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So far I've not had the need for a loud hailer, in the event I do have to make noise I have a bell, the required whistle and an air horn.
AIS and DSC sound like fine ideas and the VHF I'm looking at has all that and the PA - an absolute alphabet of great ideas in a relatively small package.
I sail on the Chesapeake, may make the ocean once in a while and plan on the ICW south next fall.
The PA speaker to make the loudhailer foghorn is extra (and requires mounting - probably on the mast).
So the question - having gotten along without for many years - do I need/want a loudspeaker thingee? Is it worth the extra $30+ to buy and wire the speaker?
 

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I don't think I have ever seen one on a sailboat. (or at least I have not seen one in use) The thing I like about the idea is being able to have a programmed fog horn so it goes off at a regular interval, and you won't run out of air for your sports horn. Seems it could come in handy. Not sure where you would mount the speaker though. It has to be someplace where it won't get caught up in any lines.

I get in my head though the old "Mr. Microphone" ads from the 1970s where the guy in the convertible is like "Hey Babe, we will be right back to pick you up!"
 

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I'm headed north to Maine this summer, even though, I've gotten by without an automatic horn, I plan on adding one this spring. Connected to the radio like you say it will sound the appropriate signal. The AIS transponder and radar are going in now.

I've been out in the Fog on the Chesapeake and Long Island/Block island sounds, I blew through 2 canisters on LIS once. I carry a refillable air horn ( bicycle pump), and an electric 12 volt battery horn, as spares. I have one of those little pocket size horns for the dink.

If you have an AIS receiver you can see the big guys. I have found that many of them
will put out a security call on VHF with their position, course, speed. Of course you'll need to be able to plot them. I have put out a security call in the fog and given my position, course and speed. I have been responded to: "We see you, ( their radar) hold your course and speed and we'll pass on your port side"

It's the smaller fishing boats that I see, sitting out there not making a sound, or worse a power boat moving at 20 knots thinking that because they have radar they don't have to slow down and listen that worry me more.

I think that Radar and AIS.. if/when I have to deal with the Fog will make my trip north less stressful for everyone.

I think the further south you go you'll deal with less soup. It's one of those things that you can probably live without, but when you need it, you're really glad you have it.
 

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I carry one of those little air can horns. also a brass trumpet.
Which meet the requirements of the law.
The Air can is still in its packaging. I expect its loud enough if needed but wont last long.
I don't have a fixed horn but it would be a good thing to have even one I could plug in temporarily, would be good.

Fog is not uncommon here, I also go out fishing in a small power boat with the same air can.
I see others head out in fog. I don't but may get caught out some time.
Even with a RADAR on my boat I don't set off in fog. poor visibility yes but not fog.
 

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So far I've not had the need for a loud hailer, in the event I do have to make noise I have a bell, the required whistle and an air horn.
AIS and DSC sound like fine ideas and the VHF I'm looking at has all that and the PA - an absolute alphabet of great ideas in a relatively small package.
I sail on the Chesapeake, may make the ocean once in a while and plan on the ICW south next fall.
The PA speaker to make the loudhailer foghorn is extra (and requires mounting - probably on the mast).
So the question - having gotten along without for many years - do I need/want a loudspeaker thingee? Is it worth the extra $30+ to buy and wire the speaker?
I went through the same decision process. My new VHF (with AIS+DSC) has loudhailer capabilities and I decided that I would splurge for the horn. I installed it on deck, right next to the foot of the mast. I have not really used it, winter got in the way. Installation was really simple, I happened to have an unused cable already there nearly all the way (all but 1'). Come summer, 'll see how useful this thing really is.
 

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My GX2150 has the same capability. I've had the loud hailer on my todo list for four years now. Other stuff keep getting moved ahead of it on the list.

I keep an air horn at arm's reach at all times (in the binnacle organizer). It is out of its packaging - in an emergency I wouldn't have time to unpack it.
 

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Though, I have sailed at night in the fog ( young and dumb). The 1st night of the '98 BOR race down the chesapeake was in dense fog.

Most of the time I've been out in fog it's been under power. So it's one prolonged every two minutes. If someone is sounding one prolonged and two short it's probably something that will put a hurting on you.
 

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Timely post. I just posted this on my blog 4 days ago;

The Incredible Hull: safety

I don't mind if most sailors just plan to use the trusty old air horn. I do mind that many do not know that sounding a fog signal is a requirement. To paraphrase good old Don Rumsfeld:rolleyes:, "what you don't know will bite you in the ass".
I'm with you, I've never understood why permanently installed horns on sailboats are such a rarity... I've only ever run ONE sailboat that had one, a Trintella 50, and it was a fairly worthless piece of crap tied into a loudhailer that was rarely operational :)

I have an electric horn mounted beneath my spreaders, tucked under my lower shroud to protect it from being snagged... It's the model called an "International Shorty" from AFI/Marinco, it's pretty compact, and pretty loud, having the highest decibel rating of the smaller electric horns available for recreational boats...



It's hooked up to the Fog Mate you picture, primarily because that device was available back when I first installed it, before the programming of fog signals into VHF radios had become commonplace...

Works very well, and got a LOT of use on my trip up north last summer...

:)

AIS has apparently rendered the use of fog signals redundant... I can't recall hearing a single large commercial vessel sounding a fog signal underway last summer...
 

