Notices
Marine Electronics Forum

911 did not work when you were sinking

Old 10-03-2011, 04:22 AM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1
Default 911 did not work when you were sinking

[B]The USCG does not have 911 capability. They cannot find you when you use a cell phone. All they can do is search a large area and that takes time. You could be dead by the time they get there. The only truly reliabile way when you have a distress is the VHF radio and hopefully a working "DSC" radio. http://www.boatus.com/foundation/. That link will take you to the Boating Safety Foundation. In their education section they can teach you to use a VHF "DSC" radio. That radio can give the USCG your exact position and save you and your kids from drowning. The following link is an excellent tutorial for how to use a VHF DSC radio. Don't blow this off. If something would happen to you and only your wife or kids were aboard, they can push the distress button and be saved. The cell phone is useless and not waterproof. Take the time to look at
http://www.boatus.com/foundation/dsc/player.html. The USCG has spent millions on a system ashore to find you. It is called Rescue 21. Please do the Boatus player and be better prepared in the event of an emergency. SAfety is not sexy nor does it sell radios but maybe being able to save you and your family and your boat will convince you.
rlevin is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 05:12 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 556
Default

I wouldn't say that the cell phone is useless. You call 911, they will have your position either via the phones gps, you giving it to them or triangulation on your signal just as if you were on land. They contact the appropriate emergency responders with your information. I agree that everyone should be aware of the rescue 21 system and have their VHF programmed with an MMSI number and have input from their gps, but there are still plenty of non DSC radio's out there and boats without gps. A VHF radio is not the ONLY way to get help. There are also EPIRB's, PLB's and AIS-SART.

Eric
fairbank56 is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:17 AM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 22,073
Default

There are very few cell phone towers in the ocean.

Many, many people believe a cell phone is a substitute for a VHF radio. Who are you going to call? 911? The USCG (providing you have their phone number)? That boat you can see in the distance (how will you get his/her phone number?)

I talked to a guy at my marina the other day. His VHF antenna was laying down, broken in two and it was apparent that it had been that way for some time. I made a comment about it and he said "Oh, I don't need it, I carry my cell phone with me on the water."

Well, I didn't feel like being an educator that day and I didn't know him so I just smiled and told him to have a good day.

Even without DSC, a mayday call on channel 16 will be heard by anyone in range who is monitoring channel 16 (like the're supposed to be doing). The USCG will hear it and nearby boats may come to your rescue.

That or take your chances with a 911 operator who may or may not have been trained on how to route your call.
rwidman is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:43 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 556
Default

Many boaters are typically within cell phone range. Somebody said a cell phone would be useless. Not so. A quick search will give you lots of stories of water rescues by someone using a cell phone like these.


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A 911 call from one of 17 people on board a boat near the coast of Cape Canaveral prompted a Coast Guard rescue team to jump into action on Thursday. The Coast Guard said the boat was about 15 miles northeast from the shore of Cape Canaveral. One of the people on board the 23-foot recreational vessel called 911.


Three family members whose boat became stuck in the mud near the mouth of the Petaluma River Friday afternoon were rescued by a Coast Guard boat crew. The boaters, including a father, son and daughter, were traveling in a 19-foot Sea Ray motorcraft when it grounded on the silty bottom of the tidal waterway near the Highway 37 bridge. The father jumped out to try and free the vessel but became stuck in the mud himself. The son also jumped out and was unable to free his father or the boat. The daughter used a cell phone to call 911 about 2 p.m, the Coast Guard reported. A rescue boat from the Coast Guard Station Vallejo on the Napa River arrived on the scene in about 30 minutes. Also dispatched to the scene were a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station San Francisco, on Treasure Island, the Sonoma County Sheriff's marine unit and the rescue helicopter Henry 1.



