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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
PLBs are not EPIRBs but they sure are close in my view. I also don't like having a big of life-saving gear that is nearly impossible to test and no spare. To be honest I'm not that big a fan of beacons in general, but if I were to consider one here are my thoughts:

These days as the price of PLBs goes down rapidly as their quality climbs, the prices of EPIRBs hasn't changed that much. It now appears that you can afford to get 2 high quality PLBs with GPS built in for the price of one EPIRB.

Here's an example of a good unit for $300
McMurdo Fast Find PLB - Initial Evaluation - EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm)

It seems to me the advantages of having 2 are endless. You could pack one in your liferaft and keep the other handy. Each of the crew (of 2) could have one attached to their person. One could be in the abandon ship bag, the other with the on-deck on-watch person. etc. Even having the two of them in the abandon ship bag would be a great piece of mind as you have twice as much likelihood of one of them working.

Conventional wisdom goes against departing a floating boat, but if for some reason you did take to your raft and the boat was still afloat you could leave one beacon on board and take one in the raft. This way the boat could be salvaged and would not present near the hazard to navigation.

BTW: here is a link to a service that will test your EPIRB/PLB.
Satellite Testing of Your 406 MHz Beacon Has Arrived | Doug Ritter's Equipped.org Blog

MedSailor
 

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Telstar 28
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A couple of problems with this. First, PLBs are not EPIRBs, and should not be used in their place IMHO. EPIRBs are registered to the boat, and will have the boat's description associated with it. EPIRBs have a longer run time and will give you more of a chance of being rescued in the middle of the ocean.

A PLB left on a boat isn't a proper way to track it, since they usually will only run 24 hours or so. If your boat is in the middle of an ocean, I seriously doubt that you'd be able to be rescued and get a salvage operation back to the boat before the PLB's battery died. Also, a normal sailor will have no way of tracking an EPIRB, either would ships near it... so it wouldn't prevent it from being a hazard to navigation and wouldn't help you track it at all.

Also, your idea of moving the PLBs around, means that you could also possibly end up with no EPIRB or PLB in the ditch bag when the boat has to be abandoned... that's really bright, isn't it......

A much better idea is to have an EPIRB and a PLB—the EPIRB is stowed in the ditch bag, and the PLB is carried by whomever is on night watch. This would allow the EPIRB to be used for medical emergencies as well as in the case you have to abandon ship, while providing the PLB for the on-deck watch. It also gives you TWO devices in the case of abandoning ship.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
A couple of problems with this. First, PLBs are not EPIRBs, and should not be used in their place IMHO. EPIRBs are registered to the boat, and will have the boat's description associated with it. EPIRBs have a longer run time and will give you more of a chance of being rescued in the middle of the ocean.

A PLB left on a boat isn't a proper way to track it, since they usually will only run 24 hours or so. If your boat is in the middle of an ocean, I seriously doubt that you'd be able to be rescued and get a salvage operation back to the boat before the PLB's battery died. Also, a normal sailor will have no way of tracking an EPIRB, either would ships near it... so it wouldn't prevent it from being a hazard to navigation and wouldn't help you track it at all.

Also, your idea of moving the PLBs around, means that you could also possibly end up with no EPIRB or PLB in the ditch bag when the boat has to be abandoned... that's really bright, isn't it......

A much better idea is to have an EPIRB and a PLB-the EPIRB is stowed in the ditch bag, and the PLB is carried by whomever is on night watch. This would allow the EPIRB to be used for medical emergencies as well as in the case you have to abandon ship, while providing the PLB for the on-deck watch. It also gives you TWO devices in the case of abandoning ship.
EPIRBs are registered to the boat, yes but PLBs are registered as well. Get found with Fast Find - The 406 MHz Personal Location Beacon (PLB) Do you think the registry bit would help you get a quicker rescue?

Is the run time of an EPIRB longer than 2 PLBs? The way I read the specs a PLB is required to broadcast for 24hrs, and EPIRB 48. The 2 PLBs allow you to transmit for 24hrs, then wait 24-48, then transmit again for another 24hrs. Thereby increasing the window of transmission time significantly. Or just for 48hrs straight, as long as an EPIRB. It might be a bonus to the morale of the rescue center to see you "activate" another one. That way they know you're alive and they're not chasing a hydrostatically released buoy.

