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Old 27-08-2015, 17:34   #16
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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If the poop hits the fan, you will want the EPIRB. Nothing else will work.

It seems inconceivable to me that anyone would go offshore without one. You can't buy cheaper insurance.

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As far as I can tell, no one is debating the need for an EPIRB.

The questions have been A. What's the cheapest way to buy an EPIRB and B. Is it worthwhile to have a SPOT/InReach unit in addition.
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Old 27-08-2015, 18:31   #17
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

This beats $400:

MCMURDO SMARTFIND PLUS GPS 406 EPIRB CAT 2 W BRACKET-$367.85-82-800-001A-2 UltimatePassage.com
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Old 27-08-2015, 18:47   #18
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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Originally Posted by MondayNever View Post
As far as I can tell, no one is debating the need for an EPIRB.

The questions have been A. What's the cheapest way to buy an EPIRB and B. Is it worthwhile to have a SPOT/InReach unit in addition.
Sorry, I thought when you said you didn't want to dig into the cruising budget "for a tool we might not need" that your are dismissing the importance of it. I may have misunderstood.

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Old 27-08-2015, 20:53   #19
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

You could also contact Landfall Navigation, in Stamford Ct. In the past they have had some specials at the boat shows. Nice, knowledgeable people. If staying in the Caribbean, you could also think about ELB's. Same technology, shorter battery life, and registered to a person, not a boat. There have been good rebates on them, and you could get two for the price of one EPIRB.
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Old 27-08-2015, 22:18   #20
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

Really different tools for different purposes.

The EPIRB is for a Mayday situation. You are declaring a current life threatening emergency. Send the helicopter. It's not appropriate for PAN calls. I've never activated my EPIRB. Most people haven't. But at $400 how could you not carry one offshore?

The Inreach is useful for a wide range of offshore short communications. It works anywhere in the world because it uses the Iridium network. It provides reliable two way communication in 160 character messages to anyone with an email address (and they have their own staffed emergency center). It's waterproof and has a four day battery life. It's a great backup for SSB/Ham radio. Much less expensive than a sat-phone. I primarily use mine to keep in touch with family and friends on multi-day offshore trips. I did use it once to get advice from the mechanic at my home boatyard about an engine problem. It won't receive GRIB files but someone ashore can send you weather reports and weather routing. Ocens also offers a limited weather service for it.

The Inreach will not browse the web, do longer emails, pictures and blogs. You will need wifi or the phone/sim card and be close to land. "Poaching wifi" has also pretty much gone away. You will be paying for wifi access or paying for data on a sim card. Which one will work better will depend on the island and the harbor. Most people do both.

I couldn't tell from your original post whether your plan was to stay close to land or do multi day offshore passages. If the latter, an EPIRB alone isn't enough. I would carry either 1) EPIRB and SSB/Ham, 2) EPIRB and Sat-phone or 3) EPIRB and Inreach. The Inreach option is the cheapest of the three.
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Old 28-08-2015, 03:59   #21
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

Personal EPIRB is cheapest way to go. I've seen them for $250.
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Old 28-08-2015, 10:56   #22
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
Sorry, I thought when you said you didn't want to dig into the cruising budget "for a tool we might not need" that your are dismissing the importance of it. I may have misunderstood.

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Nope, sorry for the misunderstanding. That comment was in regards to buying an InReach/Spot versus just using a cell phone and local sim for text communication. Since we're mostly going to be close to land and don't yet have any major offshore passages planned, I think the latter option may suffice.

The EPIRB is a definite, though.
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Old 28-08-2015, 11:17   #23
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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Really different tools for different purposes.

The EPIRB is for a Mayday situation. You are declaring a current life threatening emergency. Send the helicopter. It's not appropriate for PAN calls. I've never activated my EPIRB. Most people haven't. But at $400 how could you not carry one offshore?

The Inreach is useful for a wide range of offshore short communications. It works anywhere in the world because it uses the Iridium network. It provides reliable two way communication in 160 character messages to anyone with an email address (and they have their own staffed emergency center). It's waterproof and has a four day battery life. It's a great backup for SSB/Ham radio. Much less expensive than a sat-phone. I primarily use mine to keep in touch with family and friends on multi-day offshore trips. I did use it once to get advice from the mechanic at my home boatyard about an engine problem. It won't receive GRIB files but someone ashore can send you weather reports and weather routing. Ocens also offers a limited weather service for it.

The Inreach will not browse the web, do longer emails, pictures and blogs. You will need wifi or the phone/sim card and be close to land. "Poaching wifi" has also pretty much gone away. You will be paying for wifi access or paying for data on a sim card. Which one will work better will depend on the island and the harbor. Most people do both.

I couldn't tell from your original post whether your plan was to stay close to land or do multi day offshore passages. If the latter, an EPIRB alone isn't enough. I would carry either 1) EPIRB and SSB/Ham, 2) EPIRB and Sat-phone or 3) EPIRB and Inreach. The Inreach option is the cheapest of the three.
Nothing beyond 2-3 day passage planned, so well within the time frame of accurate weather forecasts. I don't believe that constant communication with home is necessary during that short of a passage.

Sorry - I was using "poaching" colloquially. I understand that unsecure wifi is not readily available. I have worked in the lesser antilles for a few seasons and recognize that it generally involves sitting down at a cafe with a beer.

Boy, this sure did get off track from the "cheap EPIRB" question.

