Please understand that nothing is a replacement for an EPIRB (specifically a GPS-enabled EPIRB, aka a "GPIRB"....)
Originally Posted by Arthurs2
Emergency personnel claim they were not contacted so I was just curious what actually transpires vs. a regular EPIRB which is direct.
Thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated - I think I will call both and scrutinize their processes.
a) BEFORE you buy a sat phone, tracker, etc. please understand that they are NOT EPIRB's and are NOT a substitute for an EPIRB....
(see details below and the links I'll add here for more details on EPIRB's!!!)
b) A handheld sat phone allows you to make phone calls, and/or low-speed data connections if so equipped/configured, when out in the open (NOT below decks, etc.)....
Adding a docking
station, external antenna
, etc. (which will cost you $500 - $750 more) will allow you to do this from below deck
The "emergency personnel" you speak of at SPOT and/or InReach might be good (but probably like many customer service personnel...you get the personnel you pay for), but they are NOT like the professionals manning the Rescue Coordination Centers of the USCG (and UK, French, Austrailan, New Zealand, etc.), nor do they have access to all the data / personnel / assests that the USCG, etc. have!!!
PLEASE, should you choose to buy / equip your vessel with emergency signaling device, do NOT rely on a sat phone as a substitute for a properly registered EPIRB!!!
c) An EPIRB (or more specifically a GPS-enabled EPIRB / GPIRB) is a worldwide rescue beacon....
PLEASE read over these pages to more fully understand what they do and how they work!!!
Here is a quick overview with links....
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds
SSCA Forum • View topic - EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds
And, another overview, directly from the horses mouth (Cospas- Sarsat)....
Cospas-Sarsat System Overview
Detailed Cospas-Sarsat System Description
Concept of Operations
And, here are the links to Beth Leonard's excellent article on EPIRB activations....
Activating an EPIRB | Cruising World
Best-Case SAR Scenario | Cruising World
d) And, finally understand that you MUST register your EPIRB!!!
Although obvious to anyone that understands the system and how it works, many EPIRB owners either forget to do so, or some just ignore this requirement out of ignorance...
Without proper registration
, even in the very best circumstances/scenarios, the search and rescue (SAR) operations will be seriously delayed!!! (and in some situations, particularly in 3rd world regions, there may not be any SAR operations at all, until/unless someone can "verify" that this is a "real" distress!!!)
Do you really want to be floating in the icy N. Atlantic for an extra 6 hours??? Or, treading water
for days in the middle of some remote
part of an ocean??? Just because you couldn't spend < 5 minutes registering your EPIRB!!
Also, unless/until you've established a voice contact with a rescuer, without a proper registration
anyone looking for you / trying to assist you in your distress has no idea what type of vessel you're on, nor what color it is, nor its size, nor whether you have liferafts/lifeboats, nor what communications equipment
you have, etc... NOT even the name of your boat
All they know is that a beacon has gone off, somewhere!!!
Have you ever tried calling a "nameless boat in distress" on the radio
, and not even knowing if he has a radio
EPIRB registration is free, and you can do it on-line, so PLEASE do it!! and keep it up-to-date!!!
And, there is plenty of room on the forms to include many phone numbers of "shore-side emergency contact"....I currently have EIGHT (8) phone numbers and THREE (3) different people listed on my EPIRB registration (not including my own name and numbers), so the RCC should be able to find someone that can confirm where I was sailing!!
(Having just renewed mine a couple a few months ago, I found the name and phone numbers of an old girlfriend of mine still listed there as some of my secondary contact numbers....haven't spoken to her in > 2 years, and I wonder if she's just tell the USCG to "let him drown!!"
Okay, she wouldn't do that, but she's certainly NOT someone that would have any up-to-date information about me / my voyage, so I corrected/updated the names/numbers for my emergency contact, so now all is good!!)
Arthur, I do hope this helps...
s/v Annie Laurie