To clarify I wasn't suggesting moving PLBs all over the boat. I was suggesting several possibilities where the 2 of them could be stowed/used.

I agree that a PLB isn't a "proper" way to track a boat, but in the hypothetical scenario mentioned the other option would be to abandon the boat with NO beacon, taking the EPIRB with you in the raft. I would think that 24hrs of drift data would provide a pretty good start for a dead reckoning plot and salvage. I do think that even though ships in the area can't receive a 406mhz signal directly they could receive it as a notice to mariners. After all the rescue center can contact them to rescue you right?

I wouldn't argue that an EPIRB and a PLB is a better option, but my point was "for the price of...". A better option still is 2 or even 3 EPIRBs. My budget doesn't allow that though.;)

MedSailor
 

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If you plan to stay with the boat, get one EPIRB. If you plan on using a life raft, get one EPIRB. If you have made your tender into a liferaft...well, you get the picture.

A PLB is what it says: personal. It's meant to find you (or your body) when someone else has lived to alert the authorities, although obviously a solo sailor falling off a boat wouldn't have this luxury. Its broadcast time is limited, much like your time in the water unless you are in the tropics without sharks and with a sturdy PFD, or in a survival suit anywhere else. Even 80F water can eventually induce hypothermia...it just takes longer.

This is why I think of PLBs more like "super flares" rather than "junior EPIRBs". They are great at getting the attention (hey, down here!) of copters and SAR people if they already have a good idea where to look, whereas you could float for days in the South Pacific with a folded mast, a sheared-off rudder but with a working EPIRB before a ship diverts to intercept you, a thousand miles beyond any hope of land-based SAR services.
 

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"IF" all you're going to sail around is here in Puget sound, san juans etc, PLB's will work fine. If you go off shore, then an epirb will be what I would want.

If and when I get something like this, it would probably be a PLB for just this reason, I am never farther than 10 miles from shore, even in the east entry to the straight on my way to the san juans. Not sure that an epirb is really needed around here.

I do feel they function the same for "my" use, granted only for 24 hrs, but they will do the job that I need if in trouble. Or I will hook up a GPS to my radio, and it can broadcast some kind of SOS. I think, but I am also not positive that a PLB would be better, if I have to ditch.

Marty
 

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Telstar 28
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EPIRBs are registered to the boat, yes but PLBs are registered as well. Get found with Fast Find - The 406 MHz Personal Location Beacon (PLB) Do you think the registry bit would help you get a quicker rescue?
By having the boat's description, the SAR people have a rough idea of what to look for, if the boat hasn't sunk, and also roughly how many people need rescuiing, which a PLB CAN'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEA OF. This is rather important if you have a larger boat...

Is the run time of an EPIRB longer than 2 PLBs? The way I read the specs a PLB is required to broadcast for 24hrs, and EPIRB 48. The 2 PLBs allow you to transmit for 24hrs, then wait 24-48, then transmit again for another 24hrs. Thereby increasing the window of transmission time significantly. Or just for 48hrs straight, as long as an EPIRB. It might be a bonus to the morale of the rescue center to see you "activate" another one. That way they know you're alive and they're not chasing a hydrostatically released buoy.
The problem with this is that if they haven't found you by the 24 hour period, and you wait 24 hours, to trigger the EPIRB, you really increase the effort and cost of the SAR attempt. EPIRBs and PLBs are not designed to shut off and the re-triggered... to be most effective, they need to have a constant, continuous signal and beacon to track. Triggering the second PLB may result in them sending out a second SAR group, since they may not realize that the first PLB and the second one are the same party, unless you have both registered to yourself.

To clarify I wasn't suggesting moving PLBs all over the boat. I was suggesting several possibilities where the 2 of them could be stowed/used.

I agree that a PLB isn't a "proper" way to track a boat, but in the hypothetical scenario mentioned the other option would be to abandon the boat with NO beacon, taking the EPIRB with you in the raft. I would think that 24hrs of drift data would provide a pretty good start for a dead reckoning plot and salvage. I do think that even though ships in the area can't receive a 406mhz signal directly they could receive it as a notice to mariners. After all the rescue center can contact them to rescue you right?

So, you're suggesting that you bother the SAR people to get a line on where you abandoned boat drifted to... what a freaking waste of their time and what a selfish and stupid idea.