A cell phone is not a substitute for using the rescue 21 system for distress on the water but it is certainly not useless if your within range. Sea Tow says that 80% of boater service calls come from cell phones. Coast Guard statistics for the source of distress calls show that only a tiny percentage of them have been initiated by DSC. Last year there were 263 DSC calls, compared with 15,882 voice calls over VHF channel 16. More disturbingly from the Coast Guard’s point of view, 7,285 rescue calls were made using cell phones, the method the Coast Guard considers least preferable

Eric

Last edited by fairbank56; 10-03-2011 at 07:02 AM.
fairbank56 is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:43 AM
  #5  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Upper NC
Posts: 2,299
Default

Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
There are very few cell phone towers in the ocean.

Many, many people believe a cell phone is a substitute for a VHF radio. Who are you going to call? 911? The USCG (providing you have their phone number)? That boat you can see in the distance (how will you get his/her phone number?)

I talked to a guy at my marina the other day. His VHF antenna was laying down, broken in two and it was apparent that it had been that way for some time. I made a comment about it and he said "Oh, I don't need it, I carry my cell phone with me on the water."

Well, I didn't feel like being an educator that day and I didn't know him so I just smiled and told him to have a good day.

Even without DSC, a mayday call on channel 16 will be heard by anyone in range who is monitoring channel 16 (like the're supposed to be doing). The USCG will hear it and nearby boats may come to your rescue.

That or take your chances with a 911 operator who may or may not have been trained on how to route your call.
Agree with you 100% Ron about the importance of having that VHF ready to go, but yes I do have the USCG local number programmed into my so called water proof cell phone and have tested the number to be sure it called the right place. Obviously not worth a crap if you are well off shore.....I just consider it an extra safety measure
polarred21 is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 07:38 AM
  #6  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 22,073
Default

Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
............ Sea Tow says that 80% of boater service calls come from cell phones. ........
Of course they do. Do you want the whole world to know that you ran out of fuel or got stuck on a sand bar? ;?

A cell phone can be a help on the water, but it's no substitute for a proper, working VHF radio. For $200 or so, you can buy a radio and antenna. Not top of the line, but functional. If your safety and the safety of your passengers or family isn't worth $200, you shouldn't be boating.
rwidman is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 07:46 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,685
Default

Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Of course they do. Do you want the whole world to know that you ran out of fuel or got stuck on a sand bar? ;?

A cell phone can be a help on the water, but it's no substitute for a proper, working VHF radio. For $200 or so, you can buy a radio and antenna. Not top of the line, but functional. If your safety and the safety of your passengers or family isn't worth $200, you shouldn't be boating.
Wise words...way too many numbnutz out in the ocean without working radios. Try your cell phone in the stream off NC....it won't work. Yes, you may have some nice analog Cellphone...if so, you should have bought a VHF.
bigfishhooker is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 08:06 AM
  #8  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Annapolis
Posts: 1,929
Default

So you defend a cell phone as a viable emergency source. What do you think the numbnutz will conclude? Don't be so quick to stand on trivia.
sandyda is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 08:07 AM
  #9  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: mass/Point Judith, RI dockage
Posts: 11,841
Default

One other thing to consider is the cg isn't really geared to taking phone calls. The numbers, even if they are for your local station, may take time to get you to someone who gives a hoot. The cg also isn't hooked into e911.

e911 doesn't always have working contacts for the coast guard.

The result is a lot of delay in getting you assistance, and if your phone dies mid-call you are sol. You didn't speak with anyone who could get the info they need to help you.

Non-emergencies, great, go for it.

Like it or not, Marine Emergency Response is geared to VHF communications and offshoots like DSC and AIS.

Go ahead and use your cell phones though, but if they are anything like mine, expect to drop your call when you need it most.
gerg is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 11:56 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 574
Default

I boat on the upper Potomac just south of DC. Every season since 2004 I have heard of emergencies in our area where boaters thought cell phones would do the job. Several boats are at the bottom of the river due to that thought.

