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2-N-TOW

EPIRB / PLB safety equipment

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Just out of curiosity, how many of you have either an EPIRB or PLB (personal locator beacon)?

I have always had a PLB for the past 12 years (ACR Aquafix 406).  I had just renewed the registration with NOAA and was placing the sticker on the PLB when I noticed the batteries were due for replacement as of last September.  Figured since I was going to have to send it in for the batteries, lets try a self test.  Guess what...it only made it through part of the self test then flashed an error, so maybe it was the batteries causing the issue.  I contacted the place I have always had it serviced at in the past, and they informed me ACR no longer makes the batteries.  Time for a new one!

The old one was a little cumbersome to carry in your pocket.  I looked at the new ACR ResQlink 425 and liked the idea it had a display screen for both testing and when activated.  The big thing, though, is the size of the new PLBs, they are much smaller than what was available previously with the same battery life.  I ordered one and was impressed when I took it out of the box.  These new beacons are small enough to comfortably fit in your pocket, both on the boat or wherever you may want to carry it.  Price was not too bad if I can get another 10 years out of this.

Since I used to venture offshore in my boat, the PLB was a better fit than the EPIRB.  If I had something larger, the EPIRB would have been nice. But, either one is a good item to have with you.  After my latest round of medical issues over the past 3 years, the PLB is an even better fit for me.  I like to go out in the boat by myself sometimes, and with the beacon in  my pocket or clipped the the inflatable PFD, I have a convenient safety device if an emergency should happen (such as falling off the boat).  This even applies to fishing near shore; if something happens and no other boaters are available to assist, the beacon is a last chance emergency safety net.

If you have either the EPIRB or PLB, great!  Just remember to check the battery  expiration date and do the self test on occasion to verify it is working properly.  If you do not have one, give it some thought and determine if it would be an appropriate thing to have based on what type of boating activities you do.  

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I've got a PLB and a Garmin inReach. The inReach lets me get help for non-life threatening via Satellite texting (up to 10 minute delay due to satellite position) and the PLB for something much more urgent.  

When I had an EPIRB I tested it fairly regularly and replaced batteries when needed. My PLB still has a few years before replacement and I don't test it as often as I did the EPIRB, but I do test it a few times a season. I have the PLB hung on my inflatable. The inReach and a portable VHF are in my grab bag.

My goal is to have lots of safety items and be happy they are never used. 

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