I wouldn't argue that an EPIRB and a PLB is a better option, but my point was "for the price of...". A better option still is 2 or even 3 EPIRBs. My budget doesn't allow that though.;)

MedSailor
If you're really so worried about your boat sinking, maybe it would be better if you never left sight of the coast.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
By having the boat's description, the SAR people have a rough idea of what to look for, if the boat hasn't sunk, and also roughly how many people need rescuiing, which a PLB CAN'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEA OF. This is rather important if you have a larger boat...
Ummm.... No. The registration for all 406MHZ beacons is essentially the same. I think you've got some bad info here. On the registration forms there are some "not required" fields for PLBs, but you can put in boat type, vessel# etc if you want. Reference here:IBRD FAQ

The problem with this is that if they haven't found you by the 24 hour period, and you wait 24 hours, to trigger the EPIRB, you really increase the effort and cost of the SAR attempt. EPIRBs and PLBs are not designed to shut off and the re-triggered... to be most effective, they need to have a constant, continuous signal and beacon to track. Triggering the second PLB may result in them sending out a second SAR group, since they may not realize that the first PLB and the second one are the same party, unless you have both registered to yourself.
Surely not..... I would never want to rely on an SAR rescue but I sure give them more credit than that! Number one, registration of the beacons, both in your name would only be prudent. Second, even if you didn't do you really think they'd send out 2 crews to the same spot in the middle of the ocean? I think they're smarter than that.

As for operating the beacon, then waiting to fire up the second to increase transmit time, that's just one OPTION you have with 2 beacons instead of one. You could just as essentially operate one right after the other and thus have the same 48hr transmit time you would with an EPIRB.


So, you're suggesting that you bother the SAR people to get a line on where you abandoned boat drifted to... what a freaking waste of their time and what a selfish and stupid idea.
Bad idea? Which part? If you're talking about leaving a floating boat than yeah, likely. I stated earlier that I don't agree with abandoning a floating boat. People do it all the time though and I don't understand why putting a beacon on the boat to make it less of a hazard is better than not having any beacon at all. I would never leave a floating boat at sea to be a hazard, but once again, another option of the 2 beacon idea.

If you're really so worried about your boat sinking, maybe it would be better if you never left sight of the coast.
So what are you suggesting here? That I should have 3 EPIRBs? I never said anything about being afraid of the boat sinking. In fact, I worry about it so little I don't own a beacon of any kind. I'm talking about IF I choose to spend money on a beacon, spending the same money on 2. This kind of comment is not productive to a discussion of ideas is it?

I'm detecting a tone in your post that I've made you upset SD. Have I? I sure didn't intend to. I'm enjoying the discussion of an out of the box idea. We're obviously not communicating well on it's intended use, but I keep trying to clarify that. You've pointed out some reasons why some of the brainstormed uses might not work, but so far I haven't heard anything that gets to the fundamental question of the post. Why would 2 plbs be worse (lets say for normal use) than one EPIRB?

MedSailor
 

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No, I'm not upset...

I'm just curious as to how you could think leaving an active PLB or EPIRB on the boat is going to help you track it... you aren't going to have access to the information of the EPIRB or PLB track, and the SAR people really don't have the time to provide it to you.

Seriously, if you're going to do something like that to help make your boat findable, use a SPOT messenger in tracking mode... it will run for the same 24 hours as the PLB, but will, if you subscribe to their live tracking service, give you the track of the boat on a webpage, using google earth... This would make far more sense, and is less expensive than a PLB or EPIRB as well. In fact, I wish the SPOT Messenger would operate more than 24 hours before needing to be reset... if it actually operated the 14 days it can run on a set of batteries in tracking mode, you'd have an ideal setup for tracking boats that have been left afloat.

When the SAR people are generally out looking for an activated PLB/EPIRB, the boat, or debris from its sinking, is one of the things they're usually searching for. In most cases, the boat doesn't sink immediately, and it is much easier to spot a sailboat, even if it is capsized or awash, than it is to spot individual humans or even a life raft in the water.

