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What's the point of a PLB?

Old 10-09-2015, 05:18 PM
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when I sold my boat this spring I one of the first things I did was get an acr rescue PLB, I think the price has fallen a little on these, it does have it's limitations on operating it but I like the fact that you can take it on land or water, but the boat definately needs an epirb!
Old 10-09-2015, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pas View Post
well why don't you provide us with your definition then Mr know it all??

I can initiate a distress call with my Delorme, I can send out my position with it, anyone with the link to my tracking page with internet access can see the last point transmitted. Seems like it does a pretty good job of providing the location of my person, and it is waterproof and designed for use in the water.
But that does NOT make it a "PLB", my SPOT does that as well, has a tracking page, can send SMS etc etc etc BUT a SPOT is not a PLB either, as I said lets not confuse the two, one is basically a social media device operated by a third party under subscription, the other is a serious rescue beacon service provided free to air and supported by multiple countries but a PLB (as such) is not the best in a marine environment. So no, don;t confuse a PLB with a social media device, not the same.

The sooner the US mandate EPIRB's in a marine environment then this type of discussion will end, needs to happen sooner than latter.
Old 10-09-2015, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by isitstuffed View Post
No they don't transmit the same signal. Nor to a ground station.
An EPIRB is programmed with either Radio Call Sign, Maritime MMSI number OR Serialised number issued by the flag state authority. Also whether auto or manually deployed. Whether the EPIRB was the first on board, GPS coordinates and other info...PLBs are not specifically intended for marine use and not programmed as such. Like I said the choice is yours as to whether or not you use the proper equipment, and supplement it with a PLB.
Well you just confirmed you are confused

Apart from the fact that PLB's are not intended for marine use (that is correct) they are however exactly almost the same as an Epirb, same signal, same satellite/s, same ground stations, same response, just shorter battery life and not desgned for a water environment.
Old 10-09-2015, 07:42 PM
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=isitstuffed;8325920] PLBs are not specifically intended for marine use .
Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
Well you just confirmed you are confused

Apart from the fact that PLB's are not intended for marine use (that is correct)

They most certainly are.
Maybe the manufacturer incorrectly has them listed in their Marine section.
https://www.acrartex.com/products/marine/
Old 10-09-2015, 07:48 PM
  #45  
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Where in the heck did you determine that a PLB is not intended for marine use? Mine are (I have 2, plus SPOT) waterproof, float, and are designed for boating use. I would hazard a guess that most PLBs are purchased by and for boaters.
Old 10-09-2015, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by isitstuffed View Post
Yes the hydro release unit used in Auto Release enclosure, at a certain water pressure, cuts a plastic bolt allowing a spring to blow the EPIRB enclosure in half and launch it underwater. The HRU as it is called is also used to release life rafts. The EPIRB for Class 1 Auto has water contacts to turn it on. (although some use magnetic reed switches like Kannad) No user intervention required. It will transmit this 'release' method to geostationary Inmarsat satellites. If it sends GPS Position there is no need to wait for the polar orbiting satellites to obtain a Doppler position, it just receives it. Inmarsat C via the maritime rescue coordination centre (MRCC) will set alarms off on every GMDSS vessel within the search area advising vessels of the MMSI number or radio call sign and therefore description of vessel held in the database. That info automatically comes up on screens at MRCC centres in whatever country is responsible as encoded in the 15 digit hex uin. For non commercial vessels with no HF comms the MMSI is now freely available to all for DSC AIS etc. The EPIRB supplier can have it programmed for you accordingly. So at the end of the day and ignoring the argument of being "close to shore and doesn't warrant it" the system is freely available, and it will within seconds... know of your distress, know where you are, know what you look like and can deploy assets such as commercial vessels and aircraft already in your vicinity. So all things considered, this subject of PLBs vs EPIRBs is a no brainer. Get both!!
List of LEO's & GEO's that distress beacons (EPIRB, PLB & ELT's) currently use

LEO's SarSat-7, 10, 11, 12 & 13, three of which are NOAA (USA) and two are Metop (ESA)

GEO's GOES-13, 14, 15 (all USA), Insat 3A & 3D (Indian), MSG-2 & 3 (ESA), Electro-L1 (NASA), Louch-5A & 5V (Thales / Russia) but both not operational and still under test.


