The Evolution of Emergency Beacons

We’re all familiar with Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacons (EPIRBs). Yachts venturing further than 2 NM off the coast are obliged to carry them on board. In addition, some of us may also carry Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), attached to our life vests to help find us in a man overboard emergency.

Both EPIRBS and PLBs send a signal to overhead satellites to set off an alarm at the Rescue Authority, in Australia that is AMSA. While these beacons have a proven track record in saving hundreds of people in emergency situations, they still suffer from some limitations. For example, EPIRBs can only send an “all out” Mayday message, with no possibility of indicating the level of emergency, nor can rescue authorities acknowledge or establish return communications. PLBs will only send a mayday and position to the rescue authorities, rather than to those closest to the incident, usually surrounding vessels, who are in a position to provide immediate assistance.

A variety of alternative beacons and Man Overboard devices have come on the market and I thought it would be interesting to highlight two new types which overcome some of those limitations. Continue reading “The Evolution of Emergency Beacons”

Staying awake on watch

Asleep at the wheel - click for gCaptain article

On Australia’s East Coast, many cruising yachts now are on their way South after “wintering” in North Queensland. Many will decide to bypass NSW ports and make a 3 or 4 day passage direct to their home port.

When night sailing, sleep deprivation can be a safety issue unless managed thoughtfully . I liked this article from gCaptain, which  provides some useful information on the way we sleep and some interesting hints to manage micro-sleeps.

How do _you_ stay awake?