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post #51 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

My main fear is falling overboard. To that end, I have a PLB in my pocket, and a Standard Horizon handheld VHF with GPS and DSC. $500 for the pair. The handheld VHF also acts as a backup to the main VHF.

Prevention is better than cure, though, so have a good restraint system.

For general safety I have the Standard Horizon GX2150, with AIS & DSC. I networked it to the Lowrance HDS-5M so I have AIS targets on the chartplotter display, and GPS data on the VHF which it needs for one-touch distress calling. $800 for this pair.

I do think one-touch distress calling has significant advantages. If you only have time to do one thing, would it be make a voice call in a hurry that may or may not get through, or have the radio send your vessel details, and precise location, repeatedly until it gets an acknowledgement? In many scenarios, it's quite an advantage to be able to hit the button and then carry on with what you are doing.

The AIS saved our bacon just yesterday, in fog - and it's 10 times more useful if you can see the vessels from the helm, on a chartplotter.

The great thing about a sailboat is, you're never stuck for an idea for a Christmas / Birthday present.
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post #52 of 84 Old 11-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post
...no one can tell you what is right for you (I imagine that the OP got that point a while back and now we are just doing that dance we call the sailnet . . .).
I'm still here, listening and refining my question(s).

I don't recall being argumentative, but I am a PITA.

The discussion of hypothermia is quite sobering. I won't share that with mum-in-law.

It is still a tough choice, even with the lower price for an EPIRB.

I agree that reliance on a cell phone is not the way to go.

I agree that I need all the basic safety gear and the (artificial) choice is EPIRB or VHF w/ DSC.

If I review my original three scenarios:

1. Disabled and being blown offshore.
VHF w/ DSC wins for a few hours until there are no ships within 20 mi; then EPIRB is my only hope.

2. Hitting a shipping container (or other unmarked obstruction).
A VHF could 'likely' get a signal out, but the boat would soon be underwater. A portable VHF w/ DSC in my ditch bag* would assist in a rescue that is already underway, but the limited range would make it difficult to get a rescue going. The EPIRB would have a role here, but the water temp is the deciding factor.

3. Run down by a 'yahoo'.
I see this one as the most likely and the most troubling. I'm likely to be in the water in seconds, probably without the ability to press any buttons on anything. I think that VHF w/ DSC plays a prevention role here in that it shows the other ships on my chartplotter and plots my boat on theirs. An auto-deploy EPIRB would be needed here as the mast and 12VDC system will probably be gone and even a ditch bag might go down with the boat. I'm beginning to think that this scenario leaves me so profoundly screwed that the only way to survive is to not get run down. I know that's a no-brainer, but it points toward VHF w/ DSC as a preventative measure (along with careful planning, clear thinking and a good lookout).

Ken


*Note to Self: Prepare ditch bag.

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post #53 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarbonSink62 View Post

"I think that VHF w/ DSC plays a prevention role here in that it shows the other ships on my chartplotter and plots my boat on theirs."
No it doesn't. AIS does that, not DSC, and if you have a typical VHF radio with AIS, it only receives. To transmit AIS, you need a full AIS transponder.

DSC only sends a distress signal when you press the emergency button.

To reiterate : AIS is a system that continually receives (and maybe transmits) ship positions.

DSC is a system that sends your (and receives others) position ONCE when you hit the emergency button. (well it sends until it gets an acknowledgement, which may be several tries)

The latter is virtually useless if you don't program an MMSI, and hook up a chartplotter for GPS data. Most DSC calls the coastguard recieves are incomplete, missing MMSI and/or position data.

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post #54 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarbonSink62 View Post
I'm still here, listening and refining my question(s).

I don't recall being argumentative, but I am a PITA.

The discussion of hypothermia is quite sobering. I won't share that with mum-in-law.

It is still a tough choice, even with the lower price for an EPIRB.

I agree that reliance on a cell phone is not the way to go.

I agree that I need all the basic safety gear and the (artificial) choice is EPIRB or VHF w/ DSC.

If I review my original three scenarios:

1. Disabled and being blown offshore.
VHF w/ DSC wins for a few hours until there are no ships within 20 mi; then EPIRB is my only hope.