One major reason a PLB isn't as good as an EPIRB is that most PLBs need to be held clear of the water to work, and many don't float. Also, at night, the EPIRB is far easier to spot, since it has a built in strobe, which the PLBs generally do not. You'd be really amazed at how long a distance an EPIRB strobe can be seen from at night. Even if the EPIRB was in the interior of the liferaft, the strobe would probably illuminate the entire canopy, causing you to show up as a flashing orange light source, which is clearly not a natural occurrence. :)
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Here is what I do. It may not be right for you, but it makes sense for me.

I have an EPIRB with integral GPS (a GPIRB if you will) mounted at the head of the companionway ladder just inside the boat. It can be reached from the cockpit with a little reach. It is properly registered.

I have a valise life raft in the aft cabin. Offshore I move it under the companionway ladder.

I have a Standard Horizon 850S VHF with GPS and DSC. Ordinarily it is my dinghy radio, but offshore it goes into the ditch bag.

I have just ordered on of the new McMurdo PLBs to carry along on deliveries. My plan is to register is properly but not include (as noted above) the boat-specific information. Offshore on my boat it will go in the ditch bag.

YMMV.
 

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Auspicious—

Does the SH850 have a battery pack that uses AA batteries??? If so, how many does it require and how many watts does it transmit at when on AA batteries.
 

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No, I'm not upset...

I'm just curious as to how you could think leaving an active PLB or EPIRB on the boat is going to help you track it... you aren't going to have access to the information of the EPIRB or PLB track, and the SAR people really don't have the time to provide it to you.

Seriously, if you're going to do something like that to help make your boat findable, use a SPOT messenger in tracking mode... it will run for the same 24 hours as the PLB, but will, if you subscribe to their live tracking service, give you the track of the boat on a webpage, using google earth... This would make far more sense, and is less expensive than a PLB or EPIRB as well. In fact, I wish the SPOT Messenger would operate more than 24 hours before needing to be reset... if it actually operated the 14 days it can run on a set of batteries in tracking mode, you'd have an ideal setup for tracking boats that have been left afloat.

When the SAR people are generally out looking for an activated PLB/EPIRB, the boat, or debris from its sinking, is one of the things they're usually searching for. In most cases, the boat doesn't sink immediately, and it is much easier to spot a sailboat, even if it is capsized or awash, than it is to spot individual humans or even a life raft in the water.

One major reason a PLB isn't as good as an EPIRB is that most PLBs need to be held clear of the water to work, and many don't float. Also, at night, the EPIRB is far easier to spot, since it has a built in strobe, which the PLBs generally do not. You'd be really amazed at how long a distance an EPIRB strobe can be seen from at night. Even if the EPIRB was in the interior of the liferaft, the strobe would probably illuminate the entire canopy, causing you to show up as a flashing orange light source, which is clearly not a natural occurrence. :)
Your reasoning is wrong. A Epirb will be mounted to a fixture of the boat - the PLBs are portable (hopefully kicks off the boat). Between the two what are your options? . What if the Eprib doesn't go off?..PLBs (we have two plus the Eprib).. are meant to be carried with. Spot doesn't offer anything if the boat goes down and it goes down with it. No more than a PLB or EPIRB will. They suffer the same delays that any satellite service suffers (such as the PLB or EPRIB), so your argument is a mute point.

Does the CG spot spots? NO more than do anything else. A website is great - including spot is cool - but most likely will not save your life unless those that are tech savvy are that savvy..Its just how it is..
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, I'm not upset...

I'm just curious as to how you could think leaving an active PLB or EPIRB on the boat is going to help you track it... you aren't going to have access to the information of the EPIRB or PLB track, and the SAR people really don't have the time to provide it to you.

Seriously, if you're going to do something like that to help make your boat findable, use a SPOT messenger in tracking mode... it will run for the same 24 hours as the PLB, but will, if you subscribe to their live tracking service, give you the track of the boat on a webpage, using google earth... This would make far more sense, and is less expensive than a PLB or EPIRB as well. In fact, I wish the SPOT Messenger would operate more than 24 hours before needing to be reset... if it actually operated the 14 days it can run on a set of batteries in tracking mode, you'd have an ideal setup for tracking boats that have been left afloat.

