What emergency device? When? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-23-2015 Thread Starter
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What emergency device? When?

The price of emergency devices have really come down. Plus DSC has become standard on most radios, and is even available on handhelds.

It seems like a boat might carry a number of emergency communication devices.


Assuming there are three general categories in VHF communications:
o SECURITE
o PAN-PAN
o MAYDAY

When / how do you use the following equipment with the three different types of calls? Do these devices create new categories?
o VHF DSC
o SSB DSC
o Sat phone call
o Sat phone SOS button
o SPOT SOS Button
o Other??



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post #2 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Re: What emergency device? When?

You should take a marine VHF course. Luckily in Canada it is mandatory.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Re: What emergency device? When?

Presuming this is not a troll.....

You missed the most important safety radio - an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon.) Adding it to your list then:

In that case:

MAYDAY -> All of the above

Pan - Pan -> This is the tricky one. Since Pan-Pan indicates a need but "No Immediate Danger" one might simply make a non-DSC VHF radio call (e.g. I am out of gas and drifting but will not hit anything for a couple of hours, I am grounded a a shoal but the boat is stable.) Pan-Pan is an "urgency" message - I need help but I am OK waiting some time for the help (as opposed to Mayday where the SAR forces will drop everything to respond immediately.)

Securite -> None of the above, non-DSC call on VHF radio.
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Re: What emergency device? When?

For what it's worth, I'd view the following as the equivalent of a voice Mayday call:

VHF Radio with DSC emergency button
SSB Radio with DSC emergency button
EPIRB Activation
Lighting off a Flair

Only do this if you mean it. Many of my friends are coasties and will deploy expensive assets to find you. The good news with the electronic ones, if you correctly connect and register your DSC radio to your GPS, or you have a registered 406 EPIRB with GPS, they will know who and where your are very precisely. I cannot tell you how may stories they tell me about a flair report, that they spend time chasing that turns out to be nothing found.

Make a voice call and it can be nuanced. Press a button, and they are coming.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Re: What emergency device? When?

That is not quite right, you can choose which type of call you are making using the DSC emergency button, Mayday, pan or securite. Pressing the button is NOT an automatic mayday. You have to be familiar with the type of emergencies and CHOOSE the right one.
After the DSC call everything happens by voice so you WILL need to know proper radio procedures.
That's why I suggest a course by a proper provider be it Power Squadron, ASA if they offer it, CYA etc.
Don't know about the states but in Canada it is illegal to even turn on a VHF without your radio operators permit. (I doubt they would charge you in a real emergency though)
I was under the impression you also needed some type of radio ticket south of the border as well, could be dead wrong on that.
Never looked into it, I don't go to the states.
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Re: What emergency device? When?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanski View Post
I was under the impression you also needed some type of radio ticket south of the border as well, could be dead wrong on that.
Never looked into it, I don't go to the states.
It used to be required. No longer. At least if you stay in the USA.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanski View Post
That is not quite right, you can choose which type of call you are making using the DSC emergency button, Mayday, pan or securite. Pressing the button is NOT an automatic mayday. You have to be familiar with the type of emergencies and CHOOSE the right one.
After the DSC call everything happens by voice so you WILL need to know proper radio procedures.
That's why I suggest a course by a proper provider be it Power Squadron, ASA if they offer it, CYA etc.
Don't know about the states but in Canada it is illegal to even turn on a VHF without your radio operators permit. (I doubt they would charge you in a real emergency though)
I was under the impression you also needed some type of radio ticket south of the border as well, could be dead wrong on that.
Never looked into it, I don't go to the states.
Your right. Thanks for this additional detail
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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In Australia there's courses too, to give a Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency.
Part of the course teaches GMDSS

GMDSS is the Global Maritime Distress hmmmm something System.

"The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment, and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft."
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-23-2015
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Re: What emergency device? When?

It's still all fresh in my mind, had to upgrade my permit this spring when I bought a new DCS capable radio, I think it's all called a Restricted Radio Operators Permit with DSC endorsment.
Looking back it was a good all around refresher as well since I've never had to make an emergency call, not something I really though about rehearsing after I got my original permit years ago.
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Re: What emergency device? When?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svzephyr44 View Post
Presuming this is not a troll.....
You missed the most important safety radio - an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon.) Adding it to your list then:
Yep - Just missed it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanski View Post
That is not quite right, you can choose which type of call you are making using the DSC emergency button, Mayday, pan or securite.
Right! And this is part of what I'm interested in hearing people's thought's on.

It seems like there is SO MUCH emergency equipment available you might a) forget something; or b) spend time activating every device while not taking care of the problem.

For example, assume you have both (lucky you) HF and VHF DSC ... I think the flow would be something like this:

1. Do you think you are close enough to land for VHF? If yes VHF; if No; HF.

2. No response on VHF after 2 minutes? Call on DSC HF

-----------------

Have you ever tried to do a non-emergency DSC call? It seems like the number of buttons to push might not be worth it?

----------------

I'm assuming a SAT Phone SOS is hooked up to a SAR coordination center. If you have lost power and it looks like you are losing the battle on a lee shore - does it really make sense to Sat Phone SOS? Isn't just Mayday what you need?


Maybe I'm overthinking it.
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