Do I Need an EPIRB? - Page 7 - SailNet Community
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post #61 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
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.
Soon everything will have a GPS in it. George Orwell was so wrong but so right! Lololol

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post #62 of 84 Old 11-26-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

I think that Standard Horizon VHF with DSC and GPS is one of the best inventions ever for single handed coastal sailors. Why? Because you have one touch distress calling, on your belt (if that's where you put it), with your gps co-ordinates attached to the message. The coastguard WILL get the message if you are anywhere off the US.

I have much more faith in that digital message getting through than trying to relay my coordinates over voice. The coastguard has excellent antennas, while the handheld has a 6" one, so it is quite likely that you will be able to reach them, but not hear them back.

I hear talk between the coastguard and distressed vessels every day. Communication over analog can be quite difficult and prone to error. That's why the DSC system was invented. They haven't spent all those millions on equipment just for a laugh, it was to help save lives.

The combination of VHF with DSC and GPS, and a PLB, is excellent - the radio brings them coming, the PLB's 121.5 mhz analog beacon lets them find you even if the 406 mhz digital message hasn't been relayed through SARSAT.

And you can bet a DSC message AND SARSAT one together from the same vessel is going to help convince them that the situation is a real emergency.

$500 well spent.

With one touch of the DSC button, the CG (and anyone else nearby) gets :

My MMSI no, which account contains :
My name
My vessels name
Description of vessel
Usual sailing area
Emergency contact names and numbers
GPS co-ordinates
Type of emergency (optional)

The PLB account has the same info.
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Last edited by MarkSF; 11-26-2012 at 09:48 PM.
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post #63 of 84 Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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.

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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.
I wasnt asking to prove a point. One of the things I am looking at is whether I should get a liferaft. We do travel in water on our trips of 50 degrees and you were right about the survuval times in that water. I know very few have life rafts. Do people have any special immersion suits etc?

Dave


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post #64 of 84 Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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The combination of VHF with DSC and GPS, and a PLB, is excellent - the radio brings them coming, the PLB's 121.5 mhz analog beacon lets them find you even if the 406 mhz digital message hasn't been relayed through SARSAT.
Bingo


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post #65 of 84 Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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I think that Standard Horizon VHF with DSC and GPS is one of the best inventions ever for single handed coastal sailors....$500 well spent...
Which model?
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post #66 of 84 Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
...I wasnt asking to prove a point. One of the things I am looking at is whether I should get a liferaft. We do travel in water on our trips of 50 degrees and you were right about the survuval times in that water. I know very few have life rafts. Do people have any special immersion suits etc?
The trouble with immersion suits is whether you will have time to get them on. I've worn my fair share and they are difficult to put on when standing ashore. I can't imagine it on a pitching deck, especially if there were a catastrophic event or if you had anything else to do at the same time.

The best way to mount a liferaft is either on top of the cabin, or on the stern rail, inside a box that auto deploys if underwater. In fact, I believe this is the only legal way to do so, if one is required aboard. You may end up in the water quicker than you expected, but since you're already wearing your PFD, you only need to survive long enough to swim to the deployed raft. No guarantee, but you should make it.

Admittedly, I have my raft in a raft locker between the two helms. It weighs roughly 80 pounds (6 place with canopy and pre-packaged survival equip), but I am absolutely assuming that during that crisis, just about anyone would find the strength to get it out, clip on the tether, toss her to leeward and pull the cord. Since someone has to be at the helm, even smashing into a container should allow enough time to do so. Nevertheless, auto deploy is better.

Rafts can be very expensive and are anywhere around a grand to recertify every three years. Its very common for people to let them go longer, especially if vacuum packaged and kept dry. These guys are excellent and sell recertified used rafts, if one is on a budget. They will be very honest with whether the raft is suitable for your needs and their opinion about its ongoing longevity.

Life Raft and Survival Equipment: Life Rafts, EPIRBS, PFDs, Safety Equipment


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 11-27-2012 at 07:53 AM.
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post #67 of 84 Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

Lots of good discussion here. I tend to be a technology Luddite and an adherent of the KISS principle. I sail coastal waters, normally within VHF range of a CG radio station or at least fishing vessels. No EPIRB. I have a DSC VHF and a hand held in my ditch bag. No AIS but I have radar. No liferaft, but I tow my Avon dingy or keep it on the foredeck, inflated. I feel that I have an adequate Emergency Response plan.

I imagine that when I get around to making long distance ocean passages in this boat, I will invest in an EPIRB and a liferaft. For now, there are more worthwhile ways to spend the boat budget (like new standing rigging and sails).
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

By the way, a couple of raft points.

The number of advertised places is just like tents. At capacity, they are very crowded. The only way you are filling them to capacity is with everyone sitting around the outside, with their knees in their chest. Its very uncomfortable. Assume you need two more places than you have people you might actually put inside. ie. A 4 place for a cruising couple works.

Also, if you've never practiced getting aboard a life raft from the water, you probably have no idea how difficult it can be. The smartest option one can buy is an inflatable boarding ramp. Once you've tried the standard web ladders, you'll get it. Boarding practice is part of Day 2 of the Safety at Sea program.

As for getting in a dinghy in an emergency. Have you tried it from the water? How about with an inflated PFD in your way? I have trouble stepping in from the boat in rocking anchorage, can't imagine it in open water seas over a couple of feet. Then staying aboard is also questionable.


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 11-27-2012 at 08:02 AM.
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post #69 of 84 Old 11-27-2012
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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By the way, a couple of raft points.

The number of advertised places is just like tents. At capacity, they are very crowded.
Yes, but the other way is a problem too... If the raft if too big you get thrown around in it.

Mine is a 10 man liferaft and last time I looked I didn't have any crew at all... No one to boss about, no one to kiss and scream at whilst anchoring... Woe is me sitting in a big empty liferaft being tossed about.

Mind you, there's no one to tell me when I've made a little smell

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post #70 of 84 Old 11-27-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Do I Need an EPIRB?

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20 mi is what? Not Nm? a VHF has a bigger range.
I know it is well over the horizon; my Navy training said that the horizon is 9 mi away if you are six feet off the water. My antenna is 33 feet off the water.

I took a stab at 20 miles; how far off am I?

I'm still thinking, but leaning now toward having her buy me a new VHF w/ DSC and I meet her halfway toward a chartplotter to interface with it.

I love watching things interface.

Thanks again to all for the lively discussion.

Ken

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