When the SAR people are generally out looking for an activated PLB/EPIRB, the boat, or debris from its sinking, is one of the things they're usually searching for. In most cases, the boat doesn't sink immediately, and it is much easier to spot a sailboat, even if it is capsized or awash, than it is to spot individual humans or even a life raft in the water.
I'm not convinced that a SPOT with interface to google earth would really help anybody not run into a yacht adrift. The 24hrs after you abandon ship nobody steering a freighter will know to log on to google earth and watch out for your yacht. The SAR guys are busy, by your estimation, but I think they'd be more likely and able to warn the shipping masses of a floating hulk. Nevertheless, I feel I'm getting off point here. We keep debating the best way to abandon a floating boat, and neither of us thinks that's a good idea. So moving on...

One major reason a PLB isn't as good as an EPIRB is that most PLBs need to be held clear of the water to work, and many don't float. Also, at night, the EPIRB is far easier to spot, since it has a built in strobe, which the PLBs generally do not. You'd be really amazed at how long a distance an EPIRB strobe can be seen from at night. Even if the EPIRB was in the interior of the liferaft, the strobe would probably illuminate the entire canopy, causing you to show up as a flashing orange light source, which is clearly not a natural occurrence. :)
Hmmm... holding it clear of the water for it to work sounds like a legitimate issue, if it is indeed true. Where did you get that information? I'm not radio-physicist but the 406 beacons are trying to reach satellites, which are generally in the "up" direction. Surely holding one aloft won't make much of a difference in your available horizon. The latest PLB from McMurdo did quite well in tests, even acquiring satellites from inside a Mylar lined bucket in a recent independent test: McMurdo Fast Find PLB - Initial Evaluation - EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm)

The strobe is one definite difference I am aware of. Honestly though, I have to admit that if I were stuck in a raft, a million miles from nowhere, I would contemplate disabling the strobe in order to make the beacon last longer. Bad idea in practice... but I'd think about it. I wonder how much of their bulk, weight and cost go towards battery life designated to making the strobe run for 48Hrs?

MedSailor
 

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Jody-

EPIRBs and PLBs are portable. I have an EPIRB, and it sits in a bag-it is not mounted to the boat. You're making faulty assumptions. The OP wanted to have some way to track the boat if it had to be abandoned. The SPOT Messenger is the only device of the three that allows a non-SAR personnel to track the boat while it is at sea easily. If the boat sinks, then tracking it isn't necessary, is it?

I never said that the SPOT would replace an EPIRB or a PLB in terms of being used as a safety device. If you would actually read what I wrote it would help a lot. My reference to the SPOT messenger was SOLELY for use to help track the boat, if it were abandoned and not in danger of sinking.

Your reasoning is wrong. A Epirb will be mounted to a fixture of the boat - the PLBs are portable (hopefully kicks off the boat). Between the two what are your options? . What if the Eprib doesn't go off?..PLBs (we have two plus the Eprib).. are meant to be carried with. Spot doesn't offer anything if the boat goes down and it goes down with it. No more than a PLB or EPIRB will. They suffer the same delays that any satellite service suffers (such as the PLB or EPRIB), so your argument is a mute point.

Does the CG spot spots? NO more than do anything else. A website is great - including spot is cool - but most likely will not save your life unless those that are tech savvy are that savvy..Its just how it is..
MedSailor-

I never said that the SPOT messenger would help other boats avoid the abandoned boat. My reference to the SPOT messenger was SOLELY for use to help track the boat, if it were abandoned and not in danger of sinking, as per your thoughts of using a PLB to track it.

I'm not convinced that a SPOT with interface to google earth would really help anybody not run into a yacht adrift. The 24hrs after you abandon ship nobody steering a freighter will know to log on to google earth and watch out for your yacht. The SAR guys are busy, by your estimation, but I think they'd be more likely and able to warn the shipping masses of a floating hulk. Nevertheless, I feel I'm getting off point here. We keep debating the best way to abandon a floating boat, and neither of us thinks that's a good idea. So moving on...
Most of the PLB manuals I've read have a section that reads like this, which is from the ACR Aquafix PLB manual:

GPS Antenna Orientation (2797.4 ONLY)
When activated it is critical that you do not cover the front bottom portion of the P-EPIRB with any body part, water, clothing, etc. The GPS Antenna is located under the front bottom portion of the case behind the embossed ACR logo. To ensure proper operation it needs to be unobstructed with a clear view to the sky. Avoid submerging this portion of the P-EPIRB in water if possible, as water will shield and inhibit the GPS receiver and may cause difficulties obtaining LAT/LON coordinates.