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Hey Jon, Thanks! . I haven't liked any of the electric horns I've seen until now. That looks perfect! My mast is down this season. I was going to work out the horn install when the weather got a little warmer. Do you have any photo's of how you placed it ?
 

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I have found the hailer extremely useful in the Caribbean anchorages when some bareboat is dragging down on us in the middle of the night. People rarely respond quickly to blowing a horn (the cruisers do, but not the bareboaters) or a search light, so getting on the hailer and mentioning the name of the boat dragging down on us will always wake them. Too bad it wakes everybody else in the anchorage, but such is life. I wouldn't be without my hailer horn, mounted on the radar bracket on the mizzen.
As for fog, I've seen it as far south as Cay Sal bank in the gulfstream, and pea soup as far south as Charleston, so the fog horn is a grand idea.
 

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...I do mind that many do not know that sounding a fog signal is a requirement...
Not a requirement if you stay in the slip. :p
 

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Hey Jon, Thanks! . I haven't liked any of the electric horns I've seen until now. That looks perfect! My mast is down this season. I was going to work out the horn install when the weather got a little warmer. Do you have any photo's of how you placed it ?
I don't have anything that shows it very clearly, I'll see if I can grab a quick shot tomorrow...
 

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Most VHF radios will output a horn signal. I mounted a weatherproof speaker, tucked in just below my radar dome. It is wired into the VHF and produces an automatic fog signal and can also be used as a loudspeaker. Actually, I think a manual fog horn is adequate and requires no electricity or pressurized cans:) Perko Manual Fog Horn
 

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I have had a Fog Mate on two boats. It was used in conjunction with an Ongaro horn. Plenty loud enough and reliable. For the DIY the Fog Mate could be made easier to wire but it is what it is.

On our current boat I use the VHF fog hailer and it is only "decent". We run fog signals whenever there is fog but very, very few do, even in Maine. So few that on more than one occasion I've been asked why our boat makes "Lighthouse" sounds.... :rolleyes::rolleyes: How do you even respond to that......politely....???;);)
 

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I debated putting in a speaker when I got my new VHF with loud hailing and fog horn capability. Still thinking about it, but I was not sure where I could put it for an easy mounting and fully out of the way. When out in fog my biggest fear by far is the power boat who barrels along with no sense of extra alertness, engines roaring so he can't hear anything, not using AIS, and generally oblivious. Probably the same guy who drives at 75 during an ice storm. Actually, these guys can run us down in clear weather. The big boats, ferries and the like, I can pick up on AIS.
 

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Do you have any photo's of how you placed it ?
Not the greatest pic, but here you go...

Beneath the radar, as capecodda mentions, would have been a better spot. But my babystay tang is located there, mounting it there would have gotten a bit complicated, having to configure some sort of additional bracket, or something... So, I simply stuck it between the mast and the lower shroud, and snagging a line has never been a problem. The only time I ever have to be wary of it catching a line, is when hoisting the main, when the halyard might possibly get hung up on it... Otherwise, the only time I really have to watch it, is when climbing the mast...

One caveat to mounting this particular horn. As it comes out of the box, it is designed to be mounted on a horizontal surface, such as a cabintop on a powerboat... The flared trumpet portion has a tiny drain hole at the bottom to avoid water collecting inside the trumpet, and possibly working its way inside to the electrics of the unit. If you mount it 'sideways', as I have done, you need to rotate the cover portion of the horn 90 degrees, so that the trumpet will still drain any water that collects inside... The wires running inside the horn don't seem to be especially well gasketed, either, so I beefed that up a bit with the use of some of Maine Sail's fantastic butyl tape. Of course, you'd want to make sure you fashion a drip loop in making the connection, as well...

 

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On our current boat I use the VHF fog hailer and it is only "decent". We run fog signals whenever there is fog but very, very few do, even in Maine. So few that on more than one occasion I've been asked why our boat makes "Lighthouse" sounds.... :rolleyes::rolleyes: How do you even respond to that......politely....???;);)
I got a funny comment re my horn up in Labrador last summer...

Last stop I made before heading back down thru the Strait of Belle Isle was in St Mary's Harbor... The weather had turned to crap, I wound up sitting there for a few days waiting it out, and the 2 days prior to my arrival there were run in very heavy fog... Needless to say, my foghorn was running fulltime, especially since I was running without a working radar :)

I arrived just before dark, and just anchored in the middle of the harbor for the night... Next morning, I moved over to the large public pier adjacent to the fish plant, where I was able to plug into shore power for the first time in months, and even score an open wifi from the plant...

During their lunch break, a few guys from the plant wandered over to check me out, and welcome me to town... One of them remarked "Yeah, we heard you approaching last night, seemed like it was for hours, we were starting to wonder whether you would EVER make it in here..." :)

My stop in St Mary's featured one of my favorite encounters of the whole summer... After anchoring, I was greeted by an extremely friendly and curious Beluga whale... he loved playing in my engine exhaust discharge, and I could hear him surfacing and breathing around the boat all night...

but the most amazing thing, in the middle of the night I was awakened by a slight 'jostling' of the boat, which at first I thought was my keel grounding lightly in the mud, as I knew I'd anchored in marginally shallow water... But after a minute, I realized it was this guy, apparently scratching his back against my keel...

:))

 
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