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Old 29-04-2014, 08:54   #1
RDW
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Man Overboard Devices

I know that the main effort is to keep everyone from going overboard. I have the usual safety gear to satisfy offshore racing rules (done Caribbean 1500 twice). I recently watched a video of a man overboard on a professional race boat. They lost visual of the MOB and searched for about an hour before recovering him 4 miles from where they thought he was. The main aid in finding him was the use of a personal AIS device. It appears that he did not set it off at first. I honestly only read it once and not detailed.
So here is the question, what high tech extra device would you add to your boat?
As I see it, my choices are personal epirb, personal AIS beacon, hand held VHF radio. None of these appear to be water activated for what ever reason. The personal AIS can be fitted in some way on certain PFDs to activate with the action of inflation of the vest.
Right now I am leaning toward a hand held VHF. ICOM has one that is waterproof, has a GPS built in and has DSC.
Give me your thoughts.
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Old 29-04-2014, 09:28   #2
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Re: man over board devices

To clarify, the person who has gone overboard is holding the hand-held device? Which would mean every person has to hold their own device at all times, as you never know who is going to go overboard when.

I must have missed something.
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Old 29-04-2014, 09:30   #3
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Re: man over board devices

A topic similar to this was beaten to death recently...

To answer your question specifically, Raymarine's Lifetag is either water activated or whenever the device is 10m or more away from its base. It will automatically sound an alarm to alert people on board, will deactivate the autopilot, and will place an MOB icon with GPS coordinates on the chart plotter of the location where and when the device was first set off.

To improve the chances of recovery and assuming the MOB has remained conscious, he/she should also have with him an AIS device which is manually activated, and will help the on-board crew locate him/her as he/she will have likely drifted a substantial distance from the original overboard location as indicated by the Raymarine lifetag.

I guess that the next device improvement will be Lifetag and AIS "all in one" ...
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Old 29-04-2014, 09:40   #4
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Re: man over board devices

Interesting question.

The very first thing I would add to my collection of safety equipment,when thinking about MOB, would be a very, very loud whistle for my life jacket. Not the crappy one they come with. Try them out and buy the one that rips your ears off.

Since that would only cost me a few bucks, I'd have lots of money left over for technology. I understand there is a combo personal locator beacon (epirb) and AIS coming out in the near future. When it does, I'm on it. I feel both these devices greatly aid in recovery; one by calling local help, the other by calling global help.

I think nowadays it's the technology you have with you that will truly save your life (besides a well-outfitted, tethered life jacket with that very loud whistle).
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Old 29-04-2014, 09:42   #5
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Re: man over board devices

Personally, for close range, I think a strobe light is just as affective as an AIS device, and it's immediate. The flash of a white strobe is easy to see with just a visual scan! Whereas, an AIS, the crew has to goto the electronics and do the search on a display. For long distance, yeah AIS would be the life saver.

In Vietnam we use to carry little pen flares that fit right in the shirt pocket. A waterproof version of that would be good too.

As for VHF/GPS I carry a Standard Horizon portable in the ditch bag right next to the spare batteries for the inReach.

Water activation can be a problem in rough wet conditions. It's a variable system that doesn't really know what's happening.
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Old 29-04-2014, 09:51   #6
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

AIS SART in my view is the only useful MOB. Because its the only system that gives you updating directions to the MOB. Strobes are fine at night, but useless in the day and you can quickly loose a head in the water in any wave conditions.

Life tag is fine, but theres no position update

personal EPIRBs aka PLBs are virtually useless, as the SAR delays in mounting a rescue , or even trying to contact them or you( the boat), Mean that in all but tropical water, the MOB will be dead from hypothermia first. Its a body retrieval system.


If you want water activated http://seamob-ais.com does a whole range of AIS SARTS , including water activated




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Old 29-04-2014, 09:57   #7
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Re: man over board devices

Liunatic,
I would probably have two hand held VHF for any two people on watch at any time. Whatever device like that you would use would have to be attached to the person that you want to protect. "every person has to hold their own device at all times," I would not have them attach any device to their sleeping wear.
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Old 29-04-2014, 10:07   #8
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

Unless you sail in tropical waters, I would humbly suggest that a DSC VHF is a poor MOB system. Firstly the standby battery life is poor, hence they will spend a lot of time being charged. Secondly anyone suffering "cold shock" can find it extremely difficult to focus and operate small knobs and buttons and almost often find it impossible to talk coherently.

