Dunno how I missed this in the Sydney Morning Herald only a few days ago - just busy I guess - but there's a warning in there for all of us.
I guess it's that if you're in trouble, use an EPIRB - don't relay on the radio.
If I have understood currectly in the States, to sail offshore, or even to cross the Atlantic you will not need a license (that says you are able to do the job) nor any kind of mandatory equipment on the boat.
On most countries in Europe you need an offshore license (that you can only get after getting 3 or more other more basic licenses), you need a certified boat for offshore work (EC class A) and a mandatory requirement on equipment that include offshore liferaft, Epirb and a way of receiving long distance weather reports and (even if it is not mandatory on all countries) you need an insured boat (the marinas will nhot accept you if you do not have an insurance).
You can say that this takes away personal freedom... but who is going to pay for the search and rescue?
If we allow that badly prepared boats and sailors to do what they want in the future the freedom will finish for the rest of us. The costs of search and rescue operations are raising in such a way that it is a question of time that the contributors start to ask: Why am I paying a lot to allow some mad guys to do a dangerous thing?
It is absolutlly irresponsible to allow a boat offshore without am Epirb. It is dangerous to the sailors (and that it is their business) but will also make any search and rescue a very complicated and expensive affair, and that should also concern the ones that are paying that.