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What's the point of a PLB?

Old 10-08-2015, 09:48 AM
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Default What's the point of a PLB?

What's the value of a PLB for marine use if it is not intended to be used in water, can't have the GPS sensor covered by a hand that is trying to hold it out of water, and must remain upright despite its likely unstable floatable orientation? Is it only usable if clipped to the upper front of a standard life vest? Seems PLBs would be great for hikers and land-based activities but I just don't see the value for boaters if their deployment requirements are so narrow. What am I missing?;?

Last edited by Auburn1; 10-08-2015 at 09:48 AM. Reason: clarification
Old 10-08-2015, 09:55 AM
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What model PLB are you looking at? The ones we sell are waterproof and float.
Old 10-08-2015, 09:56 AM
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The res q link plus is waterproof and it floats. Best of all it fits in the front pouch of my inflatable PFD or easily in a pocket. Not too many epirbs you can have on your person without even knowing it.

If I am out trolling by myself and fall overboard I have that on me. Pending for some reason my auto tether does not work or I cannot catch the boat.

Safety technology items are so cheap today it is stupid not to have it.
Old 10-08-2015, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Auburn1 View Post
What's the value of a PLB for marine use if it is not intended to be used in water, can't have the GPS sensor covered by a hand that is trying to hold it out of water, and must remain upright despite its likely unstable floatable orientation? Is it only usable if clipped to the upper front of a standard life vest? Seems PLBs would be great for hikers and land-based activities but I just don't see the value for boaters if their deployment requirements are so narrow. What am I missing?;?
A few things. Many are intended to be used in marine applications, they float and are fully waterproof. The GPS antenna would be difficult to cover so no issue in pressing the activation button while floating in water and having the unit acquire its location and communicate with the satellite system.
Fundamentally, PLB's are registered to an individual where an EPRIB is registered with the vessel. If you haven't already, you should search some of the threads which raise issues about where to mount an EPRIB so that you are certain it will function in the event of the boat capsizing. If you fish by yourself, a PLB may save your life if you fall overboard. If you are offshore and lose electrical power and cannot communicate with your radio and are out of cell range, a PLB would come in very useful. Plus, the added bonus of it being portable so you can use it for land based activities as you mentioned. No piece of equipment is perfect but for the relatively low cost and what a PLB does, it is a must have for me. I don't have an EPRIB, but if I did, I'd still carry a PLB.

https://www.acrartex.com/products/pr...ns-comparison/
Old 10-08-2015, 10:07 AM
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I've got an EPIRB and I'm a firm believer in it. Been looking at this PLB:

https://www.acrartex.com/media/1374728/y1-03-0251e.pdf

Its the choice of boaters from what I understand, but it seems that any number of circumstances could render it unreliable. Scroll down to page 10.

But I guess its better than nothing.

Last edited by Auburn1; 10-08-2015 at 10:09 AM. Reason: clarify
Old 10-08-2015, 11:01 AM
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You aren't likely to have an EPIRB in your pocket if you fall overboard though the EPIRB is far and away the better choice for everything else of a somewhat more controlled nature .

If you have a PLB on you, your chances of survival just went up considerably in spite of the relative inconveniences of its use.

Your ACR link is to an excellent small PLB. FWIW, The Ocean Signal model I have is even more compact.

EPIRB and/or PLB, be sure to register them and keep info ( and batteries) current.
Old 10-08-2015, 11:23 AM
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I have two epirbs(class 1 & 2) and a PLB on the boat. PLB is in my pocket anytime i'm alone on the boat. Also the PLB is great to take with you on vacations that you are doing some charter fishing. You never know the condition of a charter's equipment in a foreign country!
Old 10-08-2015, 11:30 AM
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so the coast guard doesn't have to waste thousands of tax payers dollars for the dummy that decided to fish 50miles offshore during "the perfect storm"

you don't go fishing in storms do you?
Old 10-08-2015, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TTaxi View Post
You aren't likely to have an EPIRB in your pocket if you fall overboard though the EPIRB is far and away the better choice for everything else of a somewhat more controlled nature .

If you have a PLB on you, your chances of survival just went up considerably in spite of the relative inconveniences of its use.

Your ACR link is to an excellent small PLB. FWIW, The Ocean Signal model I have is even more compact.

EPIRB and/or PLB, be sure to register them and keep info ( and batteries) current.
I've not seen those Ocean Signal EPIRBs and PLBs; they look very compact. How do they compare with ACR?
Old 10-08-2015, 11:33 AM
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They can all be used in the water. They fall in the "They are better than nothing, but not as good as an EPIRB" category.

