EPIRB or PLB

Electrical and electronic topics for small boats
MillieTheBoat
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:16 pm
Location: Dana Point, CA

EPIRB or PLB

Postby MillieTheBoat » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:44 pm

I want to invest in an EPIRB in addition to my handheld VHF radio with GPS and MMSI. I rarely go out 10-15 miles offshore.

This series of [articles on EPIRB and PLB actual use] confirms I need a PLB and EPIRB. Thanks.

I am ordering a ACR PLB-350c Aqualink View.
Last edited by MillieTheBoat on Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jimh
Posts: 6905
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: PLB instead of EPIRB

Postby jimh » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:02 am

Looks like you ordered a Personal Locator Beacon and not a Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon.

If the PLB ever aids in your rescue from distress, you can give us a first-person narrative of the event.

jimh
Posts: 6905
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: PLB instead of EPIRB

Postby jimh » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:19 am

In terms of a progression of purchases of radio devices to improve safety of life at sea, your path is extremely unusual. You begin with buying a handheld radio and then jump to buying a personal locator beacon, and considering adding an emergency position-indicating radio beacon. You have skipped over the most useful radio safety device: a fixed mount 25-Watt Class-D digital selective calling VHF Marine Band radio, powered by a large storage battery being kept at full charge by the propulsion engine, connected to a quality antenna which is fixed-mounted as high as possible, properly configured with a marine mobile service identify, and provided with automatic position updates from a GNSS receiver. Such gear should be the first tier of radio devices installed on a small recreational boat.

You should install a fixed-mount 25-Watt VHF Maine Band DSC radio and a fixed antenna. In case of distress a DSC DISTRESS ALERT BROADCAST from that radio is likely to result in a faster response with more accurate position data to the USCG and all surrounding boats with DSC radios.

kwik_wurk
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:23 pm

Re: EPIRB or PLB

Postby kwik_wurk » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:39 pm

Well let's assume your talking about a "abandon ship" or "separated from ship" situation, and not a breakdown or medical emergency where a good radio installation would be more practical use.

But if you boat offshore alone, a PLB makes the most sense, clip it on.

This said, a 6W handheld 5' above sea level, 10-15 nm offshore may be fine if the USCG shore station is 140' in the air. Look at the Rescue 21 coverage maps to to see your regions coverage. (Also keep in mind if you boat in areas where there is commercial traffic, your typical freighter/ro-ro/USN/USCG ship, is going to have their respective VHF antenna 50'-100' in the air as well, so they have some range as well.)

But, I agree with Jimh, that skipping a good fixed mount VHF is odd.