I appreciate everyone's advice. We are on a tight budget (we're 30 - not retired), so we have to weigh our purchasing decisions carefully. I'll keep all this info in mind, though.

Thanks!
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Old 28-08-2015, 11:37   #24
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

Do EPIRB's survive lighting strikes? I have never seen anyone mention them in the list of electronics damaged in a strike.
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Old 28-08-2015, 12:35   #25
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

Since our last Eprib has now gone out of service life, we are considering just using the Spot or Iridum Go. Seems we will get more bang for the buck as you have text messaging and set location updates. As well as keep the old Eprib with non-certified battery replacement and trying to decide on at least one possible PLB.
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Old 28-08-2015, 12:38   #26
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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Hi all,
I am considering stopping by the Annapolis show for a day before my wife and I fly down to Tortola to begin cruising on our new-to-us boat. We need to buy an EPIRB and I'm wondering whether it makes sense to buy online or wait until the boat show.
I have heard there will be a very good deal on ACR iPro EPIRBs in the next few days that you might consider. Sort of a fall special. You may not have to wait until the boat show.

Chuck
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Old 28-08-2015, 13:26   #27
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

To go back to the original question of a good price on an EPIRB - and at some risk of re-starting an earlier EPRIB-PLB argument - I think the best way for you to save some money is to buy a PLB instead. I can think of no significant drawback for your cruising plans and waters. PLB's have the same transmit power (6.3w - although some are 5w), transmit the same data, use the same SARSAT database, and get the same SAR response. The difference is:

- A PLB only broadcasts for 24 hours instead of 48 hours but where you're cruising rescue responders would almost certainly get to you in less than 4 hours. And SAR gets a GPS fix on you in 15 minutes. They can calculate your drift if needed.

- PLB's won't float free when the boat sinks and it's hard to hold the antenna correctly if you are swimming. But I think I'm like most people who keep the EPIRB in the cabin so some wave doesn't knock it over the side and I would activate it well before abandoning ship. A PLB would work just fine in a liferaft.

While a PLB is registered in the registration database to you not your vessel, there is an online updatable comments field in the database with enough room for the vessel name, description, documentation number and even cruising waters/plans.

A good PLB is still just over half the cost of a good EPIRB.
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Old 28-08-2015, 13:39   #28
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
To go back to the original question of a good price on an EPIRB - and at some risk of re-starting an earlier EPRIB-PLB argument - I think the best way for you to save some money is to buy a PLB instead. I can think of no significant drawback for your cruising plans and waters. PLB's have the same transmit power (6.3w - although some are 5w), transmit the same data, use the same SARSAT database, and get the same SAR response. The difference is:

- A PLB only broadcasts for 24 hours instead of 48 hours but where you're cruising rescue responders would almost certainly get to you in less than 4 hours. And SAR gets a GPS fix on you in 15 minutes. They can calculate your drift if needed.

- PLB's won't float free when the boat sinks and it's hard to hold the antenna correctly if you are swimming. But I think I'm like most people who keep the EPIRB in the cabin so some wave doesn't knock it over the side and I would activate it well before abandoning ship. A PLB would work just fine in a liferaft.

While a PLB is registered in the registration database to you not your vessel, there is an online updatable comments field in the database with enough room for the vessel name, description, documentation number and even cruising waters/plans.

A good PLB is still just over half the cost of a good EPIRB.
In Canada a PLB can be registered to a boat..
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Old 28-08-2015, 14:55   #29
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

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In Canada a PLB can be registered to a boat..

I think in the US as well, my old PLB was registered to my aircraft.


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Old 28-08-2015, 15:26   #30
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Re: Annapolis Boat Show - Deals on EPIRBs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
To go back to the original question of a good price on an EPIRB - and at some risk of re-starting an earlier EPRIB-PLB argument - I think the best way for you to save some money is to buy a PLB instead. I can think of no significant drawback for your cruising plans and waters. PLB's have the same transmit power (6.3w - although some are 5w), transmit the same data, use the same SARSAT database, and get the same SAR response. The difference is:

- A PLB only broadcasts for 24 hours instead of 48 hours but where you're cruising rescue responders would almost certainly get to you in less than 4 hours. And SAR gets a GPS fix on you in 15 minutes. They can calculate your drift if needed.

- PLB's won't float free when the boat sinks and it's hard to hold the antenna correctly if you are swimming. But I think I'm like most people who keep the EPIRB in the cabin so some wave doesn't knock it over the side and I would activate it well before abandoning ship. A PLB would work just fine in a liferaft.

While a PLB is registered in the registration database to you not your vessel, there is an online updatable comments field in the database with enough room for the vessel name, description, documentation number and even cruising waters/plans.

A good PLB is still just over half the cost of a good EPIRB.
Lots of good info here, thanks. I am also vaguely considering the idea of going for two PLBs so that we could each wear one our PFDs. If one of us gets knocked over, this obviously does a lot more good than an EPIRB that's attached to a bulkhead. If we are abandoning ship together, we've still got the same total transmit time (2 x 24 hours) if we stagger activation.

Back to EPIRBs:
There is an Aussie company called KTI that makes a model called the SA1g that is only $235 - EPIRB KTI SA1G-INTERNATIONAL GPS 406 MHz MMSI BEACON - SkippersMate

The problem is that just recently that website put up a notice stating that they are no longer available to American boats/buyers due to "programming changes." I've emailed the manufacturer to get more info but it may take a little time. I'll update when I know more.
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