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Old 08-03-2014, 18:40   #1
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InReach instead of EPIRB?

I'm heading off shore soon and was looking into EPIRBs. I was wondered if anyone has opted for an InReach, with SOS and text capability, instead of a 406 EPIRB. I was planning on both, but money is tight. Does that sound like a dumb idea? Also, Please let me know what you think, if you've used the InReach and if you like it or found problems.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:08   #2
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Interesting question. I didn't view the InReach as a substitute for a EPIRB or PLB.

I'm also planning to do some offshore sailing and am going thru the same "what to take - what is cost effective?" question. I'm leaning towards a an InReach also, but view it as a communication device first and a safety backup. I'm considering it in lieu of a costly sat phone or SSB installation. For true search and rescue at sea keep in mind that InReach as well as Spot communicators are not part of the government search and rescue system tied in to the coast guard, but use a private service.

An alternative to a full blown EPIB w/ GPS might be one of the new PLB w/GPS. They can be had for as little as $250 and their battery life is improving, although still not as long as a EPIRB. I'm considering the PLB because I don't plan to be that far off shore or in cold water i.e., the Bahamas.

Be interested in what others have to say on the topic.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:35   #3
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MI248 View Post
Interesting question. I didn't view the InReach as a substitute for a EPIRB or PLB.

I'm also planning to do some offshore sailing and am going thru the same "what to take - what is cost effective?" question. I'm leaning towards a an InReach also, but view it as a communication device first and a safety backup. I'm considering it in lieu of a costly sat phone or SSB installation. For true search and rescue at sea keep in mind that InReach as well as Spot communicators are not part of the government search and rescue system tied in to the coast guard, but use a private service.

An alternative to a full blown EPIB w/ GPS might be one of the new PLB w/GPS. They can be had for as little as $250 and their battery life is improving, although still not as long as a EPIRB. I'm considering the PLB because I don't plan to be that far off shore or in cold water i.e., the Bahamas.

Be interested in what others have to say on the topic.
Not a substitute... But definitely a backup for emergency.... or primary for communication...
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Old 09-03-2014, 14:17   #4
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

if your life is on the line I'd much rather have the epirb.

for the other 99.99% of the time when you're not about to die I'd rather have the delorne.

Pick one and take your chances.... or buy both.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:03   #5
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:35   #6
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
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.
That has been my conclusion as well. I think a couple PLB's (one for each crew member) are better than an EPIRB. They are not the ideal device for a MOB, but better than nothing. If the crew can send out a Mayday at the same time there is perhaps some hope in warm water.

Where the PLB really excels over the EPIRB is in a sudden sinking where all the effort can be devoted to getting to life raft. In a life-raft with a PLB gives you a good chance of survival. Collecting a EPIRB takes precious time and launching a life-raft rapidly while clutching an EPIRB would not be easy.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:54   #7
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Artist,
Get an EPIRB....(actually a GPS-enabled EPIRB, sometimes called a "GPIRB"...)
No question in my mind about this choice...
And, make damn sure your register it properly!!!


If you were considering both, but money is tight....then scrap the InReach, and definitely get an EPIRB first!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by artist View Post
I'm heading off shore soon and was looking into EPIRBs. I was wondered if anyone has opted for an InReach, with SOS and text capability, instead of a 406 EPIRB. I was planning on both, but money is tight. Does that sound like a dumb idea?
So, yes, getting an InReach instead of an EPIRB is, in my opinion, a dumb idea!!!

I think you should read a thread which explains things pretty well, and especially read the links over in detail (particularly the links to COSPAS-SARSAT and to Beth Leonard's "Cruising World" article)!!!

EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds


After you understand how the international Search And Rescue (SAR) system works (by reading the above thread and the links provided there), I think you'll understand that you'd not really want to introduce further delays / complications into it, nor delay / complicate any rescue/response...





To be clear the InReach is a good product, but it was NOT designed to replace an EPIRB...
Quote:
Originally Posted by artist View Post
Also, Please let me know what you think, if you've used the InReach and if you like it or found problems.
And, it will not provide the same quality/reliability that an EPIRB does....


Again, please read this thread and the links....you'll be VERY glad that you did...
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds


And, if you're curious about other systems....
Icom M-802 DSC-Distress Signaling, what really happens!

Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts






{While the above facts about EPIRB's, COSPAS-SARSAT, etc. are facts....the remainder here about PLB's is my opinion...

As for PLB's...
--- In a MOB situation, their primary purpose is to have a better chance on recovering a deceased crewman, as by the time rescuers arrive, a crewman in the water will likely have passed....(perhaps in warm waters, near 1st world rescue services...such as off the coast of Florida....this would not be the case...but for most other areas, where the water is cool/cold, and rescue services are 100's of miles away, you're pretty much "toast"...)
Best thing to do, is NOT fall off the boat...
--- A PLB as an alternative to a ships EPIRB....not worth saving the $ in my opinion....besides the fact that you need to hold the darn thing up to get a signal to the satellites (as they are not designed to float along side you or your raft), I written about other differences before....
Just curious how many folks here would be glad they saved a $100 or so, getting a PLB INSTEAD of an EPIRB, when time comes that they have to really use it!!!
--- If you desire a PLB, in addition to an EPIRB....that's fine, but in my opinion, not instead of an EPIRB....
--- Not to be overly contrary, but unless you've got a PLB strapped to your body 24/7, it take little time to deploy an EPIRB....in most cases, less than 5 seconds, and in my case it takes me only 2 seconds, if I'm in my bunk...and about 5 seconds if in the cockpit (yes, I have checked and timed it...)