2. Hitting a shipping container (or other unmarked obstruction).
A VHF could 'likely' get a signal out, but the boat would soon be underwater. A portable VHF w/ DSC in my ditch bag* would assist in a rescue that is already underway, but the limited range would make it difficult to get a rescue going. The EPIRB would have a role here, but the water temp is the deciding factor.

3. Run down by a 'yahoo'.
I see this one as the most likely and the most troubling. I'm likely to be in the water in seconds, probably without the ability to press any buttons on anything. I think that VHF w/ DSC plays a prevention role here in that it shows the other ships on my chartplotter and plots my boat on theirs. An auto-deploy EPIRB would be needed here as the mast and 12VDC system will probably be gone and even a ditch bag might go down with the boat. I'm beginning to think that this scenario leaves me so profoundly screwed that the only way to survive is to not get run down. I know that's a no-brainer, but it points toward VHF w/ DSC as a preventative measure (along with careful planning, clear thinking and a good lookout).

Ken


*Note to Self: Prepare ditch bag.
Ken -

I think I mistook a post by someone else as one of yours so excuse the argumentative comment.

You sound like a smart and thoughtful guy so I imagine this is more a question of "what do I buy first" rather than "what is my complete kit" going to be.

One thing you should take note of is the Standard Horizon radio which is a VHF with AIS and DSC is *not* an AIS *transponder* -- it only *receives* AIS signals. As such, you'll not be seen by other vessels (because you won't be sending out an AIS signal). I have and love that radio btw - I just don't consider it to serve the same emergency function (though I understand and agree with some of your arguments toward that end).

Another quick point, the handheld VHF with DSC is probably going to run $200+ (same as a PLB). https://www.google.com/search?q=hand...w=1241&bih=584

I think a handheld is pretty essential (it is great in the dink and ashore as welll as at the helm - assuming you have no RAM), but if you go with a non DSC hh, then you can get in under $100 https://www.google.com/search?q=hand...w=1241&bih=584

More fuel for the combustible mix!

Part of the beauty of this whole thing is you don't need to outfit for next year's trip today -- only for the next trip. I've found that makes the process a bit more manageable from both a planning and a financial standpoint (you can't even make a false choice between a solar panel and an SSB rig but I can figure out which one will be a) more useful on the next trip and b) more manageable to obtain and install). And, in the end, its not so much about equipment. If you can afford the boat and the time off to make the trips, you'll manage the funds for the basic kit you need.

Enjoy!

Matt
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post #55 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Take the submersible VHF/GPS/DSC portable radio and clip it to the PFD you are wearing when offshore. Can't go down with the ship, unless you do.


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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
...Question, when you cruise Maine do you all have liferafts? Do you have survival or imersion suits?
Do you have anything special in the raft to keep you warm?...
No coincidence that I had my raft re-certified before my trip in '11.

I'm sure you are going to learn that many do not have a raft, but many don't have all kinds of proper safety gear. If you chase the averages, you're destine to be average.

We have a space blanket in our raft to use for warmth, if necessary. There are supplies packed right inside the compressed raft, in addition to the ditchbag. However, being inside a covered raft should extend your survivability long beyond the time it takes for a coastal rescue. If you are on a real offshore passage, you do need to consider staying warm for days. Insulated, double wall floors, etc.


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post #57 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post

Any idea if this was an EPIRB or a GEPIRB


What sort of coastal VHF reception does the USCG have out there? I imagine it is pretty good .
Sorry the earlier quotes aren't there so it's a bit confusing.

The Concordia sailing ship,that went down off Brazil in 2010 has had some good stuff written on the emergency respons and the way EPIRBS and satellites work.
Now, I don't definitely know if the EPIRB had GPS but I felt it very unlikely that it would be without GPS. It's was only two years ago. All commercial ships would have had gpirb by then.

The satelite gets the information for the boat and that takes 30 minutes, then it took 30 min to work out the LandL.
Then the satelite sends it ONLY to the country in the area of the distress. NO OTHER COUNTRY GETS THE INFO immediately, or at all.
Then the Brazilians tried to ring the phone number of the EPIRB info and got no answer, so the NEXT DAY they advised the USA and asked them to ring the number. NO SAR had been launched!
24 hours after the GPS was set off the first plane went out. The crew were rescued after 30 hours!!!

