yeah, yeah, yeah, i know that arguing with the us coast guard will get me nowhere, but we'll try again.
in every situation where there had been a fatality, i think the guys could have gotten out alive if they were wearing a pfd and had a hand held vhf radio. this last one was the exception. apparently, these two guys zippered up the plastic behind them which then completely enclosed the helm station (not the forward cabin), then it filled with water in a matter of seconds. they basically could not unzip or slice their way out of this plastic bag. i did not hear if they had pfd's. i did hear that the diver removed their epirb. yeah, the epirb was trapped under the hull with the crew.
so here's where i am now. the pfd's all have a strobe, a whistle, a 3-pack of flares and a light stick. all pfd's are now equipped with the new standard horizon vhf radio that has an integrated gps. i have a life raft and a handheld epirb. i also have an epirb that will automatically depoly if the boat rolls. it is located on top of the hardtop. i fear that it will release and then get caught underneath the upside down hull, trapped along with the life raft and the handheld epirb.
this standard horizon radio/gps is $250. if i was going to recommend one piece of equipment, i would recommend this radio and that it be worn by the skipper. for those of you that hitchhike alot, i would recommend that you bring your own pfd. you don't have to pack it the way mine is, but at least clip a radio to it. alan
Alan, your logic is all very sound. There is really no argument with the way you have outfitted your boat, or the folks trusting their lives with you...our disagreement is in what we consider the most important piece of livesaving gear (once you get beyond the PFD and a means to stay thawed out in cold water) the EPIRB is fool proof, only has to be activated, and you will be found. The radio for all the good it will do, also depends on line of site signal, your ability to read your position in a very stressful situation (and not transpose the numbers)(or have the GPS set up for the position in degrees, minutes and seconds and mistakenly say point instead of hyphen between the degrees and minutes which would cause an error of many many miles), the ability of the person transmitting to be able to articulate a location accurately if the GPS is somehow disabled, and the ability to transmit your position even if you become unconsious. Remember also, you are the exception when it comes to being prepared, and knowing the capibilitys of your equipment and how to use it. How well do all your passengers know how to use the radio, and call the CG and give a position while treading water in 52 degree water with their teeth chattering and someone next to them going down for the count.
So Alan, its a difference of opinion, and I stand by my thoughts that if I'm on a sinking boat, and had one piece of equipment to alert the Coast Guard (regardless of where I am and my physical capibilites) it would be the EPIRB...hands down, without exception....except, if your boat sank in the middle of the salmon, halibut or even albacore fleet the ability to contact a passing boat would expidite your rescue...thats the only time I'd trade the radio for the EPIRB. Had this boat not been found right away (do we know how long it had been adrift upside down) and the epirb would have floated away (I'm assuming it was in the cabin) the epirb would have alerted rescue agencies of the problem imidiately (probably much sooner then was the case). I also have a feeling the EPIRB is more water tight then even the best handheld vhf radio (could be wrong).
So Alan, we are simply in somewhat of a disagreement with regard to the most important piece of equipment you can have on your boat to alert the Coast Guard of your position and the fact that there is an emergency in the event of a major event (sinking, fire man overboard expically if the captain on the boat alone assuming personal epirb or handheld vhf) or even a simple breakdown if out of radio range...I say the EPIRB, you I believe say the handheld waterproof VHF or even VHF. The other part here is how well equipment is maintained, while the Coast Guard highsites i believe publish a reception range of 50 miles (don't quote me on this), this is assuming the vhf putting out an optimum signal which means perfect antenna connections etc. You are I'm sure on top of this but most of us (me included) are not. The EPIRB requires no maintainance, the battery experation date is clearly marked, and if an auto release model, the hydrostatic release also has an experation date...BTW, the problem with the hydrostatic release is the depth of water at which it activates which lends the release useless on a capsizing situation where the boat doesn't sink. Thats why having the EPIRB handy for manual activation is IMPORTANT.
One last thing, everytime you argue this point with me, it is healthy because it brings awareness of different options to everyone who reads these little squabbles (that I think have been going on for at least 6 years)...keep it up!