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PLB or EPIRB

Old 06-13-2013, 09:13 PM
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Default PLB or EPIRB

I'm trying to decide what type of beacon to purchase. I fish out of Saint Petersburg and rarely venture further than 40 miles offshore. I already have a VHF with DSC hooked to my gps and a backup handheld.
Old 06-13-2013, 09:41 PM
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http://www.soundingsonline.com/news/...572-plbvsepirb

http://powerboat.about.com/od/safety...epirborplb.htm
Old 06-14-2013, 04:57 AM
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Get one with GPS, 40nm is some distance for rescuers to come get you & it will be really difficult to find you in the dark, more so when seperated from the vessel.
Each really have their strengths, a PLB can be carried by an individual so if you fish alone they are great. Make a crewman wear one if you are at the helm in a wheelhouse & he is on deck on his own. Their effectiveness may be limited unless that person is wearing a lifejacket in anything other than flat near tropical conditions as they have to be activated & held facing skyward by the user.
EPIRBs come in various flavours, the GPS float free versions are great. If suddenly swamped/capsized it will self activate & float free to continue transmitting. They can be taken to your liferaft, tied off & floated outside to continue transmitting while you concentrate on surviving.
My starting point would be with the EPIRB & if you do run single handed or have crew alone on deck where you cannot see them all of the time, get a PLB as well. In any event include GPS because of the area you are operating in. Survival times may be very limited & dependant upon where satellites are, your unit may not get it's first signal out for up to an hour or two with postion updates equally dependant upon the satellite locations.
Old 06-14-2013, 05:03 AM
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I don't venture offshore too often - when I do it's limited to 50 miles... that said - I realize that the DSC function on my radio may or may not work at that range - I'm not 100% confident that, short of a ship to ship, the VHF range would reach the CG or SeaTow...

In the end I went with the ACR 2881 PLB.
Old 06-14-2013, 05:21 AM
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If you have the funds, I'd say both. I keep the PLB in the ditch bag and an EPIRB next to the front passenger seat. I also have SAT phone. You should be aware, that if you run out of gas and you're 40 miles out, and setoff that EPIRB or PLB, the CG comes and gets you with a helicopter and leaves the boat out there. I can call the coast guard or Seatow with the SAT phone and let them knowit is a non-emergency. Food for thought.
Old 06-14-2013, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by BottomPicker View Post
If you have the funds, I'd say both. I keep the PLB in the ditch bag and an EPIRB next to the front passenger seat. I also have SAT phone. You should be aware, that if you run out of gas and you're 40 miles out, and setoff that EPIRB or PLB, the CG comes and gets you with a helicopter and leaves the boat out there. I can call the coast guard or Seatow with the SAT phone and let them knowit is a non-emergency. Food for thought.
Get a SPOT or similar you won't be sorry you got it. We have an EPIRB, PLB, DSC radio, handheld vhf and a SPOT The spot has a need help feature on the older ones and the newer ones even allow text messaging (haven't upgraded to it don't want to be that in touch )
Old 06-14-2013, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CaptainMadMike View Post
Get a SPOT or similar you won't be sorry you got it. We have an EPIRB, PLB, DSC radio, handheld vhf and a SPOT The spot has a need help feature on the older ones and the newer ones even allow text messaging (haven't upgraded to it don't want to be that in touch )
SPOT?

EPIRB <> PLB then .......... SPOT, in that order, lets not confuse semi social media with distress beacons
Old 06-14-2013, 08:33 PM
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I boat alone at times. I bought a PLB so I can clip it to my belt in case I wind up in the water. In that case, an EPIRB would be useless. Plus, you can take it with you on other boats. Going offshore 40 mi, always with others, get the EPIRB AND a liferaft. If going alone, add the PLB and wear it.
Old 06-14-2013, 08:43 PM
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At the risk of looking like I am hijacking the thread , in our waters, hypothermia sets in within half hour. Is there any value in these devices?
Old 06-15-2013, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
At the risk of looking like I am hijacking the thread , in our waters, hypothermia sets in within half hour. Is there any value in these devices?
Yes, there may be other vessels within the area able to respond to the coastguard call.
Yes, if you get into a liferaft.
Yes, if you want your body to be found & your life insurance to be released to your family.
The last point is the reason why I carry both, I fish UK, I'm 60 miles offshore, I'm 50+, if I miss the liferaft I'm not going home but I don't want my family to wait 6 years for the insurance pay out.
On a lighter note hope = survival, if you have set off one of these devices you may have the incentive to hang on,on the other hand sitting in the water without one hoping someone will happen along - that doesn't sound promising.
Old 06-15-2013, 03:56 AM
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PLB tethered to my inflatable lifejacket in case I fall into the drink.
Old 06-15-2013, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
At the risk of looking like I am hijacking the thread , in our waters, hypothermia sets in within half hour. Is there any value in these devices?
Your prioritize by conditions not by product. Mitigate your highest risk.

Lots of value. Lets say you went in the drink, you've got your dry suit on or in a life raft... OK your alive and that's great!... now what?
Old 06-15-2013, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
At the risk of looking like I am hijacking the thread , in our waters, hypothermia sets in within half hour. Is there any value in these devices?
Well here in the good ole gulf of mexico you could float for days!
Old 06-15-2013, 09:32 AM
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Think about who gets called, and how, when any of these locators are turned on:

PLBs and EPIRBs call the GMDSS system. This is the Satellite to GMDSS offices to Coast Guard Circuit. This is the big leagues. It should work all over the world.

