Hand signals get my vote.
I realise that most members consider that the main purpose of this forum is to encourage others to join them in buying
stuff, but the topic of this thread includes "inexpensive" as well as "gizmos".
Inexpensive unnecessary stuff, when it comes to electronics
, can infest a boat almost as comprehensively as cockroaches, if we let it gain a foothold.
And in the marine environment
, the words "inexpensive, electronic, and reliable"
seem to me pretty much a "pick any two" proposition....
Hand signals work regardless of wind
strength, or battery
state of charge. Cheap
microphones are almost useless with 30 knots blowing across them, and expensive ones still have limitations in strong winds.
- - - -
is occasionally a last-ditch, single
chance response to an emergency
: say your engine
stops when you're passing on the upwind side of a wicked reef...
You don't have to race
below and hunt around the saloon
for hand signals, they're always close to hand.
What's more, they foster a degree of focus, and thinking carefully about what you want to communicate, which go well with anchoring
, to my mind.
- - - -
I had to anchor
once in a semi-emergency, when we wrapped a rope
around the prop in storm force winds, with a shipping
channel directly to leeward and a small boy as my only crew.
I devised a system of hand signals on the spot which he understood and followed to perfection: it was better than having an adult, because my signals were totally prescriptive, and it meant he did exactly what I'd ave done if I had been able to be in both places at once.
He didn't have to understand or agree, just "do"....
My signals were simply arm positions: if in the horizontal plane, it told him where to put the tiller; in the vertical plane, it told him where to put the engine
control. In both cases, until further notice.
Headsets, no matter how clear the audio, would have been no use at all.
Many if not most adults would consider this degree of spoonfeeding to be insulting... and with some justification, but that's another story.