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Hi 

Will be heading offshore in the next couple of months (maybe days - before snapper closure lol), for the first time in my boat at least.  Have all required safety gear but now need to purchase an EPIRB.  

I am looking for some advice/assistance deciding what one to get and from where.  I understand that some are GPS enabled, some float? 

I am also a bit concerned about purchasing an EPIRB like the one my boat came fitted with.  It was in a bracket under the centre console and it took me about 25 min to prise it out of the bracket?    I had to lay on the floor between the bottom of the console and the seat and wriggle and jiggle it until it finally came out of the bracket.

That seems completely useless as an emergency safety item??

I also would like to know if they actually expire?  How do you tell?

What do you guys have and how and where are they fitted?

Cheers Kat

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I like that you're paying attention to this... hopefully never need to use it! But no harm in being prepared. I also pulled out the boat epirb and it took me a few seconds longer than anticipated taking out of the bracket. It needs to be in as easily accessible place AND somewhere you can access in the event of your boat being tipped over. I like having it near the sides somewhere for that reason. It is currently not in a fixed mounted position (Just sitting in boat side pocket) so a good reminder to get that done in case I need to fumble around for it one day...   

There SHOULD be an expiry on the device somewhere.

Also test it. First 5 mins of the hour by pressing the 'TEST' button. 

I also have a PLB which is light and compact and I can attach it to my life jacket along with handheld radio (for bar crossings and higher risk situations). The drawback to this is it doesn't transmit signal under water like epirbs do. 

I think the standard epirb sends a signal every 5 mins or so? And the more expensive gps ones a live location? Just a guess.

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I have been looking at EPIRBS as well Kat. The GPS models are more accurate in fixing your position.  Here is one I was looking at 

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I don’t take my boat places where an EPIRB is mandatory but do go places where people have recently died and may not have died if they had an EPIRB. 

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57 minutes ago, Kat said:

I am also a bit concerned about purchasing an EPIRB like the one my boat came fitted with.  It was in a bracket under the centre console and it took me about 25 min to prise it out of the bracket?    I had to lay on the floor between the bottom of the console and the seat and wriggle and jiggle it until it finally came out of the bracket.

I also would like to know if they actually expire?  How do you tell?

What do you guys have and how and where are they fitted?

Cheers Kat

Hi Kat, first of all, when you get a EPIRB you have to get it registered with the AMSA department (no charge to do so) even if it is second hand, 

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you provide all your details and it is valid for 2 years which you have to renew each time (again no charge) up to the life of the battery.

The EPIRB units  life is determined by it's battery life anywhere from 7-10 years from new. Once it has reached it's end of battery life it is probably cheaper just to buy another one rather than sending it away to get a new battery.

I keep mine in a float grab bag next to the passenger side seat, on my previous boat I had 2, one in a grab bag and the other on a bracket next to the door to the cabin, only took a few seconds to get it out of the bracket. If yours is taking that long then there is something wrong. Ideally an EPIRB and a PLB, just in case you get tossed out of a boat before you can reach the grab bag, or activate the one in the bracket,  that way if you are floating away, you can always activate it as it will be tied to your life jacket, and readily available to activate.

Also on the subject of safety gear, I make a habit of not putting the fire extinguisher near the motor, because if there is a fire it will most likely be near the engine/fuel tank and you may not be able to get to it because of flames.

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42 minutes ago, Kat said:

Perfect. 

When you buy an epirb you have to register it before you use it. 

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You'll need the units hex ID located on the side of it. 

It basically registers the beacon to you and your boat. 

Every 2 odd yrs you get an email asking to confirm that all info is still the same and it renews the registration. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi @Ed. Thanks alleviates some of my confusion.   but firstly I would love two epirbs and a personal locator beacon - but I would also love an income.  So I will stick with as much practical safety as I can combined with one EPIRB and the other mandatory measures. 

Yes there was obviously something wrong with the EPIRB bracket etc.  Now I have it out how on earth do I tell how old it is?  I have tested it and it works as the test instructions say it will.....

Probably best  buy a new one I think.  But if I only have one do I install it in a bracket or keep it in a grab bag with the flares etc?

To be honest I have done a lot of reading and online research but just get more and more confused and overwhelmed.  I have soooo much to learn about boating and fishing....  

