A MOB state of affairs is likely one of the scariest issues that may occur on a ship. There have all the time been two huge points in recovering a MOB: discovering them after which getting them on board.
Discovering somebody who has gone within the water is a nightmare in the event you’re counting on eyesight alone. In case you’ve ever cruised in an space with crab or lobster pot buoys or fishing internet markers, you understand how arduous it’s to see them within the water — they usually’re about the identical measurement as an individual’s head.
Add in that on a typical two-person cruising boat, the individual on the boat isn’t solely making an attempt to identify the individual within the water however can also be working the boat (and perhaps making an attempt to take sails down), and you may see the issues. And what if the off-watch individual was sleeping or getting ready a meal when the on-watch individual went overboard and didn’t even understand it? That makes it even harder.
Know-how helps significantly with “discovering the MOB.” There are principally two approaches to this: sending a sign to look & rescue authorities with a PLB (private locator beacon) or notifying boats within the space (together with the one the MOB had been on).
Each methods have their purposes however I feel that for coastal cruising, notably the place there are different boats within the space and particularly if there’s multiple individual on board, a sign to the mom ship and close by boats provides one of the best probability for shortly discovering the MOB. That is very true if that sign features a GPS repair of the place the MOB now’s and may sound an alarm that may get up any sleeping off-watch crew members.
Such know-how is now obtainable, with a mixture AIS/DSC locator. This combines an AIS sign displaying the situation of the MOB, together with a DSC (VHF) alarm stating the character of the emergency and giving the lat/lengthy of the MOB for many who don’t have an AIS receiver.
I completely by no means need to have a MOB state of affairs on our boat and we all the time tether when on deck and comply with primary security precautions similar to not happening deck at night time with out the opposite individual within the cockpit. Nonetheless, I feel that having an MOB locator is extraordinarily necessary for all boaters, however particularly these crusing with only one or two others on board.
AIS Flare Eco MOB Locator
On the Miami Boat Present, I obtained the SeaAngel AIS Flare Eco with DSC from Aquaventures. That is an AIS/DSC locator. Usually, I exploit one thing for three to six months earlier than I write an article about it. However that’s onerous to do with one thing that I hope to by no means truly use. And I can’t legally check how it will work in a simulated MOB state of affairs (that may be the equal of submitting a false report).
Right here’s what an MOB alarm appears like on an AIS-enabled chartplotter (on the present, the system was on land and activated on a specially-enabled frequency for demonstration functions in order that it didn’t seem to close by boats):
When lively, the system exhibits as “SART,” indicating its Search & Rescue. On the similar time, a DSC alarm is shipped which can alert some other crew on board that somebody has gone overboard. It’s lots loud to get up the off watch! Boats within the space who shouldn’t have an AIS receiver however which do have a DSC VHF (most are) will nonetheless get the message, together with an onscreen lat/lengthy. The DSC alarm may even go to the Coast Guard and different S&R businesses if inside vary.
The AIS and DSC alerts will transmit about 10 miles, relying on wave peak. Because the alarm goes out instantly, the mom ship ought to simply be in vary.
I feel that this kind of system significantly improves the chances of discovering a MOB. The mixture of instantly understanding that somebody has gone overboard, understanding their location, and enlisting the assistance of different boats within the space is an incredible step ahead. The quicker that somebody could be discovered, the higher the chances of rescuing them.
There’s nonetheless the difficulty of learn how to get somebody again aboard, however the much less time they’ve been within the water, the extra power they’ll have to help. Nonetheless, a swim platform or transom steps on a catamaran makes it a lot simpler to get somebody again aboard.
Options of the AIS Flare Eco to Assist Discover an MOB
I spent fairly a little bit of time speaking to Richard Kniffin, the president of Aquaventures, and in addition the reps within the sales space from the producer.
- The AIS Flare Eco is each US Coast Guard and SOLAS (worldwide Security of Life at Sea) permitted.
- Seven-year battery life (though batteries ought to be modified if the unit is activiated for something greater than a check).
- As soon as activated, the battery will present an AIS and DSC sign for 72 hours.
