Two PLB's or One EPIRB? - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 06-30-2009
MedSailor's Avatar
Closet Powerboater
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Anacortes PNW
Posts: 2,335
Thanks: 55
Thanked 47 Times in 39 Posts
Rep Power: 7
MedSailor is on a distinguished road
Two PLB's or One EPIRB?

PLBs are not EPIRBs but they sure are close in my view. I also don't like having a big of life-saving gear that is nearly impossible to test and no spare. To be honest I'm not that big a fan of beacons in general, but if I were to consider one here are my thoughts:

These days as the price of PLBs goes down rapidly as their quality climbs, the prices of EPIRBs hasn't changed that much. It now appears that you can afford to get 2 high quality PLBs with GPS built in for the price of one EPIRB.

Here's an example of a good unit for $300
McMurdo Fast Find PLB - Initial Evaluation - EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm)

It seems to me the advantages of having 2 are endless. You could pack one in your liferaft and keep the other handy. Each of the crew (of 2) could have one attached to their person. One could be in the abandon ship bag, the other with the on-deck on-watch person. etc. Even having the two of them in the abandon ship bag would be a great piece of mind as you have twice as much likelihood of one of them working.

Conventional wisdom goes against departing a floating boat, but if for some reason you did take to your raft and the boat was still afloat you could leave one beacon on board and take one in the raft. This way the boat could be salvaged and would not present near the hazard to navigation.

BTW: here is a link to a service that will test your EPIRB/PLB.
Satellite Testing of Your 406 MHz Beacon Has Arrived | Doug Ritter’s Equipped.org Blog

MedSailor
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 06-30-2009
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
A couple of problems with this. First, PLBs are not EPIRBs, and should not be used in their place IMHO. EPIRBs are registered to the boat, and will have the boat's description associated with it. EPIRBs have a longer run time and will give you more of a chance of being rescued in the middle of the ocean.

A PLB left on a boat isn't a proper way to track it, since they usually will only run 24 hours or so. If your boat is in the middle of an ocean, I seriously doubt that you'd be able to be rescued and get a salvage operation back to the boat before the PLB's battery died. Also, a normal sailor will have no way of tracking an EPIRB, either would ships near it... so it wouldn't prevent it from being a hazard to navigation and wouldn't help you track it at all.

Also, your idea of moving the PLBs around, means that you could also possibly end up with no EPIRB or PLB in the ditch bag when the boat has to be abandoned... that's really bright, isn't it......

A much better idea is to have an EPIRB and a PLB—the EPIRB is stowed in the ditch bag, and the PLB is carried by whomever is on night watch. This would allow the EPIRB to be used for medical emergencies as well as in the case you have to abandon ship, while providing the PLB for the on-deck watch. It also gives you TWO devices in the case of abandoning ship.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 06-30-2009
MedSailor's Avatar
Closet Powerboater
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Anacortes PNW
Posts: 2,335
Thanks: 55
Thanked 47 Times in 39 Posts
Rep Power: 7
MedSailor is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
A couple of problems with this. First, PLBs are not EPIRBs, and should not be used in their place IMHO. EPIRBs are registered to the boat, and will have the boat's description associated with it. EPIRBs have a longer run time and will give you more of a chance of being rescued in the middle of the ocean.

A PLB left on a boat isn't a proper way to track it, since they usually will only run 24 hours or so. If your boat is in the middle of an ocean, I seriously doubt that you'd be able to be rescued and get a salvage operation back to the boat before the PLB's battery died. Also, a normal sailor will have no way of tracking an EPIRB, either would ships near it... so it wouldn't prevent it from being a hazard to navigation and wouldn't help you track it at all.

Also, your idea of moving the PLBs around, means that you could also possibly end up with no EPIRB or PLB in the ditch bag when the boat has to be abandoned... that's really bright, isn't it......

