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Old 16 November 2013, 15:20   #1
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EPIRB or Handheld DSC radio?

Hello all,
As a novice to ribbing (and awaiting delivery of my RIB in January) I seem to have most of my newbie questions answered in the thousands of threads on here (after careful keyword searches) ... today I was reading 10 year old threads with interest.

However regarding the personal safety equipment I am seeing different opinions regarding one thing (unless I haven't looked properly !!) so my question is this:

Do I need a personal EPIRB if I have a handheld DSC radio ? It seems to me that I don't as the radio will have a distress button and rescuers will find me but would an expert seaman recommend I have both in my kit?

I have my VHF/DSC licence already and my intended activities on the water are cruising around the solent never going more than 3nm from the shore. Sometimes solo and sometimes with two or three other adults on board.

Thanks for your help!!

Lisa
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:32   #2
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Hi Lisa,
Belt & braces come to mind here. We carry a fixed radio, at least 2 h/helds & now have an EPIRB.
I'm not saying you should have all these items, but as you know, VHF radio's & signals can't always be relied on?
It's nice to know you have some kind of back-up equipment should the worst happen?
Regards-John
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:33   #3
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Under the circumstances you describe.. In the Solent. I would definitely say DSC radio. There is alway so much help in the Solent and many others would here your call.
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:41   #4
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Dsc should cover it. Search for a post by mustrib about his swim....after his radio fell apart...

I carry handheld dsc hand held and plb on me in the Solent. Help is always close...but close may be too far.

For the cost...get a plb and have it on you.:-)
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:41   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusher View Post
Under the circumstances you describe.. In the Solent. I would definitely say DSC radio. There is alway so much help in the Solent and many others would here your call.
That would be my take on it too. You'll have to wear the VHF at all times. I'm guessing that your RIB will have a fixed VHF (?) so the only time you'd need the handheld is if you go in the drink. With the HH DSC you can talk to your crew, other boats, the CG AND you can put an emergency waypoint on every GPS plotter in a 2-3 mile radius. In the Solent, that's a LOT of plotters.
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:45   #6
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I'm guessing that your RIB will have a fixed VHF (?) so .
This is true!!!

Thanks for the quick replies !!!
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:47   #7
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In The Solent I would have said a DSC fixed VHF and backup handheld VHF would be ideal. If venturing further offshore out of vhf coverage a epirb or plb would be good (e.g. crossing the English channel) but within The Solent I would stick with 2 VHFs powered from different sources.

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Old 16 November 2013, 15:48   #8
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Do I need a personal EPIRB if I have a handheld DSC radio ?

I have my VHF/DSC licence already and my intended activities on the water are cruising around the solent never going more than 3nm from the shore. Sometimes solo and sometimes with two or three other adults on board.
First things first - do you have a fixed DSC/VHF on board? You are far more likely to need that before the sh1t properly hits the fan to get out of a problem than you are to hit the big red button. So if you have no VHF then in my opinion the VHF is more important than an EPIRB. EPIRB can take time to get a fix, and doesn't relay the nature of your distress so means you may get multiple or wrong resources tasked to your incident. A helicopter ain't much use to tow you home, but is possibly going to be first to reach you (although there is so much traffic in the Solent that may not be the case).

If you are thinking 'What happens if I'm in the water away from the boat' then I think the arguement is possibly slightly less for VHF. In this case you are looking at a PLB rather than an EPIRB. But there would be a heck of a lot of reassurance that help is on its way which you don't get from an EPIRB / PLB.

Boating in the Solent you are never far from help. In addition even if you are out of range of a Coastie Antenna for some reason then there remains a good chance a Commercial Vessel will pick up your distress message and then relay it. Surprisingly little traffic appears to come through on CH70 down there so its unlikely to be ignored.

If you think you'll start to go elsewhere then a PLB may be more important if the amount of nearby traffic reduces.

Bear in mind that while close to shore means you will hopefully be near an antenna it also means you may be blocked by cliffs etc and so fail to get line of sight. PLB uses overhead satellites and they are tested in valleys etc for land use so you would probably be fine in all but the craziest of locations.

MustRIB used his PLB in anger during the summer after he went for a swim and his VHF was destroyed on impact. I think he's the first on here to have had to do it (certainly the first to have done it so publically!) I think many would have felt the PLB was overkill. If you do decide to have just HH VHF you need to think about how it will be carried so that in an emergency it is accessible, but also doesn't get damaged by the emergency.
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:53   #9
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Thank you Shinyshoe , thats very informative. I'm learning all the time and all advice is very much appreciated!!
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterM View Post
Dsc should cover it. Search for a post by mustrib about his swim....after his radio fell apart...

I carry handheld dsc hand held and plb on me in the Solent. Help is always close...but close may be too far.

For the cost...get a plb and have it on you.:-)
Good point PeterM.

If funds allow get the PLB. In The Solent it's probably overkill but you can never have too much safety kit. Mustrib probably owes his life to his plb.

Chris

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