Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?
A few thoughts come to mind.
A lone fisherman fell off his boat between Block Island and Point Judith this past summer and had no way to signal he was in the water. His boat ran ashore, which is the only way anyone knew to look. He treaded water for something like 10 hours before he was found and this is a heavily trafficked area, with water temps over 70 degrees. If you were in the 50 deg water off Maine, you would not live more than a few hours, even wearing a PFD. So, for starters, you always clip in. But, if you had to abandon ship, you just can't tread long in 50 deg water.
For a coastal passage, within VHF range of the USCG, I would probably choose a liferaft and ditchbag over an EPIRB, if I was forced to choose. Acknowledging this is even more expensive. The ditchbag should have a GPS enabled VHF radio with spare batteries and plenty of signal devices. Even with the EPIRB, you would probably die treading water before the system confirmed it wasn't a false alarm and actually got a rescue boat to you. You need to be in a raft.
Beyond hitting something, you may lose the boat to an electrical fire or a thru hull letting go. Maybe you could deal with these before you abandoned ship. Maybe not.
Despite the in-law's concern, you need something. I was sure to have all the above when we did our Maine trip.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Last edited by Minnewaska; 11-25-2012 at 08:33 AM.