Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard
OK, all those who have spent time in open water, not flat water but with at least a good chop, please raise your hands?
My time has been spent as a diver who sometimes popped back up a couple of hundred yards, or even just a hundred yards, from the boat. And I'll tell you, the folks who say "carry a whistle" can stick the whistle where the sun don't shine, because there's no whistle on this planet that can be heard 100 yards upwind.
Now, if I'm the MOB? Something I've managed to avoid but will admit have had some close calls with? I could be in that same scenario, 100 yards from the boat in whitecaps or 4' seas, and I can see the boat but the crew can't see me at all. Damned straight I think a VHF or even an FRS radio would be enough to let them know "I'm over HERE DUMMY". EPIRB? PLB? No, really, I don't want a massive SAR effort, I'd rather keep it small and quiet and just say "OVER HERE".
Alerting the crew, if I'm solo deck watch? No problem. For $50 you can buy a luggage theft fob, clip the fob on you, put the alarm below. If you get 50 feet from the alarm, it goes off. If you fall in the water and soak the fob and ruin it, the alarm still goes off. Fancy marine grade? No, and not a "locator" either, but it sure is a cheap way to let folks know Elvis has left the building and isn't happy about that.
There ARE solutions to a lot of this stuff. Yes, a nice IP-rated marine combo would be nice. Meanwhile, you can do some pretty fancy things on a budget that will give you a good chance in a simple MOB situation.
Like putting the MOB pole on the BACKSTAY so the helmsman can lift it and toss it without any help, without taking his eyes off the MOB if necessary. Poles aren't perfect but they sure beat the hell out of trying to paint a big red "X" in the water to start your search grid around.
I also keep meaning to pick up a dive sausage. Small packet, clips onto your shoulder. When inflated it becomes a dayglo tube about four feet tall and a couple of inches wide, which is MUCH easier to spot than the head in the water beneath it.