Yes, you need a hand to hold a PLB and orient it toward the sky and can't just let it float freely which is a big detractor for me but they are easier to keep attached to yourself when out n about on your boat.

Do it right, get an EPIRB for the boat/ditch bag and PLB to keep on you and loved ones.

I wouldn't have just a PLB, ever.

Last edited by Esuomm1; 10-08-2015 at 11:46 AM.
Old 10-08-2015, 11:45 AM
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If you don't like it don't buy it.
I hold the exact oposite opinion and feel they are a necessity.
Old 10-08-2015, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Auburn1 View Post
What's the value of a PLB for marine use if it is not intended to be used in water, can't have the GPS sensor covered by a hand that is trying to hold it out of water, and must remain upright despite its likely unstable floatable orientation? Is it only usable if clipped to the upper front of a standard life vest? Seems PLBs would be great for hikers and land-based activities but I just don't see the value for boaters if their deployment requirements are so narrow. What am I missing?;?
The main value is that it's less expensive than a full size EPIRB, but will still save your life like an EPIRB will. Most all of them are designed to be used in water. It's quite easy to deploy a PLB in the water. You just have to hold it in your hand, deploy the antenna and have it pointing generally upwards. That's pretty much it! There are very few circumstances that would cause a PLB to not work.
Old 10-08-2015, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Auburn1 View Post
I've not seen those Ocean Signal EPIRBs and PLBs; they look very compact. How do they compare with ACR?
ACR bought Ocean Signal, I was going to buy an Ocean Signal but then the deal came up here for the ACR so I ended up with an ACR.
Old 10-08-2015, 11:59 AM
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A shitty PLB is still better than waving your arms and yelling at the search aircraft.
Old 10-08-2015, 12:11 PM
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PBL is always in my pocket.

Especially when running at night and always when alone.

If it's not in my pocket, then it must be because one of my kids are on board; and it's in their pocket.

A terrible thought, but imagine running hard for say 10 miles offshore, turning around, and you realize your passenger who was on a bean bag is no longer in the boat.

Not everyone asks you to "slow down" when they have to pee.

That's why!
Old 10-08-2015, 04:10 PM
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RE comments relating to water proof...
EPIRBs must 'float free'.. because the seawater is the ground plane for the antenna...for it work properly with full radiated power, it must be in the water. PLBs however have a different system and require it to be out of the water to work properly.
Old 10-08-2015, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Archerfish View Post
A shitty PLB is still better than waving your arms and yelling at the search aircraft.
PLBs must be certified by Cospas Sarsat so I don't think its possible to buy a 'questionable' one.
Old 10-08-2015, 04:25 PM
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My cheap PLB (a Delorme InReach SE) has GPS accuracy to +/- 5 meters, a water rating of IP67 (withstands incidental water exposure; tested for submersion at one meter for 30 minutes).
and simply needs a clear view to the sky.

If I'm unable to keep it from being 3 feet deep for 30 minutes, I have a bigger problem.

For $12 a month, I don't leave the dock without it.
Old 10-08-2015, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Auburn1 View Post
What's the value of a PLB for marine use if it is not intended to be used in water, can't have the GPS sensor covered by a hand that is trying to hold it out of water, and must remain upright despite its likely unstable floatable orientation? Is it only usable if clipped to the upper front of a standard life vest? Seems PLBs would be great for hikers and land-based activities but I just don't see the value for boaters if their deployment requirements are so narrow. What am I missing?;?
You are correct with regards to the PLB operation in water being somewhat cumbersome, Conventional EPIRBs are designed for vessels and aircraft and operate under various scenarios like water activation and hydrostatic auto release etc
But not all emergencies are water related an example being loss of power and drifting out to sea. PLBs due to battery technology and miniaturisation are great for their application of personal use but the marketing of 'one size fits all' is questionable, whether you go for a dedicated marine EPIRB which transmits a marine rescue is needed or a PLB is a choice entirely yours. If EPIRBs are chosen, use it to full capacity get it programmed with your MMSI.
Old 10-08-2015, 05:23 PM
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A PLB like the ACR 2884 with strobe can be very handy.
On ones person or in a ditch bag etc.
Built in full self test of the internal circuits and battery.

And cost effective....mid $200 range on the street after rebates.

So at minimum....a PLB ....its a fractional cost of any boat but it is 100 % worth it when things go bad while on the water.

Last edited by semperfifishing; 10-08-2015 at 09:43 PM.

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