4.3 406/121.5 Antenna Position
For maximum performance you must deploy the P-EPIRB antenna into the proper position (see figure 2). The antenna will snap into place and be slightly slanted to the side. Be sure the antenna is positioned facing the sky and avoid submerging in water. If afloat employ all means to keep the P-EPIRB out of the water and the antenna dry. For best results it is important to keep the antenna dry and away from the water. Water acts as a detractor from the performance and reduces the P-EPIRB's effectiveness.
From the McMurdo FastFind PLB manual:

Using the PLB afloat
Although the PLB is buoyant when fitted with the -4 °F battery pack, it is not designed to be used floating in water.
It isn't that holding it aloft is key...keeping water off the antenna is. Water attenuates the signal it puts out and reduces its range considerably.

Hmmm... holding it clear of the water for it to work sounds like a legitimate issue, if it is indeed true. Where did you get that information? I'm not radio-physicist but the 406 beacons are trying to reach satellites, which are generally in the "up" direction. Surely holding one aloft won't make much of a difference in your available horizon. The latest PLB from McMurdo did quite well in tests, even acquiring satellites from inside a Mylar lined bucket in a recent independent test: McMurdo Fast Find PLB - Initial Evaluation - EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm)
Chances are likely that if you haven't been found in 48 hours, you aren't going to be found any time soon. If the SAR personnel have a line on the EPIRB and 48 hours to run it down, they'll usually find it. In the cases that they don't-it is generally because the beacon isn't working properly. :D

The strobe is one definite difference I am aware of. Honestly though, I have to admit that if I were stuck in a raft, a million miles from nowhere, I would contemplate disabling the strobe in order to make the beacon last longer. Bad idea in practice... but I'd think about it. I wonder how much of their bulk, weight and cost go towards battery life designated to making the strobe run for 48Hrs?

MedSailor
 

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Auspicious: That sounds like a prudent and well-considered plan for offshore.

SD: My latest Practical Sailor gives the SH 850 a "recommended" grade, but faults it for low battery life (the LiON pack is small to help the thing float) of about 8 hours with GPS off and 7 hours with GPS on, and recommends the purchase of the optional AA battery pack, which if it's anything like the pack on my SH HX260S (a fairly bulky, over five year old "submersible" that is nonetheless my cockpit radio of choice), is going to pump out more juice for longer, but possibly at the cost of losing the "floating" ability.

Now, if you operate in a liferaft with the concept of "seelonce" in mind, and only call out/monitor during the three minutes at the top of each hour, you're going to get a few weeks' use out of even the 850 model without the alkaline battery pack, at which point I would say that if you had not been rescued, you had bigger problems than a drained VHF.

Me, I have an old Magellan handheld and sealed alkalines in my ditch box. I suspect by the time we go offshore, there will be a better solution and GPS EPIRBs and PLBs will be more common and somewhat cheaper than today.

EDIT: SD, I believe the HX850 transmits at six watts; I have no information to lead me to believe this would be less with alkalines, but I have no confirmation, either.
 

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Just a quick note, not entirely helpful to the thread but might be interesting: I took a tour of a Coast Guard Station last week on the Maine coast. I was asking about response times, eperbs and such..I was told that the Coast Guard gets so many eperb signals that they don't do anything unless there's some other information to back it up. Sounds like the eperb ought to be the last form of comunication in an emergency.
 

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Does the SH850 have a battery pack that uses AA batteries??? If so, how many does it require and how many watts does it transmit at when on AA batteries.
There is a AA battery pack. I don't have one. I do carry a spare rechargeable pack. I try hard to minimize the number of pieces of equipment that take disposable batteries.

Before I push off on a long trip I make sure both packs are charged. I've never had an issue with either use or self-discharge. If a battery pack can't maintain a charge for a couple of weeks and still have reasonable use there is a bigger problem.

More importantly there are chargers included with the radio to charge batteries from either 120VAC or 12VDC.

Based on my personal experience, tons of AA, C, and D batteries can be a real pain to maintain. In the aggregate the cost of keeping a sufficient supply of in-date batteries is more than periodically replacing rechargeable packs. The NiCd Lady (who supports all kinds of battery technologies) is a great source for replacements.
 

