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rockietopman 04-05-2006 02:42 PM

Which Epirb?
I have been searching high and low for discussion on the subject of EPIRB's. Maybe I'm not using the right search words.
The general consciences is, GET ONE.
However with wide variety available, brands and capabilities. No one coment to saying which is better. Practical sailor hasn't made a mention since around 2001.
I'm buying one. But do I need a fully automatic Cat I or Manual Cat II.
Do I like Pains Wessex or ACR. Do I need The Built-in GPS.
I guess when in doubt buy the most expensive with all the options.
Anyone care to comment?

awayocean 04-05-2006 06:26 PM

Some info here

We have this one:
ACR 2742 CAT I GlobalFix 406 MHz EPIRB (Automaticall release) with Integral GPS

The BEST or nothing ;)


DynaMeme 04-05-2006 06:29 PM is a good place to start. may also be useful.

Until I decide to go to sea and not come back, we will carry an automatic 406 with built in GPS.

Then again, I flew with a parachute too.

Unless there is a service bulletin out on either, unit. PW and ACR are comparable at the transmit end. Since both have to meet SOLAS requirements with respect to battery life, for me it was a matter of what could I be sure of getting serviced easily. That depends on where you plan to sail.

awayocean 04-05-2006 06:35 PM

You can find some discussions here:

Just search for EPIRB.

rockietopman 04-05-2006 06:57 PM

Thanks for the response. I've done my homework. I just can't decide. Our boat is based in the FL Keys. We are in Colorado. One More year and we'll hit the blue. One kid to go! We are doing short Jaunts now. So we are thinking ahead as well as the present. I figure I can't go wrong buying the Cat I with internal GPS. Just don't know how much over kill that is for a Beneteau 32 where your close to everything anyway.

sailnaway 04-07-2006 06:23 PM

Hey Rockeytopman where you at in the Keys? We are from Colorado also and we are in the keys for a couple of more months until hurricane season then we are COLOR ADO ME GONE. Pagosa Springs:cool:

sailingdog 04-07-2006 08:43 PM

I prefer the ACR GlobalFix GPIRB... getting a unit that doesn't have an integrated GPS is kind of silly, given the price differences.

rockietopman 04-14-2006 06:14 PM

I bought the ACR Globalfix cat II with internal gps.
I've got my Boat in Marathon. We'll be on it this next week for a week.
Live in Larkspur Colorado.

marinedtcomRob 04-14-2006 10:03 PM

EPIRB Selection
My belief is that at this point both the Pains-Wessex Precision and ACR GlobalFix are directly comparable. Both have built in GPS and 48 hour rated operating battery life. Pains-Wessex did have a GPS software issue a few years ago but that's been fixed. Built in GPS acts to dramatically decrease the size of the search and rescue area.

You will see EPIRBS rated either CATEGORY I or CATEGORY II. CAT I are automatically deployed in the event crew is unable to deply during a sinking or capsize and are required on many USCG inspected vessels. They are sold into the recreational market but are less popular than the CAT II. CAT II EPIRBS are manually deployed and again seem to be thought to be sufficient and / or preferred among recreational boaters.

For more info on SailNet please see:

(note: there are a few EPIRBS other than the ACR GlobalFix and the Pains Wessex Precision at this link but just look for those recommended models if you want built in GPS & 48 battery life)

Hope this helps.

Rob Proctor /

jared 04-17-2006 03:40 PM

Check out, Doug Ritter's excellent site oriented toward marine/aircraft survival issues. He's got some discussion on the new "personal" EPIRBs as well.

I think a major consideration is budget. An EPIRB with a GPS built in will cost more, but it will be more effective--if you can afford it. An automatic GPS in a cradle on deck is nice--but useless if you are soloing and would benefit more from a personal one stowed in your vest, or in your ditch bag.

And some of the major brands have had issues from time to time, surprisingly producing products that are not what you would expect for top dollar or "top" name.

If you can afford a dedicated EPIRB, go for it. On the other hand, an Iridium or GlobalStar phone in a waterproof case can get you the same rescue comunications--and give you routine communications as well. Like the tale of the man who had a cell phone, back when they were a thousand dollar rarity. He called his wife to say he'd be late for dinner, and THEN called the Coast Guard to say his boat had just sunk and he was floating, could they pick him up. Urban legend? Maybe not.<G>

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