Jump to content

Coastal Distress Options? DSC, AIS, EPIRB

Recommended Posts

Okay I'll start a new thread from the previous discussion on DSC on VHF Radios etc.


Personally I am beginning to think having an EPIRB for coastal racing or cruising should nearly be considered old technology. It takes so long for a signal to be received and transmitted to Search and Rescue, and then they are relied on for a rescue. An EPIRB signal is invisible to other boats in the area that could effect a quick rescue.


The DSC option on VHF, connected to GPS gives the opportunity for a boat close to the vessel in distress to assist. But, as noted, it is not monitored by SAR here. Which begs the question how many of us monitor even channel 16 continuously or even regularly? Also, the position has to be plotted on a chart (remember those?) or as a way point on a chart plotter. I would like to think that is not too hard for most skippers...


AIS seems to do the best job, of graphically showing where the mayday is, and a bearing to get there. If there a bits of land in the way then that needs to be tracked around of course. But I'm sure a visual and audible alarm would sound alerting the crew.


Roll on ODEO LED flares, so that they don't expire, are small and light enough to carry on you, go for more than a minute, and aren't trying to burn you...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 31
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

For those wanting further info re coverage see: https://www.cospas-sarsat.int/en/system-overview/detailed-cospas-sarsat-system-description   Take a look around.   geo sat coverage https://www.cos

in theory


i sail with the gps + vhf on, connected, and the gps on a triple channel watch of


- 16 (emergency)


- 9 (does this even mean anything in nz? presumably is an emergency channel in other countries so my radio includes it in the watch)


- 80 (i choose the 3rd channel, and that's generally waitemata harbour coastguard)


but even if triple watch wasn't on, but maybe chan  82 (haruaki gulf coastguard)


if anyone else, with a GPS connected DSC VHF, (within the expanded range that a digital vhf burst can cover), pressed their distress button my vhf would switch to 16?, alert me with a buzzer and scroll the distressed boats lat/long? + mmsi?  across the bottom of my vhf display (and even record the details if no one acknowledged the call)


at which point i would grab my trusty white out board and pen (used for recording tides and weather forecasts each morning) and jot down the lat/long + mmsi


then if channel 16 wasn't already abuzz with others reporting the incident , would call up coastguard and report the details received and if close enough try to get to the area


again, like checking fire alarms, it would be great to organise a test day for DSC VHF equipped boats at anchor, on moorings around the hauraki gulf to see what happens and who gets what


would a boat at rakino be picked up by a boat at beachlands etc


even if we can't organise a "distress test" some of our radios appears to be able to request position information from other known boats and transmit their position to others without triggering any emergency alerts or otherwise needing coastguard input

Link to post
Share on other sites

AIS SART - work under way to detect with sats - Talk of AIS SART combined with 406 EPIRB as wel


AIS traffic monitored by Kordia I think as part of govt contract.



Erice - does you radio have a scan option? Some new radios have quad watch now.


An old Uniden H/H I have a Scan option where I can add the channels I want scanned

Link to post
Share on other sites

What is DSC? Digital selective Calling - been around for well over ten years and as it is part of the GMDSS (google it) I would say it will be here a while longer yet, I dislike the system (that is what a Merchant ship is required to carry) due to the number of false alarms caused by a lack of understanding by people using / doing the tests.


Will it still be of any use in 5 years time? Yes, the IMO might take 20years to phase it out once a better system is developed.


What is SART? Search and rescue transponder, they have been around for awhile, as for above they will be around for a long time - no issue with them as they are hard to be accidently set off - at least the Radar SARTs are


Will it still be on any use in 5 yeas time? Yes



It's nice to see a 4 letter acronym for a change. Hope the five letter one makes your day


Quick question - who has their VHF on at all times when onboard their yacht / boat?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Often VHF is off, esp at anchor. Normally on 16 only when sailing. 

EPIRBs are ok, but it's always seemed stupid to me that it cannot be heard by vessels cose to you. DSC is a good system I reckon, but as Rigger says, many (especially Kiwi's) don't understand it. AIS SART is a very good concept - WAY better than a personal EPIRB, which many rescue services refer to as "body location devices". With an AIS SART, you have good chance of locating and rescuing someone who falls overboard. Even better would be both an EPIRB and a SART in the same device!

LED flares are a no brainer. Tim, I patiently waiting to hear from you that they are now approved!! :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites

vhf on ch 16 till anchored,epibs etc if vessel is in close proximity whats wrong with a good old smoke flare?,

vhf is line of sight only and relies on repeaters,should of kept the old ssb (fair was to many vessels)clogging it,so we were sold the vhf as new technology

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use dual or tri-watch depending on VHF in use and it's always on unless I need sleep.


I have a small EPIRB folded into my life-jacket. I trust that if I go overboard my GPS position would be known within minutes??


I also use paper charts for everywhere I go. It's a skill we should all have and maintain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to disappoint you Kevin, it wont be minutes. Several hours or more is common, and then a vessel/chopper has to be tasked and actually get to you. This is why my comment above about "body recovery devices". PLB's are ok if you are in a raft or Dingy, but less than good if you are in the water. Especially if there are boats nearby - a flare would be better!


There was a discussion thread about this on here a while ago - see http://crew.org.nz/forum/index.php/topic/11168-safety-topics-and-concerns/?hl=response%20time

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...