Edited by Kat
Posted early in error
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Having it in a bracket comes with both pro's and con's, as an example, if in the bracket you will always know where it is, downside is  if your boat is flipped over in rough seas, then it will still be in the bracket and you will have to dive under the hull or try to reach it from the sides if it is a small boat to retrieve it from its bracket, then swim out from under the hull whilst hoping that you won't get tangled underneath or bashed in the head by the hull which may be heaving up and down, don't forget you may be in really big waves which may have caused you to flip over in the first place. If in a grab bag, you need to be able to grab it before you get hurled out of the boat, you may also lose sight of it and it may float away from the boat in the time it takes you to register what has just happened and you may be in a bit of shock, especially if your boat is flipped. These factors become much worse if it is dark and in rough seas.

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20 minutes ago, Junky said:

Perfect. 

When you buy an epirb you have to register it before you use it. 

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You'll need the units hex ID located on the side of it. 

It basically registers the beacon to you and your boat. 

Every 2 odd yrs you get an email asking to confirm that all info is still the same and it renews the registration. 

 

 

Hi @Junky

NO hex ID as far as I can tell????

11 hours ago, AUS-BNE-FISHO said:

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Ed. said:

Having it in a bracket comes with both pro's and con's, as an example, if in the bracket you will always know where it is, downside is  if your boat is flipped over in rough seas, then it will still be in the bracket and you will have to dive under the hull or try to reach it from the sides if it is a small boat to retrieve it from its bracket, then swim out from under the hull whilst hoping that you won't get tangled underneath or bashed in the head by the hull which may be heaving up and down, don't forget you may be in really big waves which may have caused you to flip over in the first place. If in a grab bag, you need to be able to grab it before you get hurled out of the boat, you may also lose sight of it and it may float away from the boat in the time it takes you to register what has just happened and you may be in a bit of shock, especially if your boat is flipped. These factors become much worse if it is dark and in rough seas.

Wow @Ed.you remind me of when I was a lawyer and advising clients 😉 thanks will figure out which worst case scenario I would prefer and go from there!

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Sorry Kat, but no easy decision, that EPIRB you have is too old I think. I am fairly certain that they no longer use the frequency that it puts out so pretty much useless, plus I would think that the battery would be on it's last legs anyway. Without the HEX ID you can't register it anyway. As I said ideally you should get both,  an EPIRB and a PLB at least that way you will be able to have one on our life jacket even if you are in the water, it is like insurance, very handy to have when you need it as your life will depend on it.

I know it is an added expense but an extra $300 approx for peace of mine and it could save your life, the smaller the boat the more essential it becomes, as it is generally easier to flip a small boat over than a big one.

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Forgot to mention, I think that unit doesn't have the GPS locator in it so your search area for anyone to look for you will be huge. Actually reading a bit more about it, it doesn't support the 406Mhz frequency that the satellites require so useless. Bin job!

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Hi all.  Thanks for the assist. Yes had already decided to buy new.  Will get the mid range one with GPS enabled.  Still deciding whether to keep in grab bag or next to centre console on a bracket.  

The advice is very much appreciated.

Safe boating everyone.  Went fishing all day today and wore my life jacket - didn't even realise it was on when I got back to the boat ramp.  

Way too many sad tales about boating accidents and drownings lately.

Cheers Kat

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Neil, are you sure they don't charge for the battery, or is it the service they provide free with the battery cost on top? When I enquired a few years back it was like about $200+, so I figured it wasn't worth it and will just buy another unit when mine expires.

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The last two times I’ve sent mine down to GME ,the only thing I’ve paid for was postage.

Both times the Epirib was returned to me in about 3weeks in basically brand new looking  condition. 
Last time I did this was about 8 months ago , I presume nothings changed.

I dealt direct with GME over the phone. 

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I just pulled it apart  into pieces and binned the bits, when my other current one expires I will just buy another one. That way I get the latest tech on the spot and no hassle waiting for it to come back, the difference in price between a new unit and the cost of sending it in plus the price of a new battery, will not be too much.

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On 05/07/2021 at 8:33 AM, Old Scaley said:

Before you dispose of it you have to take the battery out. I have read that a lot of “emergencies” are located at the local tip.

Good advice Old Scaley. 
 

Kit - not sure where you live, but I found this online regarding disposal of EPIRB. 

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buy a new one, register it and you’ll have peace of mind

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