Saving One's Arse - A great emergency option

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9 years 10 months ago #12915 by FalllGuy
After reading Rob Mousley's artcile entitled "Miracle" surfski rescue in Portugal, I thought I would post this recommendation for obvious reasons...



In my opinion, the single best safety item -besides a PFD- that paddlers around the world can get, is an item such as ACR Electronics new floating ResQlink +, 406 GPS locator beacon. This small device uses the same network that international EPIRB systems use to immediately contact local search and rescue and guide them to your exact location. It can also be used on land for hiking excursions or snow skiing.

The cell phone sized unit can be attached to the top of the strap of a PFD and goes virtually unnoticed while paddling.



Cellphones are not always reliable, because you may end up in a dead zone where no service is available. There are spots on the water right off shore here in New York -one of the worlds most prolific cell phone networks- where cell phone coverage is not available or unreliable. Unreliable because one can experience a large percentage of non connecting or dropped calls. Relying on a cell phone as your primary means of seeking help is in a word, risky at best.

A VHF radio is an outstanding means of seeking assistance, but it does not provide a homing beacon to lead rescuers to your exact location. It's a great back up plan, or great for situations where the emergency is not life threatening.

With homing beacons such as the ResQlink, you simply raise the antenna and push a button. Upon doing so, your call for emergency help goes directly to local search and rescue allowing them to be on the way to your exact location in mere minutes.

The unit costs about $250 U.S. and has a battery that lasts for 5 years before mandatory replacement.

Yeah, I know this sounds like an ad for the damn thing... Sorry about that. It's a force of habit.

But I personally feel that when there is a time tested and proven item out there that is probably the best optionfor saving a few of our sorry arses, I think it's the kind of thing that is worth mentioning...

Link to manufacturer's website:

www.acrelectronics.com/products/catalog/...eacons/resqlinkplus/

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9 years 10 months ago #12916 by FalllGuy
In regards to the story itself, I'd also like to say that...

If it wasn't for a few World Class paddlers that it appears are also World class people ( I don't think it's a stretch to use the word "heroes" .), this story could have been significantly more difficult to read.


I know there are a few out there that were not fortunate to have a similar situation work out as this did and the first thought that came to mind when reading this story, was the time I read their story here and on a few other forums about a situation that did not end up as well.


Kudos to those that represented themselves and the sport is such an honorable fashion.


They all deserve a meal of damn fine steak and a few cold beers for that one!

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9 years 10 months ago #12917 by Rightarmbad
I considered one of these, ended up buying a pair of radios instead.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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9 years 10 months ago #12926 by outriggerbev
Ive got a Spot device-similar product -more function.take it every paddle along with a phone and gps watch -garmin 305.neatly all fits in cheapest dry bag container-a used peanut butter jar and attaches to my footstrap so I can see the garmin.

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9 years 10 months ago #12928 by Kayaker Greg
I'll take my PLB with GPS any day of the week over a SPOT device, plenty of good reasons to be found if you want to do the comparisons for yourself.

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9 years 10 months ago #12932 by FalllGuy
I have used the SPOT heavily for the past three years. I love the tracking feature where real-time info is sent to the net and friends and family can follow your progress. That feature costs an additional $49.95 U.S. a year, added to the base SPOT cost of $99 U.S. a year, plus local taxes. That comes to over $150 a year U.S. to use the device, plus about $100 to buy it...

On cloudy days many of the SPOT signals don't get through. I have paddled on marginally-cloudy, non rainy days and had as much as 60% of my tracking signals not get transmitted successfully.

The SPOT transmits on very low power, about ten times less that the ResQLink Plus, or similar 406 PLB devices. The SPOT also only broadcasts to one private satellite network, the 406 PLBs transmit to two international government sponsored networks.

Also, a SPOT emergency signal gets sent to SPOT headquarters, who then call local 911 emergency services, who then attempt to dispatch the assistance needed.

The ResQLInk Plus and other 406 PLB's go right to a countries emergency response center with no middlemen needed...

PFDs are a great start when it comes to safety on the water. But as we have learned, PFDs are not always enough...

Interesting fact that few people here in the U.S., or around the world realize...

The PFDs most of us use, are only rated for calm inland waters and offer only minimal protection in rougher waters. In offshore conditions, or places where you can have a steady, wind-over-chop, as small as 1/2 a meter, water can continuously wash over your head causing drowning.

As we have all read, leashes break on a regular basis. People that have had both a leash AND PFD have been lost, or by what can only be described as a miracle, been luckily saved.

With everything being said, a 406 PLB such as the ResQLInk Plus, is probably the most practical and dependable item that you can combine with your PFD and leash, to save your life in an all hopes lost situation.

If you divide the cost of $250, over the batteries lifespan of 5 years, this item ends up costing a total of about $50 a year to use.

Personally, I spend more on ball caps to wear whilst paddling every season...

I know people here have lost friends to high risk activities.

More often than not, the friends I personally lost, were all very knowledgeable about the activity they were participating in and had years, upon years, of experience.

