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post #31 of 36 Old 11-03-2012
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post

Not off topic at all! I've seen those AIS beacons as well and think they have potential, but I'm not exactly sure how. I find that the problem with beacons of any sort (even a real EPIRB) is that SAR is usually delayed until they can be sure it is not a false alarm whereas a verbal declaration of MAYDAY always gets the ball rolling instantly.

The unique value of the AIS beacon is that IF your boat has an AIS receiver, the MoB beacon position is immediately plotted on your boat's chart plotter as soon as it goes off and the beacon's internal GPS determines the MoB lat/long. Those aboard will know the MoB's position, range and bearing from the boat from then on.

If the boat the MoB has fallen off DOES NOT have an AIS reciever, the AIS beacon is of much more limited value as it will only show up on other AIS equipped vessels within radio range (advertised as only 4 miles). All merchant vessesl above 350 tons must be equipped with AIS, but if you're way offshore you may not have a merchant vessel within range. Without an AIS on the MoBs vessel, the best bet is probably the PLBs that transmit the alarm and MoB position to shore-based stations via satelites. The MoB's rescue then is dependent on either 1/ comms being established between the SAR coordinator ashore and the MoB's vessel, which is probably the closest rescue platform available, or 2/ the shore based SAR coordinator launching a rescue with other available USCG or AMVER assets.
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post #32 of 36 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
If you're more than 3 miles offshore, the cell phone (no matter how rugged) is useless. My vote would be to have a PLB (with GPS capability) + AIS MOB beacon attached to my personage at all times. The bigger thing would be to also have a pfd with crotch straps so that if you overboard, the pfd stays on you.

The PLB will alert SAR teams like USCG. The AIS beacon will alert boats in the vicinity. The two together will help you if you're in warm water. If you go MOB in cold water...well, with those two gizmos + a good pfd, at least they'll recover your body for the funeral.

So we're talking about $350 for a PLB w/GPS capability
$300 for an AIS MOB
$140 for a self inflating, hydrostatic activated pfd
$30 for retrofitting crotch straps.

In my opinion, worth *EVERY* penny if you do a lot of singlehanding or overnight watches...

I still think the major hole in this is that the boat is unable to see the PLB position of the MOB. instead of spending almost $1,000 per person, I would rather spend the $5,000 on a RDF that can track the PLB. This also means you can track any EPIRB near you.

Frankly I see this as the thing that manufacturers have really forgotten about. With many sailors carrying a PLB these days, the fact that there isn't a cost efficient way for their own boat to locate the mob is just silly.

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post #33 of 36 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

There are at least two companies that make MOB alarms - when a crew goes overboard and alarm is sounded - I think they can also be tied into the auto pilot - there is also a Radio direction finder as part of the package - I have seen them at a couple of Fish Expos and Boat Shows

Note that a person in the water can only be seen about 100 yard away from a small boat (recreational type, sailboat etc) - when the Coast Guard does a grid search pattern using their small fast boats the grid is about 200 yards apart - if my memory is correct that gives about 97% chance of seeing a person in the water with small chop -

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post #34 of 36 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

What's wrong with a strobe?
That way you will attract more attention.
Also, please do not take offense, but if you fall overboard at night,
you are going to drown.
If you are in a good life jacket, it's day light and the water is warm, but the sea is boisterous,
You are going to drown.

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post #35 of 36 Old 11-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

So there are 3 different incompatible digital signals which are or can be used for distress signals which include location information.
  1. International Cospas-Sarsat Programme based EPIRBs which transmit to Satellites on 406Mhz. There is no practical or cheap way for the ship which lost a passenger to detect this signal. Search and rescue is delayed until a false alarm is ruled out.
  2. AIS transmissions on the VHF marine radio channels. A man overboard AIS beacon will be visible on any AIS equipped ship at least 4 miles away. It is also possible to receive these signals from satellites. Google is considering adding real time AIS information to Google Earth. The rescue authorities do not monitor AIS for distress signals, and there is no guarantee that nearby ships would notice a man overboard on their displays. Correct me if I'm wrong, but AIS wasn't really designed with a means of receiving distress signals, although they can be sent over the network.
  3. VHF radios with DCS + location reporting: The Coast Guard monitors DSC transmissions on the VHF marine band from shore, as do ships with modern radios and competent users. Search and rescue is delayed until false alarms can be ruled out. Radio contact will be attempted, and if radio contact is made the rescue will begin immediately. DSC alone with with no radio contact will result in a much delayed rescue.

Last edited by steel; 11-05-2012 at 11:36 AM.
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post #36 of 36 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: hand held radio for man overboard

Gonna hang all that stuff on your PFD, you'll need a harness and web belt like a soldier. Don't see many of them in the chandleries.
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