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  Class B Epirb -- Good Insurance?

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Author Topic:   Class B Epirb -- Good Insurance?
Shadowcatcher posted 03-06-2001 02:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for Shadowcatcher   Send Email to Shadowcatcher  
I'm laying in supplies for our summer trip to Tofino, Vancouver Island, for whale watching with our 18' Outrage. This is a fairly remote coastal area.

Is a "Class B EPIRB" really a useful distress signal. Is it enough? Since the Whaler won't sink, I don't need auto deploy. I will have two young children and wife aboard, so speedy rescue in an emergency is desireable.

I would appreciate feedback on this and any additional safety advice.

Thanks -- Brian

Shadowcatcher posted 03-06-2001 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
PS -- This would be in addition to the basics -- VHS, GPS, Loran, compass, flares, etc.
bigz posted 03-06-2001 04:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Yes and Yes -- on Class B

Might want to back your VHF with a hand held.

Around here the USCG is on top of an EPIRB signal like flies on sugar. Thankfully usually just a mistake -- set off by accident -- then again occasionaly a "jerk" thinking he is having fun.

Shoreway Marine mail order had a heck of a price on an ACR Magnum B $212.50 Mount $36.99.
Not sure it is still valid. Adding one this season to our 27.

Not sure what you mean by small children? A suggestion here would be a safety harness for each one. Maybe a little much but hey when folks big or little are lost yeah can't replace them.


Shadowcatcher posted 03-06-2001 05:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
Thanks Tom -- Definite yes on the harness for kids age 3 and 6. I found the same EPIRB online at Boaters World -- a close out for $175 seems like a great deal.

Any recommendations on which hand held model VHF? -- it's easy to assume more $ equals better, but I'm sure that is not the case.

In fact, I am planning on a new console mount VHF also -- know of any comparison tests by boating journals? The main question I have is whether I want one with a hailer.

minh nguyen posted 03-06-2001 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for minh nguyen  Send Email to minh nguyen     
I store my backup radio (water proof),
strobe light, flare guns, fresh water etc.. in a dry bag, then I tie the bag
to the gunwale with 8ft of rope. Should the boat flip the bag will float right to the surface.
Don't store them in a lock compartment because no way you can retrieve it under the
water if the boat flips.
minh nguyen posted 03-06-2001 06:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for minh nguyen  Send Email to minh nguyen     
I store my backup radio (water proof),
strobe light, flare guns, fresh water etc.. in a dry bag, then I tie the bag
to the gunwale with 8ft of rope. Should the boat flip the bag will float right to the surface.
Don't store them in the lock compartment because no way you can retrieve it under the
water if the boat flips.
bigz posted 03-10-2001 08:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    

Sorry didn't respond sooner, out of the area for a few days.

Frankly, if you look back through the achieved post there was a big discussion on handhelds a while back --- I'm cheap so I just bought the Humminbird VHF5 with a dry sack case (we haven't used it since I bought it a year ago June!)--- I see West Marine has them on special including a case for $80 until April 1. If you feel you need a better unit the Shakespeare SE-700 is a heck of a nice one at $180 at Cabelas'

We use the Std Horizon Spectrum VHF as our main unit, which has the loud hailer and does a bunch of other neat tricks, a little pricey -- still a bargain compared to Raytheon or Icon with same features! Shoreway Marine NJ has them at $420.

Heck of a price on the on the Class B -- I will journey to their site and check that out.

Hope this was helpful.


triblet posted 03-10-2001 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The key word for marine electronics is
"submersible". The spec is 3 feet 30
minutes. You don't plan on taking it
snorkling, but it can handle submersion,
spray isn't going to bother it at bit.
Look for a waterproofness rating of
JIS-7 or IPX-7

Submersible console mount radios start with
the Standard Horizon Intrepid LE at $199
(West Marine price). It's the Intrepid
less the RAM Mike jack (which a small boat
doesn't need but might be useful on a
Revenge) and less $20. Others include
SH Intrepid ($219), SH Spectrum ($349)
Icom M402 ($219). All have DSC (Digital
Selective Calling) whose most important
feature is the the one button digital
Mayday. Push one button (under a removeable
cover) and it transmits Mayday, including
position if wired to your GPS. The downside
is that the Coasties aren't fully equipped
to receive them (yet -- they are in the
planning stages of a complete moderization
of the VHF monitoring), but there is spotty
CG coverage, and there are getting to be a
reasonable number of recreational boaters
with them. I have a Spectrum, and I have
a couple of buddies with Intrepids.
Somebody is gonna hear that digital Mayday

Submersible hand helds start with the
Standard Horizon HX260S at $179. Others
include SH HX350S ($249), the tiny HX460S
($299), Ray 102 ($229), and Icom IC-M1V
($289). I have an HX350S.