A much better idea is to have an EPIRB and a PLB—the EPIRB is stowed in the ditch bag, and the PLB is carried by whomever is on night watch. This would allow the EPIRB to be used for medical emergencies as well as in the case you have to abandon ship, while providing the PLB for the on-deck watch. It also gives you TWO devices in the case of abandoning ship.
EPIRBs are registered to the boat, yes but PLBs are registered as well. Get found with Fast Find - The 406 MHz Personal Location Beacon (PLB) Do you think the registry bit would help you get a quicker rescue?

Is the run time of an EPIRB longer than 2 PLBs? The way I read the specs a PLB is required to broadcast for 24hrs, and EPIRB 48. The 2 PLBs allow you to transmit for 24hrs, then wait 24-48, then transmit again for another 24hrs. Thereby increasing the window of transmission time significantly. Or just for 48hrs straight, as long as an EPIRB. It might be a bonus to the morale of the rescue center to see you "activate" another one. That way they know you're alive and they're not chasing a hydrostatically released buoy.

To clarify I wasn't suggesting moving PLBs all over the boat. I was suggesting several possibilities where the 2 of them could be stowed/used.

I agree that a PLB isn't a "proper" way to track a boat, but in the hypothetical scenario mentioned the other option would be to abandon the boat with NO beacon, taking the EPIRB with you in the raft. I would think that 24hrs of drift data would provide a pretty good start for a dead reckoning plot and salvage. I do think that even though ships in the area can't receive a 406mhz signal directly they could receive it as a notice to mariners. After all the rescue center can contact them to rescue you right?

I wouldn't argue that an EPIRB and a PLB is a better option, but my point was "for the price of...". A better option still is 2 or even 3 EPIRBs. My budget doesn't allow that though.

MedSailor
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by MedSailor; 06-30-2009 at 11:31 PM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 07-01-2009
Valiente's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 5,491
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Valiente has a spectacular aura about Valiente has a spectacular aura about
If you plan to stay with the boat, get one EPIRB. If you plan on using a life raft, get one EPIRB. If you have made your tender into a liferaft...well, you get the picture.

A PLB is what it says: personal. It's meant to find you (or your body) when someone else has lived to alert the authorities, although obviously a solo sailor falling off a boat wouldn't have this luxury. Its broadcast time is limited, much like your time in the water unless you are in the tropics without sharks and with a sturdy PFD, or in a survival suit anywhere else. Even 80F water can eventually induce hypothermia...it just takes longer.

This is why I think of PLBs more like "super flares" rather than "junior EPIRBs". They are great at getting the attention (hey, down here!) of copters and SAR people if they already have a good idea where to look, whereas you could float for days in the South Pacific with a folded mast, a sheared-off rudder but with a working EPIRB before a ship diverts to intercept you, a thousand miles beyond any hope of land-based SAR services.
__________________
Can't sleep? Read my countdown to voyaging blog @
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 07-01-2009
blt2ski's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 6,644
Thanks: 0
Thanked 18 Times in 17 Posts
Rep Power: 10
blt2ski will become famous soon enough
"IF" all you're going to sail around is here in Puget sound, san juans etc, PLB's will work fine. If you go off shore, then an epirb will be what I would want.

If and when I get something like this, it would probably be a PLB for just this reason, I am never farther than 10 miles from shore, even in the east entry to the straight on my way to the san juans. Not sure that an epirb is really needed around here.

I do feel they function the same for "my" use, granted only for 24 hrs, but they will do the job that I need if in trouble. Or I will hook up a GPS to my radio, and it can broadcast some kind of SOS. I think, but I am also not positive that a PLB would be better, if I have to ditch.

Marty
__________________
She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 07-01-2009
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
EPIRBs are registered to the boat, yes but PLBs are registered as well. Get found with Fast Find - The 406 MHz Personal Location Beacon (PLB) Do you think the registry bit would help you get a quicker rescue?
By having the boat's description, the SAR people have a rough idea of what to look for, if the boat hasn't sunk, and also roughly how many people need rescuiing, which a PLB CAN'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEA OF. This is rather important if you have a larger boat...