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BTW, for disposable batteries, I've tried to keep all of the gear on the boat set for using AA batteries. I also only buy the lithium AA batteries to keep on the boat. The lithium AA batteries are lighter and last longer than the alkalines and have a much longer "good" shelf life, so keeping them in date is far simpler. They typically have a 10 year shelf life with little loss of useable power.
 

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Jody-

EPIRBs and PLBs are portable. I have an EPIRB, and it sits in a bag-it is not mounted to the boat. You're making faulty assumptions. The OP wanted to have some way to track the boat if it had to be abandoned. The SPOT Messenger is the only device of the three that allows a non-SAR personnel to track the boat while it is at sea easily. If the boat sinks, then tracking it isn't necessary, is it?
Your wrong on that assumption. This is the major reason that PLRIBs are given their distinction. A Eprib is registered to a VESSEL... a P- is to a person... MAJOR distinction! You are simply wrong. No offense.
 

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I have an EPRIB that is registered AS A PLB. This is perfectly fine with NOAA, and it is the only way to register an EPIRB if you plan to take it with you when crewing, i.e. onto a vessel that normally doesn't have one.

On the registration papers you can easily add that comment. As long as the phone contacts you have listed know what the story is and what to tell the SAR co-ordinator, it doesn't matter how the beacon is registered, you will get the same attention when they are told who or what they are looking for.

(Note that there are many boats that indulge in a couple of "nearshore" or barely offshore races just once or twice a year, that beg, borrow, or rent an EPIRB for the race and are NOT normally equipped with one. And if you are delivering a boat, or crewing on a delivery...do you want to assume they have one that's in working order?)
 

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Jody, you can change the registration or update of a EPRIB at anytime on the computer. Us delivery guys do it all the time!


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NOAA is proud to announce that the National Beacon Registration Database is now available online! Emergency beacon owners can now register and update their beacons directly via the internet. <o:p></o:p>
If you purchase a new or a used 406 MHz beacon you MUST register it with NOAA as required by law. If you change any information on your registration (such as phone number, address, bought a new boat, etc.) you MUST update your 406 MHz beacon with NOAA. Also, if you sell your 406 MHz beacon, make sure the buyer re-registers the beacon. Otherwise, you may be contacted by rescue authorities if it is activated! Please provide the new owner our phone number or this web page so they can register the beacon.<o:p></o:p>
If you have previously registered your 406 MHz beacon with NOAA but have not accessed your registration information via our new online registration site, you can access your beacon (just be sure you have your 15-digit Unique ID at hand) and view/update your registration now! <o:p></o:p>
The online registration capability is a significant advantage to beacon owners. Now, beacon owners can update their registration information as often as it changes. And the update is done immediately instead of having to wait to either fax or mail your changes in. It is important to note, however, that your registration is valid for only two years and you are required to re-register the beacon every two years so that we can maintain up-to-date records on your contact information. We will attempt to contact you every two years to confirm this information. Please keep in mind, it is important to contact NOAA anytime your contact information changes though! <o:p></o:p>
Please do your part to help us, so that we can help you!<o:p></o:p>
We also encourage you to please add this page to your 'favorites' on your web browser for future referencing. <o:p></o:p>
Should you choose not to register your beacon via the internet, you may print a beacon registration form from the registration website and either mail or fax it in to NOAA. <o:p></o:p>
is required to both view and print these forms. Print from the Adobe Acrobat Tool Bar to negate any browser incompatibilities.
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Mail the original, signed form to NOAA at: <o:p></o:p>
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NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration<o:p></o:p>
NSOF, E/SP3 <o:p></o:p>
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:Street><st1:address style="BACKGROUND-POSITION: left bottom; BACKGROUND-IMAGE: url(res://ietag.dll/#34/#1001); BACKGROUND-REPEAT: repeat-x" tabIndex=0>4231 Suitland Road</st1:address></st1:Street><o:p></o:p>
<st1:place>Suitland</st1:place> MD 20746<o:p></o:p>
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Or, fax the signed form to NOAA at 301-817-4565. <o:p></o:p>
If you have any questions or comments pertaining to beacon registration, please call 301-817-4515 or toll-free at 1-888-212-SAVE (7283). <o:p></o:p>
 
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