Get the appropriate adapter to attach your
handheld to the main VHF antenna. That
will greatly increase it's range if the main
unit dies. A buddy who runs a handheld on
his inflatable was amazed by how much more
traffic he heard when he installed a real

Shadowcatcher: ask yourself whether you need
a hailer and/or fog horn. If you need one,
get one. My Spectrum has a hailer feature,
but I've never bothered to hook up a speaker
to it. I can get my Montauk close enough
to talk without it.

And give some thought to where you mount the
EBIRB. Put it somewhere you can get at it
if the boat is upside down. This probably
means on a gunwale, the side of the console,
or inside of the transom. Front of the
console would be out of reach.


Maerd posted 03-10-2001 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Maerd    
Be sure to read about hypothermia. I bought the ICOM IC-M127 with the standard 10 watt hailer and optional 30 watt with speaker mounted in the front of the boat and has the the DSC feature. I bought the unit in 1999 for my then new 21' Outrage after reading lots of tests. Just read the other day that it is still the best. Because my boat sits in the water for seven months at a marina I had Whaler dealer custom install the M127 and Alpine stereo so that I can slip them in/out in five minutes and I take them home with me. They share one antenna. You would not want to be in remote area and have someone steal the vhf and then you have to boat without it. Good Luck
Tom Byrum posted 03-10-2001 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Byrum  Send Email to Tom Byrum     
I second Maerds choice of radios. I installed a new Icom 127 a few months ago and my range seems like it at least doubled over my previous radio.
Shadowcatcher posted 03-10-2001 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
Thanks. I orderd and received the closeout Class B / Class 2 EPIRB from Boaters World. It is a Guest brand and they are a year or two into the 5 year battery replacement cycle. It doesn't give a useful battery life and it's not clear what the battery replacement cost is.

I may exhange for the new ACR which has a 6 year battery replacement cycle and claims a 12 year useful life.-- probably worth the extra 45 bucks.

bigz posted 03-10-2001 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Brian, I checked B-World and couldn't find a Guest at that price but found a Litton Class B at $175! Which uses an alkaline battery, Guest owns Litton --- the Guest model which comes close to the Litton is the Micro B which now uses a 5 year lithium battery.

It might be best to exchange it for the ACR or just get credit would check Shoreway Marine prices compared to B-World's price on the Magnum B of $260 (which floats by the way and will deploy up right) before you do anything! Shoreway's number is 1-800-443-5408. Like I mentioned Shoreway's price last year was $213, and the surface bracket price is $37 for this unit (B-World is $50). Might be a better long term choice than the discontinued Litton/Guest unit.

On the VHF handheld -- we just look at it as a back up (in case the 27's four batteries go dead all at once :) !) --- they can only put out 5 w transmit max power and the full size can only transmit at 25w -- (we were lucky last spring -- Shoreway was originally selling the Spectrum at $380 --- they increased it in May to $420 after the rep sort of gave them heck since West and the rest were selling them around $450).


triblet posted 03-10-2001 04:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I paid $399 for a Spectrum on June 7, at
West Marine. I think they started at $429,
but that was before they actually came
available. By the time they got in the
store, they were $399. They are $349 now
at West, regular catalog price.


bigz posted 03-11-2001 07:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Heck of a great price at West -- Chuck!
They show it on sale at present for the $350 price on their web site, the 2000 catalog list it at $450 and my current West "sale" flyer ironicly list it at $450 --- all in all the $350 price is a deal -- thanks for the update Chuck.

Brian if you decide no need for a hailer the Intrepid model at $220 is a good radio and if you don't need the distress signal set up when connected to your GPS (DSC) the Intrepid LE on sale for $190 at West would be a good choice.


triblet posted 03-11-2001 10:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The 2001 West Master Catalog shows the
Spectrum at 349.99. That's a regular price.


bigz posted 03-11-2001 12:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Well Chuckie the sale flyer says $450 and the site says on "SALE" at $350! Go figure! I don't have a new West 2001 catalog but I believe you -- some how some way West doesn't have their act together --- what else is new!

Think Brian has enough information to have a nice safe and sound trip.

So now it's your turn to get the last word in as usual Chuck me boy-o --- heh heh

Shadowcatcher posted 03-11-2001 01:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
I think you guys have a future as "personal shoppers". Thanks for the excellent advice as always.

-- Brian

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