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Will Your GPIRB Work?

Old 12-13-2003, 07:51 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Round Pond Harbor, Maine
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Default Will Your GPIRB Work?

In the January 2004 Power and Motoryacht Ben Ellison's Electronics column discusses SARSAT. It contains:

quote:In the course of researching this column, I discovered that the Coast Guard and NOAA, concerned about the low number of successful GPS-assisted SARSAT calls, did some real-world testing off Key West, Florida, last year. I've read the report, and it's disturbing.

Some models seemed to deliver GPS position poorly, if at all. But the report is also brand confidential and controversial. Only ACR, proud of the apparent high performance of models like the GlobalFix (pictured on opposite page), has identified its own coded test units; other manufacturers say that the whole test procedure was flawed. I've also spoken with experts who say that EPIRB and PLB certification standards are weak, and hence we need to worry about claimed battery lives and transmit powers. Ugh!

I am not happy to report this possible messiness in what I believe is an amazing safety system, but I can add some good news.

The Equipped to Survive Foundation is planning on launching a better-designed program (with more public testing), which will be sponsored in part by West Marine and the BoatUS Foundation that may have taken place by the time this issue prints. Everyone involved is hopeful that the Key West results turn out to have been an anomaly, but whatever the outcome, I'll at least summarize the results in this column when they're available.

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