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Old 24-02-2021, 01:58   #1
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Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

Wonder if people have both epirb and plb?

If so what model are they using ? And the best price ?

For coastal sailing say 50 to 100 miles offshore would plb be sufficient ?

Can Garmin inreach replace a plb ?

Thanks !
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Old 24-02-2021, 02:06   #2
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

There is a lot of discussion on this in the archives, if you care to have a trawl through them. To answer your questions:


1. Many people, myself included, use both EPIRB and PLB. EPIRB has several advantages over PLB, including especially battery life, but PLB has one killer advantage over EPIRB -- you can have it on your person at all times, reducing the risk that you will get separated from it in case of an unexpected disaster.


2. Best price -- I have no idea -- you can do your own shopping.


3. In my opinion, for coastal sailing less than 100 miles offshore, a PLB is entirely sufficient.


4. No, a Garmin InReach absolutely cannot replace a PLB.
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Old 24-02-2021, 02:16   #3
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

To clarify

By best price I do not mean the current price. I can do my own shopping.

What I meant was the histirical price people paid.

The price usually comes down a lot.
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Old 24-02-2021, 02:23   #4
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

Depends somewhat on what country you are in.

E.G. in Australia, you must have an EPIRB if you venture more than two miles offshore.
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Old 24-02-2021, 02:29   #5
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

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Depends somewhat on what country you are in.

E.G. in Australia, you must have an EPIRB if you venture more than two miles offshore.

Yes, Australia is a unique (AFAIK) case of a country without seamless SAR coverage by VHF/DSC in the coastal areas, so inshore Australian waters are, uniquely (AFAIK) GMDSS Sea Area A3.
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Old 24-02-2021, 03:41   #6
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
To clarify

By best price I do not mean the current price. I can do my own shopping.

What I meant was the histirical price people paid.

The price usually comes down a lot.

EPIRBs and PLBs are not like mobile phones or laptops, with new models or new technology coming out ever year, so the prices are quite stable. The price of EPIRBs has fallen slowly over the last 20 years but slowly. I think I paid about £375 for my Ocean Signal one, two years ago. PLB's cost between £200 and £300. I use an ACR ResQLink+ which I bought in the States 7 or 8 years ago (so due for battery replacement) for I think $250 or $275. The price is approximately the same now.


Pay attention to battery life -- battery replacement is often an end of life event for these devices since the cost is often more than half of the price of a new one. I like the Ocean Signal one because the battery life is fully 10 years.
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Old 24-02-2021, 04:09   #7
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

We have an Eprib, Plb and AIS/DSC Sart.

The Eprib is mounted near the companionway and is the primary Ah Sh*t ask for rescue device.
The Plb is packed in the liferaft should we ever take to the liferaft without being able to grab the Eprib. The 'personal' in Plb is a bit of a misnomer for marine applications. In most cases Eprib/Plb rescue takes too long to save someone in the water. So for an Mob situation, having a Plb is not very useful. The Sart that alerts the vessel you fell off of and is trackable locally is far more likely to end in success.

In the US there are often good discounts offered during the year. We bought the Eprib with a buy one and get the Plb free.

As DH mentioned above, battery life is an important factor. The cost of replacing along with the difficulty of air shipping makes replacement often more practical. In addition the newer devices have superior features.
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Old 24-02-2021, 05:39   #8
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
We have an Eprib, Plb and AIS/DSC Sart.

The Eprib is mounted near the companionway and is the primary Ah Sh*t ask for rescue device.
The Plb is packed in the liferaft should we ever take to the liferaft without being able to grab the Eprib. The 'personal' in Plb is a bit of a misnomer for marine applications. In most cases Eprib/Plb rescue takes too long to save someone in the water. So for an Mob situation, having a Plb is not very useful. The Sart that alerts the vessel you fell off of and is trackable locally is far more likely to end in success.

In the US there are often good discounts offered during the year. We bought the Eprib with a buy one and get the Plb free.

As DH mentioned above, battery life is an important factor. The cost of replacing along with the difficulty of air shipping makes replacement often more practical. In addition the newer devices have superior features.

PLB packed in the life raft is a good idea.



In fact, so good that I think I will steal it. We spend a lot of money and do a lot of sweating over flares for the life raft, and have nightmares after reading the books about people who spent weeks in their liferafts because they couldn't be found and couldn't get the attention of passing ships, but I think any kind of COSPARS device is the killer app here, and if you have a PLB in the raft then it's not the end of the world if you don't manage to grab anything else when you get in.


As it happens I need to service both of my life rafts this year. I think I will replace the battery in my ResQLink+ and pack that into my primary liferaft. Then I'll buy a new one to keep on my person.


I am paranoid about this because I have been, and plan to be again, in waters where rescue is far, far away. Emergency comms is key to getting rescued out of remote places.