Two or three small problems all go wrong at the same time, leading to one big problem that often ends up being, too difficult to handle...

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9 years 10 months ago #12942 by robin.mousley
Besides which SPOT coverage doesn't extend to Southern Africa so we can't use it even if we wanted to.

I'm not sure what PLBs cost here but when I last investigated there were licensing issues and the units, though small, were too big to fit in a PFD pocket. If you have to store it on the boat, you're cooked anyway because the most dangerous time is when you lose your boat - you have to have your rescue gear on you.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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9 years 10 months ago #12944 by Physio
Unsure about licensing, but the ones we have here def fit in a pocket

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #12945 by Kayaker Greg
No issues with licencing a PLB you simply fill out a form that comes with the PLB and send it off to the appropriate Maritime or SAR authority in your country.
I have one of the bigger ones and carry it in my PFD pocket, all the time when going off shore in my sea kayak, less often in my ski because I'm not going as far or in as rough conditions, but I have carried it when ski paddling if I have thought conditions warrant it, off course they do make remounting more difficult in a ski. For awhile I was carrying my VHF radio as well on my ski, not so much for myself but if a fellow ski paddler has an issue, one paddler I know got into trouble one time by going in anaphylactic shock from a reaction to a muesli bar and almost died, his mate pulled him up onto a rock on an off shore Island and I'm not sure how they got in touch with the rescue authority's, but he very nearly died. Actually now I think of it, they may have been in kayaks, but they both paddle ski's so could have been either.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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9 years 10 months ago #12946 by robin.mousley
yeah, you're right the ResQLink is cellphone-size.

Resqlink Info

For me, it seems quite a big deal to set one of these off. On our little Millers Run for example, we only go about 2km offshore (plenty far enough to kill you of course) but we're so close to safety and I can call for help with cellphone, VHF and flares.

I'm dubious that the international S&R people would find anyone in South Africa to inform about the signal. And whoever that organisation is would then have to contact NSRI. And then I suspect there would be an inquiry and all kinds of bad stuff.

I guess we should research this though to find out how a resqlink signal would be dealt with here in SA.

I just don't see many people buying these things here - it's hard enough to get them to put a phone in a waterproof pouch.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #12948 by FalllGuy
Robin, I agree it definitely would be a big deal to set one of the units off. It is really meant as a means of last resort and would only be used when Murphy's Law takes over where, "Anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong."

What sets these units apart from all other options is the fact that even if one is caught in the worst conditions where it may be difficult for rescuers to visually locate a person, the unit broadcasts a homing beacon guiding rescuers right to where they are needed.

As far as the units size and how to carry it with you...

I attach my unit to the very top of the PFDs strap so the unit rests on top of my shoulder. For me personally, in this location on the PFD I use, there is no interference with the paddle stroke at all. the unit is totally unnoticeable as I paddle...



By carrying the PLB this way, it still allows me to use the storage my PFD has for other items.

At least here in the States, these items do not generally require a license.

You simply go to a site on the internet and register the unit by giving the unit number and your personal information. A few weeks later, a sticker comes to you in the mail, you attach it to the PLB and you are all set for the next 5 years. You re-register it every 5th year.

I have to also admit that I am totally clueless about anything that goes on in the world, outside of my own personal fishbowl that I live in here in New York and that people in different parts of the world have to investigate how practical the use would be in their area.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by FalllGuy.

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9 years 10 months ago #12949 by drjay9051
FALLGUY:

A bit off topic, but where in N.Y. ??

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #12950 by FalllGuy
Just throwing in one last thing in in regards to cell phones on the water...

I personally do not trust cell phones for on the water emergencies.

There are just too many areas where cell service can be spotty. It simply is not reliable. I witnessed this first hand a few years ago. I arrived to the local beach to find a father in despair.

His 21 year old son was fishing within 10 meters of the beach when a rouge wave came in and washed him off the side of a jetty into the inlet. He was no where to be seen.

I ran to my truck to call for help, but there was spotty cell coverage that morning and both of our cells could not get a signal through to make a call. To report the incident, I had to get into my truck and drive off of the beach to a point where I could get cell service.

Just for the record, the beach I am speaking of is an urban beach. It is the closest ocean-beach to the New York Metro area.

Also, about three weeks ago, I had a somewhat comical, but almost tragic, water related emergency cell phone experience ...

Not one, but TWO different cells, were used to call the 911 emergency service we use here in the States. The calls were made in an attempt to help save two Jetskiers that were close to drowning in a small inlet just 200 meters from shore.

They had been thrown from the ski and when they attempted to remount, the craft flipped over, filled with water and ended up completely submerged.

In an attempt to get help, I called via cell and had a friend also call via cell at the same time...

Long story short, two different 911 emergency operators could not understand that the emergency was taking place on the water and kept asking for the street name location of the emergency.

They ended up sending 6 emergency vehicles to a highway bridge, as opposed to contacting a local marine rescue unit the first of which didn't arrive to almost an hour later.

