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· Grasshopper
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If you don't need an EPIRB all the time, you can rent one from BoatUS. I rented one for a trip from San Francisco to San Diego, and the cost was $125.00 for a month. BoatUS will ship the EPIRB to any address you want, and you ship it back to them in the same box...it comes with a BoatUS return address label. Shipping was fast and easy.
 

· Grasshopper
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Interesting, I didn't know that.

Renting an EPIRB is a possible solution, but shipping it back from a foreign country can be an issue... A friend was trying to rent one for a delivery of a boat from Fairhaven to Halifax, and there was no reasonable way to ship it back to BoatUS from Canada due to customs and such. Also, the battery in an EPIRB is sometimes classified as hazardous materials.

The main differences between an EPIRB and a PLB are:

Run time: An EPIRB will generally run 48 hours, a PLB 24.

Registration
: An EPIRB is registered to a specific vessel and has a description of the vessel, including make, model, size, color, normal complement of crew, etc. A PLB is registered to an individual.

Operation
: An EPIRB will work even if in the water, and generally are designed to float. A PLB often has to be held out of the water for it to function properly.

Strobe: An EPIRB has a strobe built-into the unit, which can make being spotted at night much simpler. A PLB does not.

My recommendation is to get a GPIRB, which is an EPIRB with an integrated GPS. This is far superior to one that is connected to a GPS externally. The reason for this is that the GPIRB will update the GPS location information as it continues to broadcast, a regular EPIRB will not-it will generally just broadcast the last known GPS coordinates. If you had the boat's GPS off at the time of abandoning ship, the EPIRB may not have any location information to broadcast at all-where a GPIRB will generally get GPS information within a few minutes of being activated and transmit it as soon as it has it.
 
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