So very curious to hear where Inmarsat fit into all of this ;?

Last edited by Kerry; 10-09-2015 at 08:06 PM.
Old 10-09-2015, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CAP1 View Post
They most certainly are.
Maybe the manufacturer incorrectly has them listed in their Marine section.
https://www.acrartex.com/products/marine/
Typically a EPIRB requires 48 hour battery life and will operate unsupported floating in water, if a PLB does that then fine, if not then you have a issue.

The US are a little behind in all of this but no doubt they will catch up when EPIRB become mandated, not a case of if but when. In line with world best practice then EPIRB will be mandatory, a PLB will be optional as an addition, however a PLB by itself will NOT meet requirements

If there wasn't any difference then there would be no need to built different versions, would there
Old 10-09-2015, 09:05 PM
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There are lots of interesting stories, the Cospas Sarsat archives are full of them, what around 37 thousand plus now with around 2,200 persons in 2013 alone.

In fact in the US there would probably be a few more people alive if Epirb's were mandated, this is what Epirb's are in fact made for, boating, doesn't stop individuals from carrying PLB but until the US gets serious and at least makes a start with mandating something then people will continue to be lost.

We need to go beyond the thinking regardless if Epirb's self deploy or not and in the majority of users on this site, self deploy is generally absolutely useless, a lot of boaties need a little direction on this one.
Old 10-09-2015, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
List of LEO's & GEO's that distress beacons (EPIRB, PLB & ELT's) currently use

LEO's SarSat-7, 10, 11, 12 & 13, three of which are NOAA (USA) and two are Metop (ESA)

GEO's GOES-13, 14, 15 (all USA), Insat 3A & 3D (Indian), MSG-2 & 3 (ESA), Electro-L1 (NASA), Louch-5A & 5V (Thales / Russia) but both not operational and still under test.


So very curious to hear where Inmarsat fit into all of this ;?
Inmarsat are 4 Communications geostationary satellites currently being replaced by Inmarsat 5. Of which 2 Global Xpress satellites were launched in 2013 and one in Feb 2015 which are Broadband and capable of spot, fixed, narrow and steerable beams. The last one is scheduled for delivery 2016. Inmarsat is part of the GMDSS SYSTEM THEY ARE ABLE TO DETECT EPIRB TRANSMISSIONS but only within the footprint of the transponders. They are an early warning for COSpas Sarsat. Every ship on the planet is in communication via sat C.
The polar orbiting satellites you refer to are the Doppler satellites measuring their orbit compared to a distress signals. There are 2 of them going around the poles with the earth rotating below. They need to pass over the EPIRB to take measurements. It takes upto 10 hours. GPS enabled EPIRBS can transmit to the geostationary satellites which communicate with anywhere on the planet and not restricted by individual countries satelites used for TV etc.
Old 10-09-2015, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
Well you just confirmed you are confused

Apart from the fact that PLB's are not intended for marine use (that is correct) they are however exactly almost the same as an Epirb, same signal, same satellite/s, same ground stations, same response, just shorter battery life and not desgned for a water environment.
Are you perhaps thinking of personal ELT's?
As others note, PLBs are certainly for marine use by a person in the water in spite of extra effort to send the emergency signal compared to the quite bulky , floating , self-activating EPIRBs.
Old 10-09-2015, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CAP1 View Post
They most certainly are.
Maybe the manufacturer incorrectly has them listed in their Marine section.
https://www.acrartex.com/products/marine/
PLBs are for anyone, anywhere. As for what Manufacturers say...they seek markets and package the same thing for skiiers in the Alps. I rest my case.
Old 10-09-2015, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
Well you just confirmed you are confused