I got fed up with the operators on the cell. I ended up getting the people rescued by running down the narrow inlet shoreline waving my arms, whistling, jumping up and down and screaming, until a boater finally stopped to see why I was making a scene and raced over to save the people.

It was this exact event that made me finally spring for the ResQlink Plus PLB.

The entire hour-long episode took place directly in front of 10 beach fishermen, who were just a few hundred meters away. Not a single one of them was ever aware of what was transpiring.

A half dozen boaters drove their boats in and out of the marina that the small inlet leads to and they also were absolutely oblivious as to what was going on.

They drove their boats right past the people in the water never even seeing them...

Finally, two different calls were made by cell phone, to two different emergency operators. BOTH of them were just totally clueless about how to handle water emergencies and which procedure to follow to get the right agencies to mobilize and give assistance...

What makes matters even more ironic is the fact that the incident actually took place on the shore of the area where New York's police department trains it's Emergency Service units.

To me, this situation basically said that if I am on the water alone...

I am on the water alone!

That being the case, I realized that the best things that I can have with me when I am on the water alone, are those items specifically designed to bring emergency help on the water to those that end up needing it.

To me personally, the items are as follows...

406 PLB

VHF radio


Next...

SPOT device

Next...

Flares

Cell phone


Final choices...

Whistle

Mirror


Aside from flares and a cell phone, I usually have most of the other items with me, every time I am on the water.

VHF is bulky, so that stays in a small bag attached to the deck behind me. Everything else is easily stored on, or in, my PFD.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by FalllGuy.

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9 years 10 months ago #12956 by Rightarmbad
How about a V sheet stowed under your rear bungies.
Don't weigh much?

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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9 years 10 months ago #12959 by FalllGuy
Sounds like a good one to me RAB...

I'd like to see another few ideas and suggestions to be posted.

I also like strobe PFD attachable lights such as the ACR Firefly...

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9 years 10 months ago #12960 by AR_convert

Rightarmbad wrote: How about a V sheet stowed under your rear bungies.
Don't weigh much?


V sheet?

Always looking for the next boat :)

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9 years 9 months ago #12981 by Watto
Hope the image attaches. Trying attach and pasting as well.


Attachments:
The following user(s) said Thank You: AR_convert

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9 years 9 months ago #12992 by Moll
They should make the V sheet inflatable. can be used for support as well as being able to lift it from the water.

Current Quiver:
- Think Evo
- XT Double
- Popes Big Foot Assegai K1
- Wilderness systems Tarpon 160

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  • JeandeFlorette
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9 years 9 months ago #12995 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Saving One's Arse - A great emergency option
Safety has been one of my pet subject for quite some time as it really bothers me as to how generally casual we are here in Aus about it..."she'll be right mate!"

My attitude is when I go out in the ocean "I am on my own", hence i take a quite a few safety items such as :

1. life vest
2. leg rope
3. marine whistle secured to my life vest
4. day flare taped to the front deck
5. emergency light secured to life vest, its tiny and can stay on for 48 hrs, bought from Whitworths (boating store)

I am very pleased to see how many communication devices are available out there other than the mobile phone. We are lucky in Aus to have great coverage out at sea. Many mobile companies have advised that their coverage is as far as 100km depending on the network but generally speaking if they all cover 10 km, I don't sea many of us venturing that far out!

All the above items will fit in the pocket of a life vest and will not prevent re-entry in case you fall off your ski.

The debate I have not seen on this site is how to retrofit an anchor point for leg leashes for those older skis which did not have them in the first instance. Which leg ropes break and which are the better ones. Is velco ones stropng enough? I have personally been thrown off whilst attempting to land on a surf beach and was dragged for about 30m whilst holding on to my leashed paddle and I was surprised that the leash did not break! Just the simple velcro type and I had it tied to the foot strap! But how secure and safe is it, I don't really know as it can get really brutal out there!

More and more novice paddlers are out there and due to the addictive nature of surf ski paddling can quite easily put themselves into serious trouble due to inexperience, lack of awareness of weather/sea conditions. I have by default become a bit of a weather fanatic... I want to know what's going on out there before I venture out, I want to know what's coming up as much as possible. One thing that I have noticed is that "Seabreeze.com.au" on its own is not reliable, I use a combination of that site and "windguru.com" and between the 2 sites, you can get a fairly good idea of what is coming up, particularly wind direction/speed, swell height, direction. This whole thing about "downwind" can be quite tricky for the uninitiated as the direction of the wind and swell very rarely match, hence the conditions can vary so much. You can never be careful enough however experienced you are!

I firmly believe that there is a lot of goodwill on this site collectively, some great ideas being floated here. At the end of the day, safety is a personal thing but it is good to know what safety device/measures are available, recommended based on skill level. It is quite a scary thought that people see a couple of elite paddlers tackle huge seas with just a paddle and their skis and they think "I can do that!"...

Be safe!


Cheers,
JDF

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