Here the problem is that a 911 call usually results in a call to the firehouse... and those guys don't walk on water. VHF and DSC are the right way to go. Cell phones are a poor substitute, the towers are not physically placed for optimum boater use. They are placed for maximum Interstate and major highway access. 911 is not optimized for boater emergencies that falls to the Coast Guard, which works closely with DNR of the various states. When seconds count, do you really want to suffer the minutes response of 911?

A hammer can be used for a screwdriver, but it doesn't do a very good job.


KKKKFL
Franco2boat is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 12:17 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 493
Default

Originally Posted by gerg View Post
One other thing to consider is the cg isn't really geared to taking phone calls. The numbers, even if they are for your local station, may take time to get you to someone who gives a hoot. The cg also isn't hooked into e911.

e911 doesn't always have working contacts for the coast guard.

The result is a lot of delay in getting you assistance, and if your phone dies mid-call you are sol. You didn't speak with anyone who could get the info they need to help you.

Non-emergencies, great, go for it.

Like it or not, Marine Emergency Response is geared to VHF communications and offshoots like DSC and AIS.

Go ahead and use your cell phones though, but if they are anything like mine, expect to drop your call when you need it most.
Depends entirely on where you are located. On the coasts in Rescue21 areas, that is true.

Where I am (inland water bodies), there is a large area and a single Coast Guard auxiliary boat and maybe one sheriff boat per county. Easiest way to get help is to flag down another boater, second easiest is to place a call on 16. The sheriff operates several VHF repeaters and it would typically be answered by the 911 dispatcher. The Coast Guard I believe does not have full-time dispatch where we are nor a repeater to a full-time office.

None of the emergency services are, as far as I know, capable of receiving DSC calls and DSC is infrequently used. People are not used to responding to a DSC emergency. I have a fixed DSC VHF on each boat with MMSI programmed and wired to GPS, as well as a HX851. In an emergency, the LAST thing I would try would be a DSC distress call and/or flares.

The best thing is to know what is appropriate for your particular situation, and don't make assumptions about what's best for everyone.
TheLucille is offline  
Old 10-03-2011, 12:54 PM
  #12  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
THT sponsor
Marine Advertiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 22,187
Default

An EPIRB can also get fast response and is very accurate and is a great compliment to VHF in an emergency.

I have a very good friend who was fishing alone last year only a few miles offshore and suffered a heart attack .He was only able to activate the EPIRB before loosing conciseness.

The CG was able to locate and he survived.

A VHF and cell phone were not an option for him.

Last edited by semperfifishing; 10-03-2011 at 02:56 PM.
semperfifishing is online now  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:08 PM
  #13  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
THT sponsor
Marine Advertiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 22,187
Default

Recent news of quick action saving lives..


http://news.yahoo.com/paraplegic-ski...070154242.html
semperfifishing is online now  
Old 10-04-2011, 01:35 PM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Thornton's Ferry,NH,USA
Posts: 10,728
Default

I used 911 once to call the USCG. They were already working the emergency and I didn't want to "walk on" the casualty. I listenned to the traffic and the USCG station ID'd themselves clearly and the 911 operator was able to transfer me.

Once the transfer was made it took them about another 5-10 minutes to route me to someone that was in the "situation" department. Because of this delay I would not recomend using 911 as your primary tool on the ocean. The USCG has also mde this recomendtion and in the areas where they had a test servicefor cell emergenices they discontinued it a few years back. It was just not efficient enough.
Kamper is offline  
Old 10-04-2011, 01:54 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,458
Default

Originally Posted by semperfifishing View Post
An EPIRB can also get fast response and is very accurate and is a great compliment to VHF in an emergency.

I have a very good friend who was fishing alone last year only a few miles offshore and suffered a heart attack .He was only able to activate the EPIRB before loosing conciseness.

The CG was able to locate and he survived.

A VHF and cell phone were not an option for him.
Could he not have pressed the red button on the VHF/DSC just as easily as pressing the button on the EPIRB? No satellite delays would have been involved, either.