Apart from the fact that PLB's are not intended for marine use (that is correct) they are however exactly almost the same as an Epirb, same signal, same satellite/s, same ground stations, same response, just shorter battery life and not designed for a water environment.
May I suggest you go to the Cospas website and key in your PLB Hex UIN then do the same for an EPIRB. The latter will advise in distress message that you are Maritime, not Aviation, you have a number of EPIBS on board and this is number #, that deployment was manual or automatic, what the MMSI number is, to enable ships and aircraft to know what your vessel looks like and it goes on. The difference between a PLB and EPIRB is the information, not the method. The distress message is to effect a very expensive rescue and a ship on the horizon will be bound by law to come to your aid, if only to shut up the bridge alarms. But the ship is contacted by the GMDSS whereby the G stands for Global.
Old 10-10-2015, 12:07 AM
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Gee ya just shake ya head at some of the above crap, talk about misinformation but then again this is the i n t e r n e t so must be gospel
Old 10-10-2015, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
Gee ya just shake ya head at some of the above crap, talk about misinformation but then again this is the i n t e r n e t so must be gospel
Well shake away....You seem to have a knack for degrading the thread discussion to vulgarity. I responded to post No1 not you, and you got yourself out of your depth by sprouting a list of pay TV satellites and retreated to using gutter language. What do they say, the best form of defence is attack.. you aren't too good at that either. Wrap a couple of brain cells around this...http://www.inmarsat.com/service-group/safety/

I do not go into complex discussion or brag about my qualifications and certainly wouldn't enter into a battles of wits with an unarmed man, or woman, but in your case I'll make an exception.
Before retirement the only Australian in Australia authorised by Kannad (Sierp) McMurdo to service, program and repair their EPIRBs to component level, was me. Was also authorised to service carry out battery replacements and program Alden and Litton. Program GME and ACR. Reprogramed EPIRBs under IMO, SOLAS, AMSA, Lloyds Register and DNV on commercial ships. blah blah blah
Technology advances and things change, this is not the forum for in depth discussion and in so doing bore everyone with technical mumbo jumbo or in your case apply one-upmanship. If you think 30 years of my experience is 'crap' do yourself a favour and don't go any cruise ships, that way you will be sure not to need an EPIRB I may have programmed. As I respected your comments, following this stunt, I've changed my mind Kannad do make a PLB that lasts 48 hours. Your comment they only operate 24 hours is crap, so shake away.
Old 10-10-2015, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by isitstuffed View Post
Well shake away....You seem to have a knack for degrading the thread discussion to vulgarity. I responded to post No1 not you, and you got yourself out of your depth by sprouting a list of pay TV satellites and retreated to using gutter language. What do they say, the best form of defence is attack.. you aren't too good at that either. Wrap a couple of brain cells around this...http://www.inmarsat.com/service-group/safety/

I do not go into complex discussion or brag about my qualifications and certainly wouldn't enter into a battles of wits with an unarmed man, or woman, but in your case I'll make an exception.
Before retirement the only Australian in Australia authorised by Kannad (Sierp) McMurdo to service, program and repair their EPIRBs to component level, was me. Was also authorised to service carry out battery replacements and program Alden and Litton. Program GME and ACR. Reprogramed EPIRBs under IMO, SOLAS, AMSA, Lloyds Register and DNV on commercial ships. blah blah blah
Technology advances and things change, this is not the forum for in depth discussion and in so doing bore everyone with technical mumbo jumbo or in your case apply one-upmanship. If you think 30 years of my experience is 'crap' do yourself a favour and don't go any cruise ships, that way you will be sure not to need an EPIRB I may have programmed. As I respected your comments, following this stunt, I've changed my mind Kannad do make a PLB that lasts 48 hours. Your comment they only operate 24 hours is crap, so shake away.
Then you should dam well know there are more than 2 LEO's as per your previous statement

....The polar orbiting satellites you refer to are the Doppler satellites measuring their orbit compared to a distress signals. There are 2 of them going around the poles with the earth rotating below....
I know there are 5 LEO's, these being the Doppler sats as previously provided
SarSat-7, 10, 11, 12 & 13, three of which are NOAA (USA) and two are Metop (ESA)
Yet you try and tell me there are only 2, and if you can't even get this right then no amount of qualifications can justify your lacking.