What I would like to think I will have if God forbid I ever have to abandon ship:


1. PLB packed in the liferaft (thanks for the idea, Paul L).
2. Conventional flares packed in the liferaft, including serious professional grade rocket flares.
3. Laser flare packed in the liferaft (in my opinion not equivalent to and does not replace pyrotechnic flares, but really useful for the last couple of miles for visual confirmation of your location).


On my person:
1. PLB
2. AIS/DSC SART (primarily for MOB but I think could also be extremely useful in the liferaft, giving strong alert with exact position to passing ships within 15-20 miles at least).


In the grab bag:
1. EPIRB
2. More pyrotechnic flares, like, a bunch of rocket flares.

3. Handheld DSC VHF radio with battery tray and a large supply of dry batteries.


Does it seem like overkill? If the S ever hits the Fan in some of the places I sail, like the Arctic Ocean, I would not like to take any chances.
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Old 24-02-2021, 09:11   #9
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

We have an ACR EPIRB, requires new battery, which means taking it in to a designated repair facility (fortunately one is local). Given the expected cost of a new battery (TBD), we are thinking of getting a new EPIRB, with user-replaceable battrry AND 10-year life (old EPIRB only 5 yrs).

We are planning some walking/hiking (off the boat) in very isolated areas, no boats or anything anywhere nearby. So we are also considering a PLB.
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Old 24-02-2021, 11:03   #10
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

For perspective, and EPIRB is registered to the vessel; a PLB is registered to a person.

EDIT: Upon rereading my own blog post on this topic, I was reminded of this article detailing the differences between EPIRBs and PLBs...

US compliant EPIRBS must automatically activate when floating in water. [Not so in other international jurisdictions, but I do not have a difinitive list.]

We have both onboard as we also explore on land in remote places.

For reference, our inventory includes 2 EPIRBS; 3 PLBs [one per person- carried on the PFD (along with AIS POB beacons) with a 3rd PLB vacuum packed in our life raft the last two recertifications- just in case...]

If you also want an SOS beacon you can use on land, and only want one, get a PLB. If you spend a lot of time on your boat and plan to venture far, get an EPIRB.

Note: All of the above are useless if not properly registered [and renewed as required] with the appropriate entity in the country of registration. [NOAA for US registered EPIRBS and PLBs...]

In case this sponsors more food for thought.

Cheers! Bill

PS: No, a SMS satellite device properly registered with GEOS is no substitute for the above beacons, but is certainly better than nothing...

PPS: All of the above devices have published valid testing protocols so you can make sure they work as they are supposed to. [We test annually.] Most [now all?] testing requires coordinating with the device agency of registration before performing a 'live' test.
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Old 24-02-2021, 11:11   #11
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

[QUOTE=
Pay attention to battery life -- battery replacement is often an end of life event for these devices since the cost is often more than half of the price of a new one. I like the Ocean Signal one because the battery life is fully 10 years.[/QUOTE]

I have both an EPIRB and a PLB. The EPIRB is easily accessible by the wheel in the pilot house and the PLB is in my ditch bag.

Dockhead - thanks for the reminder on the batteries. Both of my units are old and I need to check their age.

Al, S/V Finlandia
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Old 24-02-2021, 11:11   #12
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
Wonder if people have both epirb and plb?

If so what model are they using ? And the best price ?

For coastal sailing say 50 to 100 miles offshore would plb be sufficient ?

Can Garmin inreach replace a plb ?

Thanks !
We have an epirb and an old spare epirb with new batteries in our grab bag.
Recently added garmin inreach gpsmap 81i instead of plb. Garmin floats waterproof and has global sos capability , on top of that two way sms communication with rescue center and anyone else in the world. Very usefull when out of reach of vhf radio or in a liferaft...
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Old 24-02-2021, 11:17   #13
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

A few year's ago, a friend , with three other's were motoring from Santa Barbara to the channel island's to do some night diving in a open boat, being dark, they didn't see a wave coming that swamped the boat, and sunk, they had time to grab their wet suit's, and put them on, the owner had a PLB, which was activated, a Chopper arrived about 45 minute's later, along with a coast Guard vessel later, all was rescued, a conversation ensued later, they were told, it was the first time a rescue at Night saved the crew, any before were found drowned, interestingly enough, they were told it took so long to lift off at LAX, due to commercial traffic. [what's that about /].
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Old 24-02-2021, 11:22   #14
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

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interestingly enough, they were told it took so long to lift off at LAX, due to commercial traffic. [what's that about /].

Depending on how much traffic and where / doing what, it may take a few minutes to get them all out of the way safely.
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Old 24-02-2021, 11:39   #15
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Re: Advice epirb plb whats everyone using

many PLB and EPRIBs use the same technology to alert rescue and the main difference is battery life. Since 2 PLBs have the same battery life as 1 EPIRB and 2 PLBs are cheaper, I don't really see any great advantage to EPIRBs. We carried PLBs for everyone on the boat, 4. and no EPIRB. If you have to pick one or the other due to cost, I think PLBs are safer than having people on watch without a PLB and an EPIRB on board.
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