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Old 08-10-2020, 13:14   #1
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2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Just bought a sailboat--1984 Pearson 386, and looking to upgrade some electronics...and Black Friday is approaching...

Wouldnt it make sense if a chartplotter doubled as an EPIRB? Do these exist--it makes too much sense not to. Id rather not buy a new chartplotter AND an EPIRB if I dont have to. I'm a new rookie sailor...so let me know if I'm missing something here.

Advanced thanks for any recommendations!!

Cheers, Matt
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Old 08-10-2020, 13:24   #2
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Sorry but no sense at all. You want an independent, removable, floating, rugged waterproof EPIRB that stays on the batteries for days and nights and chart plotter wouldn’t support any of that. You could save a lot by using Navionics on a phone or iPad especially for coastal sailing. For offshore you need to equip the boat and spend much more than these two units.
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Old 08-10-2020, 13:39   #3
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Why wouldnt you want this extra capability in a chartplotter since they both leverage GPS?

I understand some people want redundant systems. Wouldnt it be great if you had an EPIRB AND a Chartplotter that could serve as an EPIRB?

I dont see why a chartplotter couldnt be built to be removable, rugged, waterproof, and float. Maybe the bigger obstacle is making it last on battery power for days.

I'm impressed with the VHF handheld radio I bought--it's rugged, waterproof, floats, utilizes lithium batteries, DSC, and has a FM radio to boot.
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Old 08-10-2020, 19:49   #4
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

The two systems aren't compatible. A plotter would need additional weatherproofing, power redundancy and transmitters. An EPIRB would need a screen and touch interface. The GPS receiver itself is cheap, it isn't worth building a device around leveraging it for multiple purposes.
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Old 08-10-2020, 21:31   #5
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrogers23 View Post
Why wouldnt you want this extra capability in a chartplotter since they both leverage GPS?

I understand some people want redundant systems. Wouldnt it be great if you had an EPIRB AND a Chartplotter that could serve as an EPIRB?

I dont see why a chartplotter couldnt be built to be removable, rugged, waterproof, and float. Maybe the bigger obstacle is making it last on battery power for days.

I'm impressed with the VHF handheld radio I bought--it's rugged, waterproof, floats, utilizes lithium batteries, DSC, and has a FM radio to boot.
You have asked a legitimate question but I guess you may not get the exact purpose of EPIRB - it is for use in top level life threatening emergency only, including at abandon vessel cases. It has a built in GPS to automatically provide the ground station the exact location of the EPIRB. As such it must be as small and light as possible so that it can also be taken away from the boat, on body, if necessary, in dinghy, life raft, in water or in a remote island.
A Plotter, VHF, AIS, Radar are for a day to day normal and constant operation and use - none of these are based on satellite connectivity and range.
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:24   #6
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mroger... ACR does make an EPIRB that connects to your GPS so the unit always has your current GPS location. Normally, it'll take the EPRIB 15 minutes or so to lock onto 3 satellites to get it's position before sending the emergency signal. You have to remember, the EPRIB is not on all the time. It has a ten year battery (replace after 5 years), so it's normally off until you need to use it. It won't get a fix until you turn it on. Once it's on the unit tries to get a fix, then starts sending your emergency signal. There's no "menu" to operate.

However, the Globalfix iPro connects to your onboard CP so it always has your position fix and there is no delay in getting your position when it needs to be activated.

Safe Boating!
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:37   #7
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

I can also see a huge increase in EPIRB false alarms if one was built into my chartplotter. A standalone EPIRB basically never gets touched except to run the test cycle. A chartplotter gets touched all the time. How often do you think people would set off the built-in EPIRB accidentally while trying to (zoom the chart, center the view...)?
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:10   #8
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

The purpose of the EPIRB is signalling to the world that there is danger to your life.
Our EPIRB lives its daily life inside the grab bag to be deployed on the liferaft. It is far from this intended function to the function of the MFD used to plot and navigate.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:14   #9
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Not sure how useful a chartplotter is if you're in a life raft
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:32   #10
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrogers23 View Post
Why wouldnt you want this extra capability in a chartplotter since they both leverage GPS?

I understand some people want redundant systems. Wouldnt it be great if you had an EPIRB AND a Chartplotter that could serve as an EPIRB?

I dont see why a chartplotter couldnt be built to be removable, rugged, waterproof, and float. Maybe the bigger obstacle is making it last on battery power for days.

I'm impressed with the VHF handheld radio I bought--it's rugged, waterproof, floats, utilizes lithium batteries, DSC, and has a FM radio to boot.

Chartplotter would have to contain batteries for an internal EPIRB - a heavy and bulky addition without merit.

EPIRB is to be taken in liferaft if you need to abandon ship.

There's no reason to have a chartplotter in a liferaft. Where are you going? Chartplotter needs a large display, way too clumsy to take in liferaft and w/o lots of DC power it would be useless anyway.

GPS chips are inexpensive. Every device has one these days. Don't know if they do, but having GPS in the handheld VHF would be great - to work with the DSC distress call showing your position.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:48   #11
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

In this case, a CP only helps in getting your position fix faster. Many EPRIBS are built to be installed semi-permanently on the vessel. There is a mounting unit into which the EPIRB is installed. When the unit gets wet, EPIRB pops off and activates. Having the EPRIB connected to a CP in this case just means you gain 15-20 minutes in getting the S&R started.
Commercial fishermen and other commercial boats are required by CG regs to have EPIRBs permanently installed on the boat, not in a ditch bag. The intent is that if this unit gets wet, the ship is lost. The Capt grabs the EPIRB and the Ditch bag as the last resort when exiting the vessel. The CP and EPIRB are then disconnected from each other and the EPIRB has a head-start on doing it's job because it's already transmitting!
The EPIRB continues to transmit position data as long as it's on, so the "cavalry" can track you. Plus, the unit transmits a signal on VHF, so that the rescue folks can find you with Radio Direction Finder when they get close.
Great kit if you sail offshore! Almost a necessity if you're 50 miles or more offshore!
If you think you need GPS, etc when jumping ship get a handheld unit from Garmin and keep that in the ditch bag with several blister packs of batteries!

Good Sailing

PS. And as Waterman says, getting a handheld VHF with GPS onboard, about $200 today, is also a great idea in your ditch bag, because these radios also have DSC onboard and you can communicate with the Rescue Team when they're enroute!
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Old 10-10-2020, 06:55   #12
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

If your floating in the ocean (drifting) probably don't have much need for a plotter. The rescue services will know where you are and basically immaterial if you know (as far as EPIRB use is concerned).


Two other problems that I see.
1. Cost. The tech standards for EPIRB's is necessarily high. To build a plotter to the same standards would be expensive (think military laptops for the field).

2. Energy. Screens use a high amount of energy. Even with modern batteries you don't see devices that can have the screen on for extended periods (days).
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Old 10-10-2020, 08:08   #13
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Re: 2 in 1 Chartplotter/EPIRB--does this exist?

Furthermore. In my abandon ship pack there is always an older backup sealed/rugged case fully charged iPhone with downloaded Navionics and two 40A/h battery banks. - that’s in addition to the one to carry in pocket at any time.

The IridiumGo will also be taken in a sealed case.

Sorry MFD, you’re staying on board.
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