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Old 17-01-2009, 22:03   #1
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Willard boarded by Coast Guard ISO EPIRB

Cleaning the boat this early afternoon when I heard a LOUD helicopter overhead. I ignored it -- had a slight hangover from Chianti and Margaritas from the night before. It made pass after pass. Then I looked out the porthole. They had stopped a powerboat about 20 meters away and the coast guard had boarded the boat while the coast guard helicopter fluttered overhead. Then the boat left and the copter kept circling. Then it left. An hour later it returned. And it stopped another boat. And then it circled me and the Dirigo II. I decided to take a nap. Next thing I know I heard this SIR!!!!! from someone right next to my boat on the dock. I stick my head out and two Coast Guard guys all in black with back auto inflation vests (those looked VERY cool) were standing there. They were very polite and sounded concerned and really exasperated. Seems an EPIRB had been going off and they narrowed the area. He asked if I had an EPIRB on board. I said, no, I cannot afford one. They talked to each other, and the Coastie says "Sir, may I please board and search your boat?" "Do you know what one looks like?" And proceeded to describe it. Absolutely I told him-- come aboard. I got to show him all my electronic gear -- and everything was off except the APT 06 weather satellite receiver and I explained that it could not transmit. I asked if the beacon was of the 121 MgHz type and he he said he did not know, except that they have been trying to find the signal source for quite a while. He checked the engine compartment and I showed him the tuner and the charger. He thanked me several times for cooperating and left.

Turns out the guy NEXT to me had and EPIRB and his kids accidentally turned it on when they were cleaning the boat. It was the 121 variety.

I think I can see now why the 121 is soon to be phased out. They did not know what they were looking for -- not the type of boat nor the person.

It was interesting. And those black vests looked damn sweet.
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Old 17-01-2009, 22:49   #2
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After we took delivery of our boat, it had two of the 121 types. And about a week after we got it, same thing happened to us, except it was ours. Seems that batteries got weak in one of them and self triggered. Per the CG guys that came, that is a common occurance on some models. Both of them now have the batteries removed pending disposal....
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Old 17-01-2009, 23:40   #3
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I decided to take a nap.

ROTFLMAO!

Thats hillarious!

Very neatly written

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Old 18-01-2009, 05:24   #4
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"If you can keep your head(ache), when all about you are losing theirs", etc etc etc .
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Old 18-01-2009, 06:52   #5
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Wow, the coast guard wears black PFDs, meanwhile they're reccomend that the rest of us wear bright orange or bright yellow. I guess It's more important that they not be seen than to be seen.
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Old 18-01-2009, 08:18   #6
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Great Story....thanks

My Grandfather once told me....

." Never mix the Grape..and the Grain..."

I guess that can now be amended to include: Grape and Agave..

I love Margaritas!...straight up- fresh lime juice, no salt please!
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Old 18-01-2009, 13:25   #7
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We had a similar experience in the UK back in 1999 whilst minding our own business at anchor. A huge Coastguard Sea King helicopter hovers overhead and a crew member shows a board displaying "CH 16". We speak on VHF and it seems they also were looking for source of stray EPIRB signal. After a litlle verbal interrogation I persuaded them to go look for a Catamaran I had seen previously anchored nearby.

BTW I understood that 406MHz EPIRB's also have 121.5MHz transmitter to home in rescue services in response to emergency signal via satellite.

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Old 18-01-2009, 13:50   #8
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Wow, the coast guard wears black PFDs, meanwhile they're reccomend that the rest of us wear bright orange or bright yellow. I guess It's more important that they not be seen than to be seen.
Wannabe Special Forces?
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Old 18-01-2009, 13:52   #9
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BTW I understood that 406MHz EPIRB's also have 121.5MHz transmitter to home in rescue services in response to emergency signal via satellite.

Regards
As of February 9, satellite processing of the 121 signal will stop. But the signal can still be heard by aircraft searching. You mentioned "home in" -- that is actually a pretty nifty piece of the system. Unless the 407 carries a GPS signal, the "homing in" you speak of uses the Doppler shift and happens (generally) in a combined effort between a LEO satellite (i.e., POES such as NOAA 15, 17, 18) and a GEO satellite.

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Old 18-01-2009, 13:59   #10
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Wannabe Special Forces?
There was not much that cut through my haze that day. Not even the WHUPP WHUPP WHUPP directly overhead could keep my attention. But.... the SIR!!!! And those black PFDs sure got my attention. I kept staring at his PFD while he was in the main cabin looking through my cupboards and navstation (I was soooooooooo glad I had cleaned up the boat that AM from the night prior) and could not believe I was seeing a black PFD. Those guys came from the high powered orange inflatable (made by Willard Marine BTW!) with the .50 cal forward mounted gun.

Anyways, I want one. Black always makes one look more trim. I could use the help these days.
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Old 19-01-2009, 14:49   #11
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There's a piece in today's 'Lectronic Latitude that deals with the quickly-arriving-extinction of the 121.5 MHz EPIRB:

"You can still play those old LPs if you want, and by all means restore that old Herreshoff schooner. But as of February 1, that ancient 121.5 EPIRB of yours will not only be useless, it will be illegal."

To read the rest of the story, go to:Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

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Old 19-01-2009, 17:41   #12
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Some idiot on an oil rig that i was working on decided to steal the Epirb from one of the life rafts,he took it home and stuck it in the wardrobe,the unit eventually went off and the police turned up at his door,the cops checked out where he had got it from and it all ended up with him being sent down for 9 months.
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Old 20-01-2009, 16:10   #13
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Wow, the coast guard wears black PFDs, meanwhile they're reccomend that the rest of us wear bright orange or bright yellow. I guess It's more important that they not be seen than to be seen.
Remember, they're auto-inflating so the bladder is likely orange or yellow.

MV -- Why not find out who sources them to the CG? A lot of that kit is available.
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Old 21-01-2009, 00:33   #14
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There's a piece in today's 'Lectronic Latitude that deals with the quickly-arriving-extinction of the 121.5 MHz EPIRB:

"You can still play those old LPs if you want, and by all means restore that old Herreshoff schooner. But as of February 1, that ancient 121.5 EPIRB of yours will not only be useless, it will be illegal."

To read the rest of the story, go to:Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

TaoJones
Just to be clear for the international members, the old 121.5 EPIRB be illegal in the USA and perhaps some other countries. Technically they will not be illegal in Australia although they will be next to useless and you will still need to have a 406 beacon.
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Old 21-01-2009, 00:53   #15
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Quote:
It was interesting. And those black vests looked damn sweet.
Haha, great stuff.

I love Coast Guard visits... "Yes, there are enough life jackest," "yes my fire extinguishers are good," "yes there is one person aboard who is sober enough to operate this vessel," but...

I don't want any seamen on the boat (unless it's me own)...

Cheers

Bill
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