Originally Posted by giant
I did a search on cruisersforum and the internet
that was not very helpful so thought I would put it to the collective minds of Cruisersforum. The technology is constantly changing also.
Skipper has told me I need to buy the thing pronto and register it etc before this Saturdays race
Not looking for bells and whistles. Must be waterproof, probably should float and have a GPS fitted. Looking for value as I am not too flush with $$$. Size is important to me and in this case smaller is better. Battery quality, capacity and efficiency?
I am assuming you are only asking about a PLB [like a personal EPIRB] per your subject line and not lumping other MOB
signaling devices under that acronym. [e.g., AIS/DSC signaling devices.]
Therefore I will discuss our PLB choices [which we also carry on land expeditions] and I will also mention our MOB
alert choices as well just in case that is of interest.
We started with ACR ResQLink+
[floating] units on our offshore
harness/vests. They are very sturdy [i.e., it would be difficult to break it under normal circumstances...] and are easily deployed [i.e., they don't require much thinking if one is in a jumbled state-of-mind or injured...] These have a 5 year battery life.
We find we need to keep the ResQLink+ in a tight fitting neoprene case because it is easy to accidentally deploy the antenna
. This adds one more step to the activate process: remove from case first.
We had one of our ResQLink+ PLBs vacuum packed with the liferaft
and replaced it with a PLB1
from Ocean Signal because I liked the smaller form factor and the 7 year battery life.
The trade-off for the PLB1 is it must be 'wearing' the included neoprene case in order to float, and one must remember to manually deploy the antenna. [simple- like pulling out an 8 inch measuring tape...] The point being you must remember to do so or the signal won't have an antenna to transmit from...
The PLB1 does not need to be removed from the case to deploy the antenna.
Bottom line: If I didn't have a PLB I would buy the PLB1 for the form factor [when attached to our offshore harness/vest combos. We use an add-on Spinlock pocket attached to our Spinlock vests to hold the PLB.]
You can't go wrong either way from my experience.
I should mention our PLBs are for worse case scenarios in a MOB situation. [e.g., You wake up floating in the water
and there is no other vessel in site...]
Other devices we carry on our offshore vests:
In addition to a PLB we also each have a portable DSC VHF Radio
and auto-activating AIS MOB transmitter
attached to our vests. Everything is waterproof and has built-in GPS.
Philosophically, we don't intend to have batteries
replaced in our PLBs or AIS transmitters when they expire. We think of these items as disposable technology that will be replaced by the next, smaller, better, device(s) with more features in one form factor. [e.g., VHF DSC
and AIS is already available in one unit in the MOB1
from Ocean Signal, and without hesitation this is what I would buy today to replace our AIS only MOB alert devices.]
Therefore to be fully covered, today I would buy these two items: a PLB and a DSC/AIS MOB alert device.
For us a VHF radio
is also a requirement as communication with the rescue
party is typically lacking, and can be very useful if conditions permit
. It is also a 3rd MOB alert device...
Have fun on your adventure, and be safe!