Quote:
Is the run time of an EPIRB longer than 2 PLBs? The way I read the specs a PLB is required to broadcast for 24hrs, and EPIRB 48. The 2 PLBs allow you to transmit for 24hrs, then wait 24-48, then transmit again for another 24hrs. Thereby increasing the window of transmission time significantly. Or just for 48hrs straight, as long as an EPIRB. It might be a bonus to the morale of the rescue center to see you "activate" another one. That way they know you're alive and they're not chasing a hydrostatically released buoy.
The problem with this is that if they haven't found you by the 24 hour period, and you wait 24 hours, to trigger the EPIRB, you really increase the effort and cost of the SAR attempt. EPIRBs and PLBs are not designed to shut off and the re-triggered... to be most effective, they need to have a constant, continuous signal and beacon to track. Triggering the second PLB may result in them sending out a second SAR group, since they may not realize that the first PLB and the second one are the same party, unless you have both registered to yourself.

Quote:
To clarify I wasn't suggesting moving PLBs all over the boat. I was suggesting several possibilities where the 2 of them could be stowed/used.

I agree that a PLB isn't a "proper" way to track a boat, but in the hypothetical scenario mentioned the other option would be to abandon the boat with NO beacon, taking the EPIRB with you in the raft. I would think that 24hrs of drift data would provide a pretty good start for a dead reckoning plot and salvage. I do think that even though ships in the area can't receive a 406mhz signal directly they could receive it as a notice to mariners. After all the rescue center can contact them to rescue you right?

So, you're suggesting that you bother the SAR people to get a line on where you abandoned boat drifted to... what a freaking waste of their time and what a selfish and stupid idea.


Quote:
I wouldn't argue that an EPIRB and a PLB is a better option, but my point was "for the price of...". A better option still is 2 or even 3 EPIRBs. My budget doesn't allow that though.

MedSailor
If you're really so worried about your boat sinking, maybe it would be better if you never left sight of the coast.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 07-01-2009
MedSailor's Avatar
Closet Powerboater
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Anacortes PNW
Posts: 2,335
Thanks: 55
Thanked 47 Times in 39 Posts
Rep Power: 7
MedSailor is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
By having the boat's description, the SAR people have a rough idea of what to look for, if the boat hasn't sunk, and also roughly how many people need rescuiing, which a PLB CAN'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEA OF. This is rather important if you have a larger boat...
Ummm.... No. The registration for all 406MHZ beacons is essentially the same. I think you've got some bad info here. On the registration forms there are some "not required" fields for PLBs, but you can put in boat type, vessel# etc if you want. Reference here:IBRD FAQ

Quote:
The problem with this is that if they haven't found you by the 24 hour period, and you wait 24 hours, to trigger the EPIRB, you really increase the effort and cost of the SAR attempt. EPIRBs and PLBs are not designed to shut off and the re-triggered... to be most effective, they need to have a constant, continuous signal and beacon to track. Triggering the second PLB may result in them sending out a second SAR group, since they may not realize that the first PLB and the second one are the same party, unless you have both registered to yourself.
Surely not..... I would never want to rely on an SAR rescue but I sure give them more credit than that! Number one, registration of the beacons, both in your name would only be prudent. Second, even if you didn't do you really think they'd send out 2 crews to the same spot in the middle of the ocean? I think they're smarter than that.

As for operating the beacon, then waiting to fire up the second to increase transmit time, that's just one OPTION you have with 2 beacons instead of one. You could just as essentially operate one right after the other and thus have the same 48hr transmit time you would with an EPIRB.

Quote:

So, you're suggesting that you bother the SAR people to get a line on where you abandoned boat drifted to... what a freaking waste of their time and what a selfish and stupid idea.
Bad idea? Which part? If you're talking about leaving a floating boat than yeah, likely. I stated earlier that I don't agree with abandoning a floating boat. People do it all the time though and I don't understand why putting a beacon on the boat to make it less of a hazard is better than not having any beacon at all. I would never leave a floating boat at sea to be a hazard, but once again, another option of the 2 beacon idea.

