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post #1 of 8 Old 11-21-2007 Thread Starter
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Personal Locator Beacons

So I want one of those ACR 406MHz PLB's for Christmas. I do a lot of kayaking and backpacking in very remote areas where cellphones and VHF might not be useful. Does anyone have one of these? I really like the ResQFix as it is a bit smaller than the AquaFix. Any advice or experience is appreciated.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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I have an AquaFix that I use all the time when I'm sailing solo. Have never used thankfully but I feel a lot safer having it. I think with either one you can't go wrong and it's a wise investment.
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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The ACRs come highly rated, and I have an ACR EPIRB for the boat. The major differences between a PLB and an EPIRB are that the PLB is registered to a person, while the EPIRB is registered to a specific vessel/boat. Also, the battery broadcast time on an EPIRB is a minimum of 48 hours, and on the PLBs it is a minimum of 24 hours. One last difference is that EPIRBs have a built in strobe, which PLBs generally do not. IIRC, the PLBs also broadcast on 121.5 mHz for the SAR locator function, like the larger EPIRBs do...but not 100% sure on that. Get one with an integrated GPS if you can... cuts the rescue time down dramatically.

Finally, when mounting the PLB on your harness, make sure it is out of the water... they don't work very well if they're in the water, as the water tends to block the signal output.

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post #4 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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The ACRs come highly rated, and I have an ACR EPIRB for the boat. The major differences between a PLB and an EPIRB are that the PLB is registered to a person, while the EPIRB is registered to a specific vessel/boat. Also, the battery broadcast time on an EPIRB is a minimum of 48 hours, and on the PLBs it is a minimum of 24 hours. One last difference is that EPIRBs have a built in strobe, which PLBs generally do not. IIRC, the PLBs also broadcast on 121.5 mHz for the SAR locator function, like the larger EPIRBs do...but not 100% sure on that. Get one with an integrated GPS if you can... cuts the rescue time down dramatically.

Finally, when mounting the PLB on your harness, make sure it is out of the water... they don't work very well if they're in the water, as the water tends to block the signal output.
We get Velcro to our helmets and the EPIRB so they will stay out of the water. Good idea on the the 121.5 for SAR use. Also a signal mirror and smoke are very good additions. And remember one thing, if you are going to be hoisted to the helo let the hook touch the water (Or boat) BEFORE you grab it or you will be in for a shocking experience. Secure all things that can be blown by the rotors, ie the bimini, loose sails, the raft etc.

Jerry

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Last edited by jerryrlitton; 11-21-2007 at 01:48 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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Jerry-

Good point...the static electricity that helos can build up is pretty amazing... The Type I and Type V PFDs on my boat have strobes, whistles and rigging knives usually. I have to go through them a couple of times a season to make sure that they're still where they're supposed to be.

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post #6 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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Jerry-

Good point...the static electricity that helos can build up is pretty amazing... The Type I and Type V PFDs on my boat have strobes, whistles and rigging knives usually. I have to go through them a couple of times a season to make sure that they're still where they're supposed to be.
That is a very good idea, checking your equipment. Too many crews take it for granted that it will always be there and it will always work. Treat the equipment like it is cheap insurance because that is exactly what it is. Check batteries. As soon as they are even checked by a voltmeter there useful life begins to count down. Check expiration dates on medical, food items as well as the inspection dates on the other equipment.
More then likely when you get approached by a helo a rescue man (person) will one down to assist the operation. However if communication can be established prior to arrival the on scene commander will want to know the nature of the emergency. If you are taking on water a pump can be lowered down to the vessel. The pump will be mogas powered and will have it's fuel supply with it. Simple instructions for it's use. Also the commander will what to know about obstructions such a masts, antennas and such. That will dictate whether a on deck or from the water rescue will be attempted. Don't fight the rescue man and do not tie off the rescue line to the boat. Normally just one rescued person will ride the hoist back to the helo and it will have a rating of 600 lbs. Stay with the boat as long as possible and the saying about getting into the raft when you have to step UP into it is a good one.

One more thing I need to add is to thoroughly brief all of your passengers on the location and the use of the equipment. When your hands are full dealing with the situation is not the time to instruct them on the use of the equipment. Besides, you may be the one who needs rescuing right?

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Last edited by jerryrlitton; 11-21-2007 at 03:36 PM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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I have the ResQFix, and it seems pretty straightforward. I registered it online and took it to Portugal with me, but didn't need to wear it, sadly, because the sea was so calm...
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-21-2007
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It would really suck to fall from your boat and watch it vanish slowly over the horizon and you not with your EPIRB...We always wear ours. It is far better to have it and not need it then the inverse. (Rather like a firearm...OOPs)

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