See photo of where my EPIRB is mounted, on the bulkhead by the Nav Station, next to the companionway, directly on the path from my bunk to the cockpit...}








I hope this helps...

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Old 13-03-2014, 06:21   #8
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
--- A PLB as an alternative to a ships EPIRB....not worth saving the $ in my opinion....besides the fact that you need to hold the darn thing up to get a signal to the satellites (as they are not designed to float along side you or your raft), I written about other differences before....
Just curious how many folks here would be glad they saved a $100 or so, getting a PLB INSTEAD of an EPIRB, when time comes that they have to really use it!!!
--- If you desire a PLB, in addition to an EPIRB....that's fine, but in my opinion, not instead of an EPIRB....
--- Not to be overly contrary, but unless you've got a PLB strapped to your body 24/7, it take little time to deploy an EPIRB...
The major advantage of the PLB is the small size. This means it can be attached to your harness/lifejacket. This means you are more likely to have it with you (as well as redundancy if both crew members make it into the liferaft) This is not practical with EPIRB's

I am not suggesting saving money, but two PLB's is much the same cost a single EPIRB. I normally sail with two POB (especially offshore) so PLB' s attached to each crew members harness I feel is superior to a single EPIRB for the same cost.

I would not suggest this ideal formula for everyone (and I also feel money spent preventing these catastrophes is probably the wisest investment), but consider how you spend your saftey dollar. EPIRB's are great, but maybe multiple PLB's are better, for a similar cost.

It is not a cost argument, more what is superior.
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Old 13-03-2014, 06:29   #9
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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.
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Old 13-03-2014, 09:20   #10
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

While I don't think it is prudent to rely on an InReach alone, it might be complimentary to the EPIRB. My thinking is that if you simultaneusly to turning on the EPIRB use the InReach to signal your EPIRB listed emergency contact that you are indeed in an emergency, then that contact will be able to confirm this to the emergency services. The InReach will also allow you to get out additional information about the nature of the emergency and how the situation develops.
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Old 13-03-2014, 09:27   #11
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

There is no substitute for the 406 epirb w/gps. The plb is nice but it is not the same as regular epirb either. I haven't seen the InReach but assume it's similar to Spot, right?

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Old 13-03-2014, 09:35   #12
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

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I haven't seen the InReach but assume it's similar to Spot, right?
There are some differences:
InReach has two-way text messaging capability while the Spot only can send messages. The InReach uses the Iridium satellites giving global coverage while Spot uses the GlobalStar satellites that will only work while the satellite is within sight of both the Spot and the receiving ground stations.

But otherwise they are simlar in their general concept and in the fact that neither is a recognized part of GMDSS.
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Old 13-03-2014, 10:11   #13
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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.
This is a problem. The legislation lags behind the technology. Governments can be very slow. I carried an EPIRB on my yacht in Australia many years before it was required.

I would encourage everyone to conform with the local rules as Factor suggests although in many cases I think more sensible choices can be made.

Countries like the UK which leave these decisions up to the skipper seem to have at least as good safety record, considering the conditions, with almost no legislation for private vessels.
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Old 13-03-2014, 10:36   #14
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

All good points.

Never think you need to have everything. You do not.

You can get an EPIRB later. You can get PLBs later. You can get InReach later. Everyone cruised without EPIRB before they were invented. None of these are essential for safe and enjoyable voyaging.

IMHO, get the GPIRB first. I find the personal stuff gets annoying fast.
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Old 13-03-2014, 10:42   #15
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Re: InReach instead of EPIRB?

madsb,
As you know this actual function/feature (redundant means of signaling, whether for Distress or Safety, etc.), is one of the primary features of the GMDSS....and was one of the main reasons that the SOLAS conference / IMO, came up with a "system": GMDSS...

And, here is where HF-DSC and INMARSAT-C, come into the discussion...
As, they are both not only part of the GMDSS, but are accepted and used worldwide on a daily basis by not only commercial vessels, but also by ocean-going cruisers/voyagers on pleasure boats...


I have nothing against "inReach", and I also do love Iridium, but I wonder why if a sailor was looking for redundancy in signaling (primarily for Distress, but also for many other uses), and to provide details/information/etc. other than just an EPIRB position....why would these sailors not consider HF-DSC (and/or even INMARSAT-C)????
Quote:
Originally Posted by madsb View Post
My thinking is that if you simultaneusly to turning on the EPIRB use the InReach to signal your EPIRB listed emergency contact that you are indeed in an emergency, then that contact will be able to confirm this to the emergency services. The InReach will also allow you to get out additional information about the nature of the emergency and how the situation develops.
Quote:
Originally Posted by madsb View Post
InReach has two-way text messaging capability while the Spot only can send messages. The InReach uses the Iridium satellites giving global coverage while Spot uses the GlobalStar satellites that will only work while the satellite is within sight of both the Spot and the receiving ground stations.

But otherwise they are similar in their general concept and in the fact that neither is a recognized part of GMDSS.
It seems that we have a constant stream of folks asking about "Spot" and "inReach", etc. (again, which I have nothing against), any many that wish to discuss the pluses and minuses of each, and/or the pluses and minuses of EPIRB's vs. PLB's...
But, few wish to hear/discuss the virtues of actually having HF-DSC (and/or INMARSAT-C) on-board???



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..


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