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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics > PLB vs EPIRB what and why?
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Thread: PLB vs EPIRB what and why? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-21-2013 03:34 PM
Rasputin
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Like I said, Iím a fair seas and fair weather guy. An EPRIB just seems like overkill for the coastal and line of sight cruising (even with all my electronics) we do as long as I go with a good PLB 406 that floats. The only argument I can see for an EPRIB is my infrequent night sailing when even small emergencies become catastrophic, a freakish boat failure such as explosion or hitting unseen debris and rare weather and sea changes. Itís rare that I would have no cell reception and even more rare that I would be out of VHF range. But the article posts make a good argument.

Thanks to blowinstink for the article posts:

Here is an article from Soundings:

PLB vs. EPIRB - which is right for you?

and another from Landfall Navigation:

PLB or EPIRB?
01-21-2013 03:08 PM
MarkSF
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

I like the PLB for when I'm singlehanding. It stays in my pocket, in case I fall overboard.

If you always have someone with you, wouldn't an EPIRB make more sense, on the basis that there'll always be someone aboard to set it off, or the boat is sinking, in which case it'll set itself off automatically?
01-21-2013 11:16 AM
Rasputin
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Great insight. Thank you all!
01-20-2013 06:26 PM
Classic30
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
In my mind a PLB is fine for coastal and near-coastal sailing.

A PLB battery is good for about 24 hours, an EPRB is good for 48. There are other differences, but the PLB should be fine,.

I use one for near-coastal (100 miles offshore from Vancouver Island) and I teach on different boats.

Offshore its an EPIRB.
Interesting stuff..

Over here, if you're likely to be more than 2 miles offshore you MUST carry a registered EPIRB on board - preferably GPS equipped. PLBs are fine for individuals to wear on them in case they get separated from the yacht (ie. washed overboard), but they don't replace an EPIRB - which is designed to float with the antenna clear of the water for more reliable detection.

Perhaps it gets a little rougher over here..
01-20-2013 05:52 PM
Minnewaska
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Good explanation of the differences above.

If you're worrying about the safety of your crew (child), you should also think about how long you might be in the water and I believe its pretty cold water there. The response to an EPIRB or PLB will be 6 to 24 hours. They will not just launch at the signal. First they will attempt to confirm its authenticity, by dialing the phone numbers you register, checking with your marina to insure you're gone, issuing a securite call, etc. Then they will come look, if they believe its real.

You may also want a waterproof VHF radio with internal GPS receiver. In your cruising grounds, I suspect you will most always be within a mile or two of another boat and could hail them on ch16 and give them your coordinates. In fact, they could confirm the SARSAT signal to the USCG for you and then they would launch immediately.
01-20-2013 04:46 PM
blowinstink
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

The real important point to keep in mind here is that the Spot and the Delorme are NOT emergency beacons and you should not buy one for that purpose.

Spot and Delorme are neither EPIRB's nor PLB's. Instead they are satelite messenger services intended for convenience not emergency use. Unlike the satelite messengers, the emergency beacons communicate directly with rescue services, have established and predictable battery life, water resistance, etc; and, in addition to initial burst information (ID, GPS coordinates), have additional localized beacons to direct emergency responders when they reach the area. The messenger services provided none of these features.

You can go to the ACR website (or McMurdo or one of the other major players) and read concise descriptions of the differences between EPIRB and PLB - Jack hit the major points.

Here is an article from Soundings:

PLB vs. EPIRB - which is right for you?

and another from Landfall Navigation:

PLB or EPIRB?

Good luck. There is a ton of info on this if you google it. If I were you, I would want to read the source materials in addition to forum opinions.

-M
01-20-2013 03:30 PM
jackdale
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Fair enough correction jack. My point was simply that they aren't replaceable underway, so ever text sent reduces the duration of the emergency functions.
Mine recommends 12 over the length of the battery. I have used it mid ocean and that is about it, other than testing the test function.

The text that is sent and the recipients have to be chosen in advance.
01-20-2013 03:23 PM
Stumble
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Fair enough correction jack. My point was simply that they aren't replaceable underway, so ever text sent reduces the duration of the emergency functions.
01-20-2013 03:04 PM
jackdale
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Frankly the one problem I have with the PLB's is all the features they try to cram on them. To me they are a piece of life saving gear and all I want them to do is sound the alarm for the SAR guys. Everything else is just stuff that will drain the non-replaceable, and non-rechargeable battery.
The batteries are not user replaceable, but they are factory/dealer replaceable.

The only extra feature associated with mine is the 406link, which I rarely use.
01-20-2013 03:00 PM
Stumble
Re: PLB vs EPIRB what and why?

Frankly the one problem I have with the PLB's is all the features they try to cram on them. To me they are a piece of life saving gear and all I want them to do is sound the alarm for the SAR guys. Everything else is just stuff that will drain the non-replaceable, and non-rechargeable battery.
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