Originally Posted by Zanshin
The DSC capable radio will send out a digital MAYDAY with accompanying digital GPS coordinates in the message. This will only go out to DSC radios (which commercial ships have) and it won't get lost if the operator happens to be on elsewhere when the emergency signal gets sent out - it triggers a very loud alarm on all DSC equipped radios and needs to be shut off manually. Unfortunately the standard limitations of VHF comunications apply and the other ship will have to be relatively close - plus your antenna still needs to be attached to the boat.
You mean that DSC is not mandatory in the US for pleasure coastal boats? It is on Europe for several years.
I guess that if you have a DSC radio, that is not very expensive (assuming that US has stations for the reception of the DSC signal) the Epirp is only a must have if you sail out of range of coastal stations. If not than a nice new radio with DSC (some even have AIS reception) can be the less expensive solution since a radio is a more polivalent tool. Anyway an Epirp is a very good security tool to have on board and contrary to the DSC radio it is one that you can take to the liferaft.
Well not here, where the portable radios cannot have DSC but they can have it and there are at least one with that capacity and that one you can take it to the liferaft. I know it because I have one of those, not on account of DSC that is disconnected but because it provides a back up GPS.