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Old 21 September 2006, 16:28   #1
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Cruising in remote areas

I was cruising around the west coast of the Isle of Jura earlier this week. It is an amazing place but it felt very remote. The worry was that I was not convinced that a VHF would reach a coastguard aerial and there was no mobile reception, and as far as I could see, no other boats in the area. Potentially the only way of raising help if it had been required would have been an EPIRB. Any suggestions as to the best type of EPIRB/alternative for this type of cruising.
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Old 21 September 2006, 16:48   #2
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SSB radio or an essex girl
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Old 21 September 2006, 17:09   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul
.. Potentially the only way of raising help if it had been required would have been an EPIRB.
Can't help with the EPIRB but a Sat phone would work. You might have found you were able to contact Clyde CG. If you're not sure, you can ask for a radio check to give you peace of mind....or not.
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Old 21 September 2006, 17:19   #4
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I was thinking about a radio check but on my VHF course I was told that the coastguard were not too keen on such calls in the "real world."
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Old 21 September 2006, 17:25   #5
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Quote:
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I was thinking about a radio check but on my VHF course I was told that the coastguard were not too keen on such calls in the "real world."
That probably depends where you are and where you're going. A busy weekend in the Solent and I should think they get pretty fed up with incessant radio checks from boats that only need to wave at another one to get assistance.

Equally, if you're in a remote area, you can always post a passage plan with the coastguard before you go and let them know when you return (and DO let them know!)
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Old 21 September 2006, 17:29   #6
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Fair point
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Old 21 September 2006, 17:32   #7
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I was thinking about a radio check but on my VHF course I was told that the coastguard were not too keen on such calls in the "real world."
I don't know about that. I've done it a few times and they've been fine. I've even been asked where I am so they had an idea of coverage. In some areas the coasties are not particularly busy. Listen first on 16 and 67, if it's quiet, you're either out of range or they are not too busy.
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Old 21 September 2006, 17:41   #8
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Thanks for the info, will give it a go. The only thing that I have noticed is that if there is a big mountain in the way of the Torosay coastguard transmitter the radio goes quiet,
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Old 21 September 2006, 18:53   #9
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It's not just really remote areas that are the problem. There are places along the South Wales coast where there is no VHF or mobile phone signal.

Sat phones are the answer - as cheap as an EPIRB but more versatile - you can bhe talked through probs by a doctor for example. Look on EBAY - sat phones for less than 300 - you can get prepaid cards to use with them.
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Old 21 September 2006, 19:29   #10
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I can see the sat phone argument but in fairness though epirbs do have some advantages over sat phones:

(1) ability to automatically transmit position
(2) waterproof
(3) ability (depending on model) to be automatically triggered on sinking
(4) ability to provide a homing signal (on 121.5MHz) for the SAR units to find you
(5) likely to work over much wider temperature range
(6) battery won't be flat (if you service it) - because you used it to call someone earlier in the day

but obviously they are one way only, and give no idea of distress. Non-GPS models may have a delay in getting a response, and you can't use it to call home!
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