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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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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.

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Old 16 November 2013, 16:01   #11
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to add to mix - a person AIS is good to in the high populated boating sure Mcmurdo S10 or the Kannard M10 ...

S.
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Old 16 November 2013, 16:01   #12
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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.

Very good advice PeterM , thanks, I must have a read of that post by Mustrib. Sods law if its gonna happen it will happen to me!!!! - when it comes to personal safety i don't think price should play a part in it and especially with POBs!!!
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Old 16 November 2013, 16:04   #13
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to add to mix - a person AIS is good to in the high populated boating sure Mcmurdo S10 or the Kannard M10 ...

S.
oooh I do like AIS as I follow loads of vessels on the marine traffic website but had never considered it for my little rib!!! I may be tempted to get one as a gadget so that my friends can track me ... is that possible?
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Old 16 November 2013, 16:09   #14
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iPhone app MAIS is all you need for freinds to see you.

the safety advice I talking about are:

http://www.mcmurdomarine.com/en/prod...is-mob-devices

They work in VHF / AIS / GPS and when activated will add MOB dummy to AIS units including the coastie - without the delay of PLB's

Range is limited to VHF range
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Old 16 November 2013, 16:19   #15
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oooh I do like AIS as I follow loads of vessels on the marine traffic website but had never considered it for my little rib!!! I may be tempted to get one as a gadget so that my friends can track me ... is that possible?
The kit SPR has linked to is a cross between a Handheld DSC VHF and a PLB. If I was totally frank I'd suggest its more aimed at the big boys. So you fall in, and it sends an "AIS Alert" to anyone with AIS and marks your pos on their plotter (As Willk said so does the big red DSC button on the handheld). I suspect there will be a fair few non-commerical plotters out there that aren't interfaced to their DSC. Anyone with an AIS receiver will receive your AIS Alert. Not convinced that would be more than with a DSC Set?

The AIS PLB works using VHF so has pretty much the same theoretical limitations as a HH VHF.

On your RIB you can get two types of AIS for the boat its self - one is a receiver (cheaper). If you had that and SPRs kit then when you go overboard your crew can come and get you from the plotter. Receiver doesn't let anyone track your RIB. Transmitter is what you are seeing on MarineTraffic and is a LOT more expensive but means in theory you show up on the bridge of the big ship and if they want to know who the stupid inflatable is thats in their way they can hover over you on their plotter and it gives your MMSI and they can call you up and say "shift or we hit you" You'll notice thats 5 words the same as the five long blasts you are more likely to get as they wont expect a little rubber dinghy to be transmitting AIS...

If you only want people ashore to track you then MarineTraffic has an iphone/android ap that can use your phone GPS to update their website using a 3G mobile connection. Clearly that doesn't show on the bridge of a ship. And only works if you are in range of mobile masts, but in the Solent thats not bad. Just make sure your iphone is well sealed up and safe on your RIB not your pocket.
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Old 16 November 2013, 16:39   #16
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thats cool, I would only want the AIS thing as toy for my nosey friends to see where I am (and to show off to them hehe) so the APP for the phone is ideal!!!!
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Old 17 November 2013, 04:26   #17
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If you can afford it - have the peace of mind of a GPS PLB.
Think carefully about how you would attach that and your HH VHF to yourself.
If you came out of your boat, I expect you wouldnt be going that slow.
Have a plan for what you would do if the unexpected happened.
Your in the Solent, you should be able to attract attention if you get into serious trouble, but worth thinking about a solution if you couldnt.
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Old 17 November 2013, 05:16   #18
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If you can afford it - have the peace of mind of a GPS PLB.
Think carefully about how you would attach that and your HH VHF to yourself.
Mustrib, based on your 1st hand experience (so glad it worked out well but it must have been very scary at the time) what are good and bad ways of affixing these devices to yourself or your LJ ?

I tend to clip the handheld into the lifeline loop on the front of my LJ (Spinlock Deckvest) and also have it tied on with a paracord lanyard. No idea if this setup would work or not after an impact and inflation.

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Old 17 November 2013, 05:29   #19
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This GPS PLB seems to be very neat and easily attached via a lanyard - maybe to a zipper or the loop on the LJ. (I also have spinlock deckvest (lite) LJ)

ACR ResQLink+ Buoyant GPS PLB - Only £199.95 - Force 4 Chandlery
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Old 17 November 2013, 06:23   #20
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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
Hi Lisa. The most critical thing to remember about an EPIRB is that it is not necessarily instant (ie you may not get an instant response). The whole system works on a distress signal being sent to a satellite and then that signal being resent to earth to an earth station. So if a signal for distress goes off in the UK the ping may first be picked up in say Portugal.The average time for a response in 45 minutes and it can take as long as one hour. Many people are not aware of that - that the PLB system is more designed for an offshore rescue out of VHF range etc. If you are coastal cruising AIS and VHF with DSC is a far better option because multiple users will respond instantly. I do a lot of deep water sailing on a racing trimaran where, much like a rib, there is a possibility of falling overboard / help needed. If it helps we have the following on our lifejackets.

McMurdo PLB / EPIRB
McMurdo AIS for man overboard.
Small flare pack
Small waterproof VHF with DSC
Torch
Knife.

Although this is very over the top and a little bulky it dose give you the best option if you need help. On a RIB if you have a good lifejacket any of these items are great to have - but I would put the PLB/EPIRB at the bottom of the list.
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