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Old 23-02-2017, 06:55   #1
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Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

I have an Iridium Go and it has the SOS button.

How exactly does that compare to an EPIRB?
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Old 23-02-2017, 09:46   #2
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

After a good deal of research, I was able to answer my own question.

The "SOS button" on the Iridium Go uses GEOS Emergency Monitoring.

This is what I found on their FAQ page:

"We operate in the same model as the COSPAS-SARSAT system (Used for EPIRB and PLB activations) and IAMSAR, meaning we are contacting the same agencies and resources that a government-owned alerting post would be."

GEOS | FAQ
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Old 23-02-2017, 10:03   #3
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

Perhaps this is not your question, but I'd guess that the majority of folks would agree that a sat phone is no replacement for an EPIRB. Maybe if you are only sailing coastal waters in the US they would function the same, but elsewhere...?

Oh, yea, drop the Iridium in the ocean and see if it performs like an EPIRB.
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Old 23-02-2017, 10:13   #4
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

Yeah, they are designed for totally different functions and to different safety tolerances
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Old 23-02-2017, 10:22   #5
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

I have an inReach, which I believe operates on the same Iridium network. It also has a reasuring SOS button on the device. Itís great as a backup, but itís no substitute for an actual EPIRB operating on the dedicated (and non-commercial) Cospas-Sarsat network.

The other week I received notice of a service outage for my inReach. All services, including SOS, were down for a while. They apologized for the inconvenience. Sure glad my inconvenience wasnít floating me around in a liferaft.
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Old 23-02-2017, 13:35   #6
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

Apart from the "drop the Iridium in the Ocean", comment above, there's also the question of battery life and continuous transmission. An EPIRB is always "fully charged" when you need it and a big battery to keep transmitting for days. It also provides a signal that rescuers can home in on.

I love my Inreach and wouldn't do a passage without it, but it certainly doesn't replace my EPIRB.
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Old 24-02-2017, 05:19   #7
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by epiic View Post
"...we are contacting the same agencies and resources that a government-owned alerting post would be."
Ask yourself this... You are a government-run SAR agency. It's already a busy day when a couple of new calls come in. One is from some private company that you have, maybe, dealt with before. One is from another government agency that you deal with all the time. Which one gets higher priority?

Yeah. Like everyone else has said, Iridium Go is a very nice device to have, but it is no substitute for a real EPIRB.
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Old 24-02-2017, 15:30   #8
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

I see the biggest issue with the Go is water. I have two epirbs, one in the life raft and one on board ,add to this the plb.....paranoid? Maybe but if I was unfortunate enough to end up in the life raft I want the most robust pieces of kit available, I also want them to keep screaming "save me" for a week or so, I want the odds in my favor.

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Old 24-02-2017, 16:29   #9
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

No. EPIRB first for sure.
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Old 24-02-2017, 20:07   #10
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

The Iridium Go is designed and built to a set of specifications dictated by Iridium. They are only answerable to their shareholders.

An EPRIB is designed and built to a set of specifications dictated by a world wide committee of SAR / electronic / technical / people all of which has to satisfy all sorts of government agencies over decades. It is probably the most universal, robust, dependable and simple system of declaring an emergency ever invented. The system is answerable to all users and governments.

You choose...
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Old 24-02-2017, 22:18   #11
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

I can't comment on the Iridium GO but I carry both an EPIRB and an Inreach. Each has their place. If I could only have one, I'd carry an EPIRB - but that strikes me as a silly argument when talking about lives. I would not go offshore without both. Both are waterproof. Both have long battery lives (Inreach four days)

The Cospas/Sarsat system is a 40 year old design badly in need of an update. Its glaring weakness are false alarms. 96% of EPIRB signals are false alarms.http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/BMW%2008%...%20Study.2.pdf

Dealing with this costs an extraordinary amount of money, consumes SAR resources, and typically delays the initiation of for rescue for several hours while SAR makes phone calls. And the rescue then has to be launched with no idea if they are going to a liferaft, a dismasting, or a medical emergency nor how many people are aboard.

The Inreach (which is a division of Garmin) allows ongoing two way communication to verify the alarm and give SAR detailed information about the nature of the distress, people on board, etc.

The Inreach distress center is GEOS. It's a large, sophisticated operation.

Here's a marine one from Feb 11
INCIDENT NUMBER: G32351

11 February 2017 at 2327 GMT the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) received a 911/SOS alert from an InReach device off the coast of North Carolina. IERCC personnel contacted local emergency services and informed them of the activation. U.S. Coast Guard personnel responded to the location and transported a 52-year-old male whose vessel began taking on water while he was out sailing. The individual was transported by helicopter to a secure location on land. No injuries were reported with this incident.


GEOS | SAR Flash Reports

It's ridiculous to suggest that SAR personnel would handle a report from GEOS with less urgency than a report from Cospas/Sarsat. In all likelihood, the GEOS call is taken more seriously as it has a much lower probability of being a false alarm.

If I was in distress, I would always first try to make contact with the InReach. If GEOS didn't immediately answer, then I'd activate the EPIRB.
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Old 25-02-2017, 14:19   #12
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
..........

It's ridiculous to suggest that SAR personnel would handle a report from GEOS with less urgency than a report from Cospas/Sarsat. In all likelihood, the GEOS call is taken more seriously as it has a much lower probability of being a false alarm.........
I can't offer any meaningful comment on how SAR personnel around the globe would react to a call from GEOS and likewise I don't know how all RCC's deal with an EPRIB activation but I do know from personal experience and interaction with the Australian RCC (and local SAR personnel) that no EPRIB notification is considered false until there is very strong evidence to prove it is false.

In fact I would speculate that if the AUS RCC received a call from GEOS, their first question/comment would be "have they activated an EPRIB, do they have an EPRIB, if so, please activate it". They have standard procedures (that are proven to work) which are followed on receiving an EPIRB alert but perhaps a call from GEOS might be taken on the fly.
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Old 28-02-2017, 00:25   #13
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Re: Iridium Go instead of EPIRB?

Replace instead with and.... then everything is cool!
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