Post
It wasn't my boat, luckily, as far as I remember it was a mcmurdo epirb, It was only a few months old and registered in Ireland. When we got the boat sorted out after the capsize we tried to contact coast guard in Spain via VHF to cancel any rescue efforts but vhf was knocked out by mast damage. We were about 15 nm off the Spanish coast and sailing from Melilla in Morocco to Almerimar in Spain. We then used mobile phone and contacted marina in Almerimar, They contacted local coast guard to tell them we were ok and didnt need assistance. The Spanish coastguard had no record of our distress. When we got ashore we contacted Falmouth Coastguard as we believed they should have been aware of the activation, but they had no record of the distress signal either. The Epirb was under the spray hood along with some spare lifejackets HH Vhf and stabilizing binoculars. The sprayhood and everything under it was sheared off by a large broadside breaking wave which rolled us 180 deg. The life jackets were still wedged between the backstay and the top of the mast when we entered port the following day raising some eyebrows and causing many tourists and sailors alike to reach for their cameras. The boat was damaged but nothing major. A much larger German yacht was severely damaged abandoned at the fuel berth with a large section of the bow missing.
Thanks for taking the time to provide this detail.
From what you described, it is possible that the EPRIB was damaged when the sprayhood was torn off. There could be a variety of reasons that it was not transmitting correctly and thus not picked up by the COSPAS SARSAT system. But as this is only speculation, I guess there is no point into delving deeper.
Thanks again for the explanation.
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Old 22-03-2014, 03:44   #43
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by cajucito View Post
Sorry John to be the first person to give an example of an Epirb failure. As an Electronics Engineer about to set off on a circumnav, I have to remind everyone that Epirb's are made by Man and not by God. Yes the design and engineering is as good as you can get but nothing in this world is perfect. Proof is the number of dead astronauts who had best engineering available on the planet. Anyway when it comes to life threatening situations you just cant have too many options as there are no second chances. I have DSC, fixed and handheld, PLB's, VHF and MF Radios, Epirb, 4G Radar, AIS Transponder, and InReach. If other options become available before I cast off, I will have those as well because the thing I value most on my boat is not any piece of electronic wizardry, Its my life, and the lives of my crew.
While I agree that any electronic item can fail and I agree with the general thrust of your post, my experience of testing hundreds of beacons and thousands of electronic systems suggests that beacons are very very very robust.
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