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post #1 of 5 Old 03-19-2013 Thread Starter
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PLBs: AIS or GPS

I've been looking at a PLB to clip to my life jacket. They seem to come in 2 varieties - AIS or GPS. AIS will show on an AIS receiver, GPS will notify the CG.

Assuming you have AIS on your boat, which would you want for coastal cruising?
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-22-2013
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Re: PLBs: AIS or GPS

You stumped the group, Joel. I did not see any AIS PLBs while shopping. I did buy a waterproof, floating, compact ACR PLB 406 GPS-based from Defender on sale for $261. Don't think you can beat that for coastal cruising.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: PLBs: AIS or GPS

Jim

They are out there:
McMurdo SmartFind S20 SRS Personal AIS.

Went with another unit on closeout: GME AccuSat 406 Pocket Pro PLB $179.

Hope all is well.

Joel
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-22-2013
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Re: PLBs: AIS or GPS

Wow, that is an amazing price for a PLB!
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-22-2013
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Re: PLBs: AIS or GPS

The McMurdo SmartFind is not a PLB. It is a personal AIS transmitter. Really a different animal altogether, that performs a completely different function.

A PLB sends a "mayday" with your position to orbiting satellites, from which it is relayed to search and rescue resources (in the U.S., typically the Coast Guard). An AIS device sends out an AIS signal, which is VHF/line of sight, and will only be picked up by boats nearby who are monitoring AIS. Both can, and usually do, have a GPS receiver built into them.

The PLB is intended for general emergency signalling, when you want to call someone to come and help you. The AIS device is intended to help your own boat, or another one nearby, locate and rescue you if you fall overboard.

So, the question is, do you want to summon the Coast Guard, or do you want to help the person left on your boat find you when you fall overboard? The answer tells you which device you need. It would be nice if both functions were combined into one, small, reasonably-priced device. So far as I know, though, no one is selling such a device to the public as of yet.

Personally, I would get the PLB (and have, in fact).

edit: Ah! And I see that you did.

Last edited by denverd0n; 03-22-2013 at 02:14 PM.
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