Quote:
If you're really so worried about your boat sinking, maybe it would be better if you never left sight of the coast.
So what are you suggesting here? That I should have 3 EPIRBs? I never said anything about being afraid of the boat sinking. In fact, I worry about it so little I don't own a beacon of any kind. I'm talking about IF I choose to spend money on a beacon, spending the same money on 2. This kind of comment is not productive to a discussion of ideas is it?

I'm detecting a tone in your post that I've made you upset SD. Have I? I sure didn't intend to. I'm enjoying the discussion of an out of the box idea. We're obviously not communicating well on it's intended use, but I keep trying to clarify that. You've pointed out some reasons why some of the brainstormed uses might not work, but so far I haven't heard anything that gets to the fundamental question of the post. Why would 2 plbs be worse (lets say for normal use) than one EPIRB?

MedSailor
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 07-01-2009
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
No, I'm not upset...

I'm just curious as to how you could think leaving an active PLB or EPIRB on the boat is going to help you track it... you aren't going to have access to the information of the EPIRB or PLB track, and the SAR people really don't have the time to provide it to you.

Seriously, if you're going to do something like that to help make your boat findable, use a SPOT messenger in tracking mode... it will run for the same 24 hours as the PLB, but will, if you subscribe to their live tracking service, give you the track of the boat on a webpage, using google earth... This would make far more sense, and is less expensive than a PLB or EPIRB as well. In fact, I wish the SPOT Messenger would operate more than 24 hours before needing to be reset... if it actually operated the 14 days it can run on a set of batteries in tracking mode, you'd have an ideal setup for tracking boats that have been left afloat.

When the SAR people are generally out looking for an activated PLB/EPIRB, the boat, or debris from its sinking, is one of the things they're usually searching for. In most cases, the boat doesn't sink immediately, and it is much easier to spot a sailboat, even if it is capsized or awash, than it is to spot individual humans or even a life raft in the water.

One major reason a PLB isn't as good as an EPIRB is that most PLBs need to be held clear of the water to work, and many don't float. Also, at night, the EPIRB is far easier to spot, since it has a built in strobe, which the PLBs generally do not. You'd be really amazed at how long a distance an EPIRB strobe can be seen from at night. Even if the EPIRB was in the interior of the liferaft, the strobe would probably illuminate the entire canopy, causing you to show up as a flashing orange light source, which is clearly not a natural occurrence.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 07-01-2009
SVAuspicious's Avatar
Mermaid Hunter
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: on the boat - Chesapeake
Posts: 2,901
Thanks: 0
Thanked 50 Times in 41 Posts
Rep Power: 8
SVAuspicious will become famous soon enough
Here is what I do. It may not be right for you, but it makes sense for me.

I have an EPIRB with integral GPS (a GPIRB if you will) mounted at the head of the companionway ladder just inside the boat. It can be reached from the cockpit with a little reach. It is properly registered.

I have a valise life raft in the aft cabin. Offshore I move it under the companionway ladder.

I have a Standard Horizon 850S VHF with GPS and DSC. Ordinarily it is my dinghy radio, but offshore it goes into the ditch bag.

I have just ordered on of the new McMurdo PLBs to carry along on deliveries. My plan is to register is properly but not include (as noted above) the boat-specific information. Offshore on my boat it will go in the ditch bag.

YMMV.
__________________
sail fast and eat well, dave
S/V Auspicious
AuspiciousWorks.com
beware "cut and paste" sailors.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 07-01-2009
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Auspicious—

Does the SH850 have a battery pack that uses AA batteries??? If so, how many does it require and how many watts does it transmit at when on AA batteries.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice on EPIRB or PLB Spirit08 Gear & Maintenance 3 01-27-2009 02:01 PM
Betting it All on EPIRBs SailNet Seamanship Articles 0 06-04-2001 08:00 PM
ACR RapidFix 406 EPIRB with GPS Interface Mark Matthews Seamanship Articles 0 01-24-2000 07:00 PM
ACR RapidFix 406 EPIRB with GPS Interface Mark Matthews Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 01-24-2000 07:00 PM
ACR RapidFix 406 EPIRB with GPS Interface Mark Matthews Cruising Articles 0 01-24-2000 07:00 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:55 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012