Why this subject even degenerated into the GDMSS sphere is beyond me, obviously somebody trying to make out they know a lot about very little.

At least refresh your browser or read some current info, 2 LEO's is way back in the last century.
Old 10-10-2015, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
Then you should dam well know there are more than 2 LEO's as per your previous statement



I know there are 5 LEO's, these being the Doppler sats as previously provided

Yet you try and tell me there are only 2, and if you can't even get this right then no amount of qualifications can justify your lacking.

Why this subject even degenerated into the GDMSS sphere is beyond me, obviously somebody trying to make out they know a lot about very little.

At least refresh your browser or read some current info, 2 LEO's is way back in the last century.
Yes you are correct, The Russians who owned the 2 satellites lost the plot in 2007 which was when I retired and lost interest. I must admit, I do not trawl Wikipedia to answer questions but draw on experience and in this case the 5 instead of 2 satellites only reduce the time from 10 hours to 100 minutes, the rest of my description of operation is correct. As for your thoughts as to why the thread degenerated into GMDSS is not surprising considering EPIRBs are part of the GMDSS system, not GMDSS part of the EPIRB system and always has been long before EPIRB prices dropped to an affordable level for the leisure market. An IMO approved EPIRB 15 years ago with no GPS sold for AU$3,400.00.
Old 10-10-2015, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by isitstuffed View Post
Yes you are correct, The Russians who owned the 2 satellites lost the plot in 2007 which was when I retired and lost interest. I must admit, I do not trawl Wikipedia to answer questions but draw on experience and in this case the 5 instead of 2 satellites only reduce the time from 10 hours to 100 minutes, the rest of my description of operation is correct. As for your thoughts as to why the thread degenerated into GMDSS is not surprising considering EPIRBs are part of the GMDSS system, not GMDSS part of the EPIRB system and always has been long before EPIRB prices dropped to an affordable level for the leisure market. An IMO approved EPIRB 15 years ago with no GPS sold for AU$3,400.00.
.... the rest of my description of operation is correct....
You think? I could pick holes in much of that but obviously no further point in highlighting anything further. Oh BTW what's this wikipedia stuff

Then again just trawling thru some old records, Epirb (no GPS of course) in 1994 $350, replaced that in 1999 for $300, a new PLB in 2002 (no GPS of course) $220, then another in 2005 for $449 so yeah I think your AU$3,400 15 years ago is way way off the mark
Old 10-10-2015, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
You think? I could pick holes in much of that but obviously no further point in highlighting anything further. Oh BTW what's this wikipedia stuff

Then again just trawling thru some old records, Epirb (no GPS of course) in 1994 $350, replaced that in 1999 for $300, a new PLB in 2002 (no GPS of course) $220, then another in 2005 for $449 so yeah I think your AU$3,400 15 years ago is way way off the mark
I stipulated IMO Approved which are 'programmed' for a ship. Everything for a ship costs 10 times more as they require additional type approval certification from IMO, SOLAS and Classification Societies like Lloyds as well as testing by shore based service providers which is expensive . . much angst would be avoided if posts were read properly.
Old 10-10-2015, 03:28 AM
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This isn't a ship site so lets cut the crap.
Old 10-10-2015, 09:11 AM
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PLB...

Example:
ResQLink+™ PLB ACR 2881
With three levels of integrated signal technology - GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability - the ResQLink+™ quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites. A built-in strobe light provides visibility during night rescues.

Easy activation..flip the antenna..hit the on button.

30 hour battery
220 self tests. and 12 GPs self tests
No subscription fees

And if you ever have to use it for rescue ..Send the used unit to ACR with your story and ACR will send you a new one for free.

https://www.acrartex.com/survivors/

PLB and EPIRB Survivor stories:

Last edited by semperfifishing; 10-10-2015 at 09:28 AM.

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