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Old 24 February 2019, 16:18   #11
Country: UK - England
Town: Retford
Boat name: Spy-sea-one
Make: Mercury
Length: 3m +
Engine: Suzuki Outboard/25/4
MMSI: 235074042
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 4,935
Originally Posted by Tim M View Post
They've replaced CG66 with the new "Safetrax" app.
I updated mine early last year is that recent Tim

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Old 24 February 2019, 16:37   #12
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Country: UK - Scotland
Boat name: imposter
Make: FunYak
Length: 3m +
Engine: 2 stroke YAM 20 HP
MMSI: 235089819
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10,767
Originally Posted by Tim M View Post
On a handheld unit you're limited to 5 watts of transmission power which isn't very much and very much limits the effectiveness of the system
You've been around here and boats long enough to presumably know that:
  • there are 6W H/Held radios around
  • the power isn't the limiting factor for a h/held - it is the height of the antenna
However your general point that range is not great is valid, and for someone with a functioning H/Held VHF, a PLB may be a better "addition" that the DSC "upgrade".
(DSC was a nice idea when originally thought out, in reality it is seldom used for the purpose it was originally designed for).
Probably true that mobile phones have usurped a lot of the anticipated need for DSC, but I do have much more confidence in my crew correctly following the hit red button approach than voice comms in the panic situation that my incapacitation would surely bring.

In any case, sounds like you may need to re-do your VHF Short Range Certificate.
does it?

A PLB attached to your lifejacket will send your GPS position to the coastguard;
eventually! the time from magic button to someone in the "local" ops room getting it is considerably longer for a PLB than a DSC.

they respond to every transmission so you are much more likely (in my opinion) to be sure of receiving assistance.
To be clear to the unaware, by "respond", Tim means investigate, not that the person in distress gets any direct feedback (which means you have no idea if the signal did or did not reach someone). They also won't necessarily send the cavalry to every alert immediately, they are likely to make some phone calls to see if it could be a mistake, put out a VHF call to you (or others in the area)...

They also of course respond to every DSC distress message they get too!

Originally Posted by Rob57 View Post
.with non fixed unit do I need a ships licence? Is a 2.75m open boat too small for one anyway (canít find any details on Ofcom website)?
If you mean is a 2.75m boat too small for a fixed VHF then technically no - you could fit one if you have a battery and either use a stubby aerial or mount a long aerial on a pole*. The former will have no better range than a handheld though. Personally though, in your shoes I would be following the others advice and going PLB. If they haven't convinced you enough then keep in mind that the battery life of DSC radios is much worse than their simpler cousins.

(*I get a massive improvement in range/quality from a roughly 1m aerial on a pole about 2m above the deck compared to a h/held being used sitting on the "tubes".)
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Old 24 February 2019, 18:13   #13
Country: Australia
Town: Dalmeny
Make: zodiac
Length: 5m +
Engine: outboard
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 852
In an emergency situation it is not illegal for anyone to use a vhf radio, licensed or not. In my 41 years of owning boats, working on comercial vessels, being a marine rescue volunteer etc I have never heard of one single person being asked to provide proof of a radio operators licence both here and the majority of my life in the UK. My state here alone has over 250,000 registered boat owners ( not all vessels need registration).

Personaly I have an operators licence as it was part of a comercial operators licence, I don't know of anyone recreational that has bothered this side of the pond to get a licence. Most vessels heading offshore here log on with marine rescue groups stating how many people onboard, location heading, boat rego details and return time, anything between 200-400boats per day locally.

Plb's are not considered as good an option as epirbs and don't meet the legal requirements we have to carry when heading offshore, I know they are popular in the UK but there are reasons why they don't meet safety boating standards. I carry an epirb plus plb only because I own a plb for remote inland hiking trips, where they are recommended for use.

Another item you might consider simply because epirbs and plb's are considered to only be used as a last resort in emergency situations is something like a Garmin inreach, or inreach mini. These have two way messaging which is far better to simply ask for a tow back to shore rather than the full response of life boats and aircraft from plb or epirb activation. The Garmin inreach does have a full dedicated emergency button which works simular to the other beacons in notifying full emergency services. These may seem expensive but they do have the ability to do two way communication anywhere on the plannet and are able to used over and over again.
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