- Your MMSI quantity (from the “massive boat”) is programmed into the unit on the time of buy.
- Inner GPS to provide place report.
- Built-in strobe mild that routinely prompts when the unit is activated. This can be a big assist in discovering a MOB at night time.
- The smallest gadget available on the market, designed to tuck into an inflatable PFD and mechanically activate when the individual hits the water and the PFD inflates.
- Can be manually activated.
- Waterproof to 160 ft.
The AIS Flare Eco can also be reasonably priced, with Aquaventures promoting it at $179 (record worth $239). Ideally, there can be one per individual on the boat, however budget-minded cruisers can go for one unit and set up it on a “watchstander’s PFD” that’s handed from one individual to the subsequent as they take over the watch.
Out of all of the MOB units I noticed on the present, and ones I’d seen on-line, I favored this one of the best so far as mixture of options and worth. It actually stood out and I feel is a big improve to our security gear on Barefoot Gal. Nevertheless, as with our life raft and ditch bag, I hope to by no means report on how properly it truly works.
Putting in the AIS Flare Eco on an Inflatable PFD
The large difficulty with any MOB locator is that the MOB needs to be sporting the system once they go overboard. Nearly all MOB locator units are designed to be hooked up to a PFD, and that is simply another reason that everybody ought to put on a PFD each time on deck.
Whereas the AIS Flare Eco is a superb product, the instructions for putting in it on an inflatable PFD will not be utterly clear. Principally, it’s identical to placing an routinely activated strobe mild on a PFD, which I coated in Setting Up a New PFD. The way to open up an inflatable PFD and set up a tool in order that it routinely prompts when the life jacket is inflated is roofed there and I gained’t repeat it right here.
To put in the AIS Flare Eco, you have to first take away the purple protecting bracket from the unit and exchange it with the clear one. The pink bracket will forestall the pin from being pulled by the PFD inflating, whereas the clear one gained’t — however the clear one will nonetheless forestall an unintentional activation by bumping the “on” button.
Now you possibly can repack the life jackets.
Alternate Applied sciences
There are a minimum of two different choices for a MOB locator and I need to give a fast professional/con on them, though I feel for many of us the AIS/DSC gadget is greatest:
- PLB or private locator beacon, which is principally a private EPIRB. It sends a sign to look and rescue authorities with the precise location of the individual within the water, and the S&R authorities (such because the Coast Guard) then provoke a search.
- Different apps, such because the Weems & Plath CrewWatcher, which we obtained a few yr in the past and I reviewed right here.
PLBs are greatest in conditions the place you want to contact outdoors help. For instance, in case you are a single-hander and/or are cruising areas with few different boats. However because it takes time for the sign to succeed in the S&R authorities, after which for them to start out a search and attain your location, it is probably not the quickest option to get assist. Should you could possibly be rescued by your personal boat or a close-by one, an AIS/DSC gadget such because the AIS Flare Eco will summon assist quicker.
A yr in the past, I had bought Weems & Plath’s CrewWatcher. It makes use of a Bluetooth connection to a telephone or pill and sounds an alarm if that connection is misplaced — in different phrases, when the individual sporting the gadget has moved out of vary. The app then helps you navigate again to the situation the place the individual went overboard. The CrewWatcher’s one drawback is that it directs you to the place the individual was misplaced however says nothing about the place they’re now (the idea being that the alarm is sounded shortly sufficient that they haven’t moved too removed from that location). The benefits have been its affordability ($90), the truth that the MOB didn’t have to recollect learn how to activate the gadget and there was no want for an AIS receiver or perhaps a VHF on the mom ship. And people are all nonetheless true.
The CrewWatcher is definitely higher than no MOB locator, though I feel the AIS/DSC units are even higher. One nice use for the CrewWatcher is should you tow your dinghy (not really helpful however I do know many individuals who do) — connect it to your dinghy and it’ll sound an alarm if the dinghy breaks free. The CrewWatcher is ideal for this because it operates by distance, not by water activation or a PFD inflating.
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