SARTS are great, but currently must be manually activated, or be retrofitted into an auto-inflate PFD
. Here's a direct link to the Kannad AIS SART (which westwinds mentioned): SafeLink R10
I equipped my crew with these for our recent Hawaii
trip. For these to work as MOB alarms, you need to make sure that you have an AIS receiver (or transponder) system on board, preferably one that generates an alarm when the SART starts transmitting. The SART is new enough that many chartplotters or other AIS systems don't recognize the signal as a SART. They treat it as just another vessel. So figure out how to have an alarm go off when the SART is activated. My NavMonPc program recognizes AIS SARTs, but you may not want to use a computer program for this emergency
There are also small DSC/GPS-enabled VHF
handhelds that your crew could wear. They would have to turn it on, then press the emergency
button, and then your boat's VHF
will start squawking (if it is DSC
capable). Again, not automatic.
Personal EPIRBS won't notify you on the boat that someone's gone into the water, unless you have a 121.5 MHz emergency beacon receiver on board. I have a receiver, but it's not manufactured any more. Yes, this beacon frequency has been phased out as a method of triggering the international response, but all EPIRBs and PLBs still transmit it for use as a close-in homing signal.
There are MOB systems that do auto-trigger, or use a dead-man loss-of-signal alarm triggering. Raymarine
LifeTag is one, and there are others. Each of these has issues or complications, so I haven't used them myself. There is still no perfect system, but I think the AIS SART is getting close.
Rakuflames is right about making sure that the old standby low-tech MOB tools are available: whistles, strobes, waterproof flashlights, etc. Once you have these in good order you can start looking into electronic gadgets.