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post #25 of Old 10-30-2012
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

This is slightly OT, but related.....

For about 2X the money for a good handheld VHF you can now buy a personal AIS transmitter of a size that it can be packed in a PFD. For it to be of maximum use the MOB's boat will have to have AIS receiver, but if it does.....the AIS unit on the MOB will transmit lat/long, COG, SOG etc. to any AIS equipped vessel in radio range (advertised as 4 miles). That can also be a huge help in areas where there is merchant shipping. With such an AIS, even a single hander can have a higher chance of rescue because his position will be shown on any reciever in range as a MOB (not another vessel). Another feature that I think will work with a personal AIS is the activation of the alarm on the ship's AIS when a AIS transmitter pops up with in it's designated "danger circle". If a watch stander falls overboard at night when the rest of the crew is sleeping, his AIS transmitter should activate the AIS alarm on the boat's chartplotter. (The alarm on our Raymarine system is no annoying I usually have it turned off -- it will wake anyone from even the deepest sleep).

Here's a piece on the two units now available: AIS MOB: Kannad SafeLink R10 & McMurdo SmartFind S10 | Yachting Magazine

To me it seems that despite the higher cost (~$300) a personal AIS beacon is a lot more value for money than trying to carry a VHF so you can direct your own rescue, and more effective than the personal locator beacons that in most cases don't have a direct link to the boat.

I have AIS on Billy Ruff'n and it's one of the best pieces of kit I've bought. I'm considering adding these personal AIS units for the big trip we're planning for next year.

Does anyone out there have experience with these units?
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