Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?
For near coastal I think a PLB is a reasonable alternative at a much lower cost. A chartplotter/ais is nice, but only addresses one of many possible causes of being in an emergency. But the beacons can be used in other life saving situations, even when the boat isn't a loss. For instance if you happen to get rolled and loose your engine and rigging, a PLB is a good way to avoid the long slow drift across the Atlantic.
You also need to go over the maintenance list above, and install jacklines and harnesses. These and a emergency beacon do different but equally important jobs.