You are most likely to find that a VHF is not been carried just when its needed.


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Old 29-04-2014, 10:17   #9
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Re: man over board devices

Delmarrey,
I already have a strobe attached to each PFD. I even went so far as to make a hood for each PFD out of reflective material with a pocket to put the strobe in, so it was at the top of the head. I have thought about having some sort of way to have the strobe higher, if the mob was able to hold something like an inflatable tube. Thanks for your reply
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Old 29-04-2014, 10:27   #10
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

I think the personal AIS devices are probably most useful too. From a small boat it becomes really difficult to keep a visual location on someone's head in the water from even 100 yards away; and they need to be recovered in a very short timeframe.

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Old 29-04-2014, 10:29   #11
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

Goboatingnow
From the little I know, the MOB could push the distress DSC which I think would be received by the boat main VHF, sounding an alarm. The radio I looked at had GPS which would send the location with the DSC distrss message, all going to any boat in range, only about 4 miles. I think the battery life was 8-10 hours but you are right , you have to make a habit of charging and making people wear it on teh PFD.
I have been pretty good about getting people to wear their PFDs and tethers at night and in iffy weather.
It just amazed me about this professional sailing team, well equiped, taking an hour and teh MOB being 4 miles away.
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Old 29-04-2014, 10:31   #12
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Re: man over board devices

every person has to hold their own device at all times,
Can anyone direct me to this. I searched before starting.
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Old 29-04-2014, 10:32   #13
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

I, too, am thinking of getting some AIS MOB SARTs for the crew.

Our PFDs all have strobes attached, but in any moderate swell the MOB would be hidden behind a wave even as close as 50 yards away. If another crew member is immediately aware of the MOB, they could toss the pole, which stands 8' high and would be visible within a few hundred yards. Otherwise, even with a strobe, it would be hard to see a MOB over any distance in anything other than calm seas.

Products like the McMurdo S20/Kannad R10 can be setup to automatically activate upon activation of some models of inflatable PFD. Others, like the SeaMOB MW+, can automatically activate on submersion with water -- although at twice the price of the McMurdo/Kannad. I'm inclined to get twice as many McMurdos and afix them to the PFDs instead of half as many SeaMOBs that get handed from one crew to another when transitioning watch.

One thing I don't know, and perhaps others could help with, is how the MOB appears on the AIS display. I have a Simarad A150. I believe that there is an alternate message type (14?) used for safety related broadcasts -- but I'm not sure if the older A150 shows it or whether it triggers the collision alert alarm Does anyone with an A150 have experience with a McMurdo/Kannad?
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Old 29-04-2014, 10:35   #14
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDW View Post
Goboatingnow
From the little I know, the MOB could push the distress DSC which I think would be received by the boat main VHF, sounding an alarm. The radio I looked at had GPS which would send the location with the DSC distrss message, all going to any boat in range, only about 4 miles. I think the battery life was 8-10 hours but you are right , you have to make a habit of charging and making people wear it on teh PFD.
I have been pretty good about getting people to wear their PFDs and tethers at night and in iffy weather.
It just amazed me about this professional sailing team, well equiped, taking an hour and teh MOB being 4 miles away.

Through they could use the distress, interestingly theres no legal way at present to have a different MMSI in the VHF handhelds ( for international use)

the other issue is that the DSC position is a once off. You really need an updating position.
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Old 29-04-2014, 11:19   #15
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Re: Man Overboard Devices

I think the gold standard is a PLB carried by every person with a RDF antenna on the boat capable of locating that signal. So far as I know the installed RDF antenna start at around $1,000 plus the cost of the PLB's so it's an expensive option, but far and away the best.

After that would be AIS systems. They don't have the range or reliability of the PLB systems, but are less expensive and more common.
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