So you, EPIRBS are cute but not worth a pinch os sh!t compared to a cell phone, sat phone or VHF where you can TELL the USCG what the emergency is.

hats why I think this particular case of Maines coastline may be different.


Next question was the range of the USCG VHF. Well it's not "good" it's EXTRAORDINARY!
When I was near St Augustine Florida the othe ready I heard them in North Carloina clearly, then they switched to high power and it nearly blew my ear drums out 4 states away!

The first AIS targets I receive are the Coast Guard land stations, well inland.

So I would be very interested to find out how well the USCG actually receives in VHF and AIS but I think we would be quite safe to say they have great coverage over all costal waters especially with digital signals via VHF or DSC and AIS.

Last point, and its an aside, A VHF radio with DSC doesn't send any signal when the red button is pushed unless there is a GPS l and l in it either from GPS or manual input. And the manual input is too time consuming to ever be done. So I discount the DSC VHF unless the boat is full set up, and a guy with $700 is not going to have it.... Unless he has AIS and that you can use to put the GPS into the VHF.


Damn, I just found this ... I could have saved a bit of typing above! Read this and weep!

Quote:
. The Concordia sank at 1423 hrs local time Wednesday. At 1425 Concordia's Bosun Geoffrey Byers swam to retrieve the EPIRB and brought it aboard the rafts. The Captain directed that someone hold the EPIRB upright at all times and keep it safe from damage.[11] The EPIRB signal was received at 1505 hrs by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-12. The position of the sinking, 2728′S 4053′WCoordinates: 2728′S 4053′W, was resolved at 1525 local time. The TSB report noted the EPIRB database only listed one telephone number for the Concordia and that number had not been in service since 2004.[3]
The following morning at 0806 hrs the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Brazil sent a fax to Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax requesting information about the Concordia.[3] After attempting to contact the Concordia a Brazilian Air Force aircraft was dispatched at 17 hrs local time Thursday and sighted the liferafts 3 hours later.[12]
The survivors spent nearly 30 hours in liferafts before the aircraft spotted them. Flares were fired from the rafts, and the aircraft blinked its landing lights in response and directed nearby merchant ships to the scene. The lights of the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines[13] woodchip carriers Hokuetsu Delight and Crystal Pioneer were sighted by the survivors at 1:30 am local time and the rescue was completed by 8 am local time.[11]
41 hours after the sinking the crew were safely aboard the rescue ships.[14] All 64 people (48 students, eight teachers and eight crew) who were on board were rescued from 3 large and 1 small liferafts.[15]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordia_(ship)

EPIRB is the right thing for what i am doing, and for anyone with a budget. But it's not a silver bullet, especially when one is outside the bounds of civilization of the USA, UK, Australia and some other advanced countries, like Bangladesh...

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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 11-26-2012 at 07:59 PM.
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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..Last point, and its an aside, A VHF radio with DSC doesn't send any signal when the red button is pushed unless there is a GPS l and l in it either from GPS or manual input. And the manual input is too time consuming to ever be done. So I discount the DSC VHF unless the boat is full set up, and a guy with $700 is not going to have it..........
The handheld I posted above is fully integrated. Just get an MMSI number, type it in once when you buy the radio and you're good to go for DSC. It cost about $250.


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post #59 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarbonSink62 View Post
I'm still here, listening and refining my question(s).

...
1. Disabled and being blown offshore.
VHF w/ DSC wins for a few hours until there are no ships within 20 mi; then EPIRB is my only hope.

....
20 mi is what? Not Nm? a VHF has a bigger range.

regards

Paulo
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post #60 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post
K...
Another quick point, the handheld VHF with DSC is probably going to run $200+ (same as a PLB).

I think a handheld is pretty essential (it is great in the dink and ashore as welll as at the helm - assuming you have no RAM), but if you go with a non DSC hh, then you can get in under $100 [

More fuel for the combustible mix!

..
Yes, but then you have also a GPS back up in case the main GPS fails (the radio can give you your position on a small screen). If you don't have one back up you need one.

Regards

Paulo
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