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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Fellow Sailors:

The recent capsizing and subsequent death of three NFL players was a preventable accident. A floating handheld VHF/GPS would have given the men a fighting chance.
We spend thousands on toys for our boats but sometimes skimp on lifesaving items.
West Marine sells a VHF/GPS floating hand held for $299.00.

Safe sailing,

Big Moe
 

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Telstar 28
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Of course common sense would have saved them and it would have been much more useful and a lot cheaper... :)

They went out in a 22' boat in small craft warning conditions...

A handheld VHF, unless it was like a SH 850s, which has an integrated GPS, would probably not have helped much, and it is questionable as to whether they would have been able to call for help. Not too many boats were out that day.
 

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I would think a handheld radio that automatically broadcasts the GPS coordinates vis DSC when the mic is keyed would have made the difference. There's always an epirb. I mean, when one of your favorite fishing spots is 30 miles out, and you're going in a 21ft open fisherman, it's not a bad option, rather cheap insurance.
 

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"I mean, when one of your favorite fishing spots is 30 miles out, and you're going in a 21ft open fisherman,"
Sounds more like a macho problem, which is to be expected from professional corporate athletes who are bought and bred for having macho attitudes. Radio? Cell phone in a zip lock bag? EPIRB? Nah, that's all girly-man stuff, those manly men can take it all without wasting their beer money on pansy safety things.
Hell, anyone who takes that kind of boat out that far, and doesn't turn back before the water gets that rough, is in trouble no matter what they have on board.
 

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The reports I read said that the boat capsized suddenly in which case all of these safety items may have floated away or been trapped under the boat. I wouldn't say that any piece of gear would have guaranteed a rescue.

Certainly lessons can be learned from this incident, but insulting three dead people won't bring any of those lessons to light.
 

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Lets not forget that a handheld radio is only a 5 or 6 watt radio. If you can't see who you wish to talk to your not going to be able to reach them on the radio. 30 miles out you have no chance of reaching a on shore Coast Guard station with a handheld radio.
Ditto.

Have you ever tried to transmit in the open waters on your hand held radio? Good communication is sketchy at best. Receive from a fixed mount or land based, yes, transmit? No.

I stopped carrying a hand held years ago because they are really only useful for playing around in the dinghy or in close proximity to others. Not a whole lot of use in the open water. I do plan on getting another one (seems like the prices keep dropping) for emergecy situations, but I am fully aware that I will need to get my butt to within about a mile or two of my target before it will be effective.

Proper planning and good seamanship; including watching and listening to weather forecasting would have given the lost souls a better chance. A 5 watt radio? Not sure it would have been much help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello Fellow Sailors:

The new hand held VHF/GPS have MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity). It gives you a fighting chance assuming you are close to another craft or someone is looking for you. I keep one in my ditch bag along with an extra EPIRB. Every little bit helps! I would rather have a hand held transmitting MMSI than have nothing at all!

Please understand that I mean no disrespect to the deceased. My comments are made to help sailors add to their survival gear inventories.

Big Moe
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hello again from Big Moe:

The following is the West Marine number for the VHF/GPS unit with MMSI.

STANDARD HORIZON
HX850S Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Integral GPS
WM Model #: 9457433

Big Moe
 

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A semi-related question. Do search aircraft monitor marine VHF? I agree that the short range/line of site issue is a problem for handhelds, but with the aircraft well above the horizon and moving fast eonough to get close a handheld might be of some benefit.
 

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A semi-related question. Do search aircraft monitor marine VHF? I agree that the short range/line of site issue is a problem for handhelds, but with the aircraft well above the horizon and moving fast eonough to get close a handheld might be of some benefit.
Yes, they would be monitoring channel 16. That would be exactly what you would be using a handheld for! "Hey, do you see me down here."

A long distance distress call is best made by other means.
 

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Be aware there is a recall on this particular model, due to possible cracks in the casing that compromise the unit's water tight integrity.
Hello again from Big Moe:

The following is the West Marine number for the VHF/GPS unit with MMSI.

STANDARD HORIZON
HX850S Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Integral GPS
WM Model #: 9457433

Big Moe
 

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Be aware there is a recall on this particular model, due to possible cracks in the casing that compromise the unit's water tight integrity.
SD,

I have gone back and modified my post on this issue, to read that there is a "Voluntary Safety Check" rather than a "recall" per se. Sorry about the ambiguous info on that.

Incidentally, Standard Horizon did not hesitate to point that out to me. I plan to provide an update as soon as I get some additional info from them. I will post that info to the thread where I originally mentioned this issue.
 

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Well, I don't sail offshore, I sail in the protected waters of the Chesapeake Bay. When I sail alone or when weather picks up, I wear a PFD and have my floating VHF clipped on. This year I was given a SPOT and will wear that too. The SPOT will NOT be used as my primary means to reach help, but it will be in the lineup. My limited experience with the SPOT is that it works well. In case you want to learn more have a look at findmespot.com
 

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Man I just love this devil-may-care attitude. It's only a 5-watt radio, it won't be any good at sea. Tell ya what. If you ever get into a similar situation, and you have a 5 watt handheld, just drop it. Don't even try, okay? Over open water, signals travel much further than they would inland, but nevermind that. And there's no chance someone else might be out in their boat, and much closer than shore. What gets through might be just enough to direct a rescue. I'll take a slim chance over none any day.
 

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lets see on my little 27 foot bay bound boat i have a mounted 25 watt radio , a water proof floating handheld in the cockpit, a cheap hand held radio. 2 flare guns with 16 flares, a mirror, 4 hand held smoke/flares, an emergency blanket that is orange on one side and silver on the other and a cell phone with a charger on board. the stuff kept in the ditch bag listed below

the ditch bag has the cheap handheld, batteries, flash light, flare gun with 8 flares, 4 hand held smokes/flares, 4 bottles of water, 4 candy bars, the mirror, a few large ziplock bags with stuff in them, and an emergency blanket that is orange on one side and silver on the other

the sad thing is i want more, a SPOT, and more inflatable pfds, right now i have one inflatable and 10 regular orange pfds
 

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Man I just love this devil-may-care attitude. It's only a 5-watt radio, it won't be any good at sea. Tell ya what. If you ever get into a similar situation, and you have a 5 watt handheld, just drop it. Don't even try, okay? Over open water, signals travel much further than they would inland, but nevermind that. And there's no chance someone else might be out in their boat, and much closer than shore. What gets through might be just enough to direct a rescue. I'll take a slim chance over none any day.
VHF Radios depend on two things to get a transmission out.

(1) Height of the antenna. A VHF radio wave is a flat line wave meaning straight. If you are bobbing around in a life vest your antenna hight may be what, 2 feet off the surface of the water. A severe limitation. Again, if you can't see them and all you have is a handheld, save your battery!

(2) Power, meaning wattage. A good rule of thumb to go by, is under "good" conditions a watt is good for a mile. When you need a radio the most usually conditions are not "good."

There is a reason that all US commercial vessels operating 20 or more miles offshore are required to have EPIRB's. In side 20 miles they are required to have a fixed mount 25 watt radio. A handheld does not satisfy the requirement, as it is considered a axillary radio to the ships fixed base station (25 watt) by the USCG. But, I will let you figure that one out for yourself.:)
 
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