My gripe is that VHF radios don't have integral GPS receivers (except the SH handhelds).
Karl in NY is offline  
Old 10-04-2011, 02:08 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 196
Default

Originally Posted by Kamper View Post
I used 911 once to call the USCG. They were already working the emergency and I didn't want to "walk on" the casualty. I listenned to the traffic and the USCG station ID'd themselves clearly and the 911 operator was able to transfer me.

Once the transfer was made it took them about another 5-10 minutes to route me to someone that was in the "situation" department. Because of this delay I would not recomend using 911 as your primary tool on the ocean. The USCG has also mde this recomendtion and in the areas where they had a test servicefor cell emergenices they discontinued it a few years back. It was just not efficient enough.
I remember a similar incident happening to me a long time ago, but I was on the other side of the phone call.

I was standing quarterdeck watch on board a ship not to long after graduating boot camp, basically answering incoming phone calls, greeting visitors, and keeping track of crew members coming and going. I had zero experience with Search and Rescue, had never been on a boat smaller than a football field, and didn't know the first thing about helping a rec boater in distress. However, someone on a disabled boat needed help, called directory assistance, and our number was what popped up. Not knowing what to do I got there number, put them on hold and called my supervisor. He had me get their details and call the CG Group with the info. I don't know what happened to the boater, but I assume everything worked out since I never read about a fatality in the paper. Either way, the situation could have been much different and turned out very bad. Over the years that's happened a couple of times and now I'm better prepared to deal with it, but you never know what you'll get or how long of a delay it will take to get the info to the right person.

So my point, don't assume that you are calling someone that can help you when you dial a random CG number in the phone book. You may be calling a computer tech, a supply clerk, the FNG two weeks out of boot, or you might luck out and get someone that actually knows how to deal with the situation.

I would like to think that 911 knows better than directory assistance, but having worked with 911 dispatchers I don't know that it's the case. Especially when it comes to more complicated issues like flare sightings.
ak_j is offline  
Old 10-04-2011, 02:49 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 556
Default

Originally Posted by Kamper View Post
The USCG has also mde this recomendtion and in the areas where they had a test servicefor cell emergenices they discontinued it a few years back. It was just not efficient enough.
Except for Alaskan waters:

The one exception to the discontinuance of the *CG specialized
keying sequence is the Alaskan cellular phone region. Cell phone
companies operating in Alaska all have the *CG feature available,
and because the Coast Guard has a single number for routing those
emergency calls, the cellular and Coast Guard regions are fully
aligned; calls are not missed and cannot be misdirected. The *CG
feature will remain active in Alaskan waters.
fairbank56 is offline  
Old 10-04-2011, 03:49 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 196
Default

Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
Except for Alaskan waters:

The one exception to the discontinuance of the *CG specialized
keying sequence is the Alaskan cellular phone region. Cell phone
companies operating in Alaska all have the *CG feature available,
and because the Coast Guard has a single number for routing those
emergency calls, the cellular and Coast Guard regions are fully
aligned; calls are not missed and cannot be misdirected. The *CG
feature will remain active in Alaskan waters.
Unlike the lower 48, there is more cell phone coverage of the coastline than VHF coverage.

Unfortunately the CG in Alaska also also does not have DSC, but the discontinuance of *CG happened in the lower 48 before the widespread availability of DSC anyway.
ak_j is offline  
Old 10-04-2011, 04:53 PM
  #19  
Joe
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Mt Pleasant, SC
Posts: 16,293
Default

Everytime I've ever listened to conversation with the coast guard on the VHF, one of the first things they ask for is a cell phone number.
Joe is offline  
Old 10-04-2011, 05:12 PM
  #20  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 22,073
Default

Originally Posted by Joe View Post
Everytime I've ever listened to conversation with the coast guard on the VHF, one of the first things they ask for is a cell phone number.
What's your point? TowBoatUS and SeaTow will do that also. It makes the conversation easier because it's duplex and it frees up the radio spectrum for other traffic.

They're not going to do that if you're sinking.
rwidman is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.