The DSC button on your VHF radio will broadcast your position over a line of site distance ONLY IF it is wired to your GPS. If your GPS is not connected to your VHF radio, the Coast Guard will hear it, but will have to triangulate your position. At twenty miles out that can mean a very large piece of Ocean to search. I personally would prefer to get home a bit earlier, so I connect those tiny little wires.

There is a new wave of PLBs undergoing FCC approval that work differently. They all broadcast position information, but some use the AIS frequencies, which can be heard and tracked by big ships and boats with AIS receivers. Others use the DSC frequency which can be heard by a larger group: any VHF radio sold in the US since 1999.

A third group are much less expensive transmitters that use a private satellite system, and are monitored by a commercial service, who will then notify the Coast Guard. If you pay for it, they will even launch a private rescue to get you; think helicopters and mercenaries. This group includes the SPOT transmitters, my favorite, the DeLorme InReach, and others. They have some truly amazing features.

SO I SUGGEST:
For inland waters In a kayak, canoe, or small boat without a fixed VHF radio where the Coast Guard has a reduced presence: Wear a SPOT type device.

For inland waters and near coastal areas with a boat that can carry a fixed mount VHF, connect the radio to a GPS source. On a tight budget, carry a SPOT type device. If you have a bit more spare change wear a PLB. Then get one for the First Mate.

for Coastal waters out to 20 or 25 miles in bigger vessels: Connect the radio and GPS and mount the VHF antenna as high as possible. Carry a portable radio with GPS and DSC.

Offshore: You're too far away for VHF DSC to reach the Coast Guard; an EPIRB is a must. Anyone working on deck at night should wear a life jacket, carry whistles and flashlights, and a PLB. When they become available, you should have a PLB that has either DSC or AIS signals for everyone on deck at night or in rough conditions. That means they can be found by the boat they fell off of, or any other vessel within 6 to 20 miles.

When you are riding with someone else: carry a SPOT type device. Turn it on all the time and She-who-must-be-obeyed can track you on the internet. That can also be a bad thing. Carry spare batteries, preferably the longest-lifed ones around.
Old 06-15-2013, 09:41 AM
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I have now taken about five trips with the spot, the company that I work for provides us with one on every long voyage. This also provides our families a way to track us from home. I will say I am not impressed with the spot at all. The spot will go out of track mode with out you even knowing, if you do not have a clear site to the sky it will stop tracking. It is not user friendly and the message feature fails more times than not. Maybe they have updated since I last used it about five months ago??
Old 06-15-2013, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jstarion View Post
I'm trying to decide what type of beacon to purchase. I fish out of Saint Petersburg and rarely venture further than 40 miles offshore. I already have a VHF with DSC hooked to my gps and a backup handheld.
Get both, PLB and EPIRB; the PLB to wear if conditions get dicey or fishing alone and the EPIRB to stay in the ditch bag till' really needed. The VHF should be enough for a non-emergency call but Spot's not a bad additional tool for non-emergency calls. I have the Spot messenger but just don't use it that often so it has turned into something else to keep up with.

A handheld VHF is the last piece that one really should have going out that far. If everything else failed including ship battery power, that handheld with built in GPS could be the ticket to getting assistance from someone close by.

Last edited by GulfC; 06-15-2013 at 04:45 PM.
Old 06-15-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptainMadMike View Post
Get a SPOT or similar you won't be sorry you got it. We have an EPIRB, PLB, DSC radio, handheld vhf and a SPOT The spot has a need help feature on the older ones and the newer ones even allow text messaging (haven't upgraded to it don't want to be that in touch )
SPOT?? LMAO, the "facebook" of rescue systems. Forget SPOT junk, do google search about actual cases where people tried to use them. One that comes to mind put rescuers hours later 25+ miles from victim. JUNK,TOY.

Also to the other poster who states "on a budget get the spot..." You obviously don't realize you have to PAY EVERY MONTH for the spot toy. The PLB/EPIRB are free of any monthly charge.
Old 06-16-2013, 08:05 PM
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a few average prices and deployment tips to help you

EPIRB automatically transmits when wet and out of its bracket
ACR 2875 SATELLITE3 406 (NO GPS) EPIRB $440
ACR 2844 GLOBALFIX PRO (with GPS) CAT II $646

PLLB needs to be turned on, antenna deployed then held upright to get GPS signal
ACR 2881 RESQLINK PLUS PLB375 (floating with GPS) $259
Old 06-16-2013, 08:12 PM
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I just bought an ACR Resqlink+ from BPS cause they were going a deal where you break it into 6 payments instead of paying all up front. ACR is also doing a $50 rebate on it as well, so it needs up being like $230 for a PLB. Pretty cheap insurance in the end. Now I wish I could find a pouch I can put it up that can clip to my belt or waist so I can keep it on my while out. If I was going to make a ditch bag I would have a good hand held VHF in there so when you are found you can communicate with rescuers. If I ever owned a boat i took offshore id have a ditch bag with a liferaft as well.
Old 06-16-2013, 08:39 PM
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ACR 2875 SATELLITE3 406 (NO GPS) EPIRB $440

I got mine for $425 at Tuppens plus the $50 rebate. It does have a gps interface plug where you can plug it into your nmea network and gain thte gps feature.

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