Saving One's Arse - A great emergency option

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9 years 9 months ago #13019 by Pete
Well writted JDF,and I would like to follow on your point of " I can do that" as many paddlers who come from Surf Life saving backgrounds are involved in club training where we regularly go out in all conditions and although in spec ski`s that are designed to with stand a lot more all come with the same risk of ..What if ( lose my ski, cable breaks etc ) I think we have had many discussions over the years and many that have written here are geared up for self rescue as I believe its all about risk management and if your not fit and able then you should never ever do a long run until you are. I guess we have been lucky in Aust and for the amount of paddlers we have limited losses say when you compare against cyclists on the road - stay safe everyone, cross train with swimming etc, and carry the gear that started this thread as well.

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9 years 9 months ago #13021 by Bigdog
I always carry a PLB with me on any paddle which fits into my PFD and as a back up I also carry a cheap mobile in a waterproof bag for emergencies. In Australia you can dial 112 from any mobile phone and get through to 000 (emergency services). You don't need a sim card in the phone nor do you need any signal. I've tried it as far out as 8km off shore and it has rung every time. It is a great back up if all else fails.

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9 years 9 months ago #13022 by Rightarmbad
You must be in a signal area.

Your phone just won't show a signal without a sim in it or if you have it set to just your normal carrier and you are out of that service area but inside of another's service area.

So the problem then becomes that you don't know if you are in a signal area or not.

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 9 months ago #13024 by Bigdog
Your right RAB if you dont have a sim card in the phone it won't show that you have any signal but it will still allow you to make the emergency call. I have tried it in most areas I have paddled up and down the east coast of Australia as a test and been able to make the call every time. I am yet to find an area where it hasn't worked both on the ocean and on the land.
It was a safety tip given to me by a senior search and rescue officer in the NSW Police Service I'm just passing it on as I thought it was good advice.
Try it for yourself and see if it works next time you paddle in the creek!

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9 years 9 months ago #13027 by Kayaker Greg
Thats great advice thanks Bigdog as I carry a spare phone when doing long camping trips in my kayak that has a FM radio that I listen to for weather etc but I don't run a sim card in it. Worth checking out if I can reach emergency services without the card here in NZ.

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7 years 10 months ago #21384 by Marieski

Kayaker Greg wrote: 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.


Greg, does your PLB have any options like SPOT or just send a generic EPIRB signal? I liked the option of single button lower level information signals that SPOT offers, but I take it this device is minimally functional in Australia/NZ. Any other suggestions for similar devices which work in this geographical area?

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #21390 by Kayaker Greg
No Marie, its just a PLB. I'm not a fan of the SPOT type system, I don't think they are reliable enough from what I have seen and what are people supposed to do if they don't receive an expected signal (which is often)?
I now have the smaller ACR ResQlink and it stays attached to a belt bag that I attach my leg rope leash too and carry my camera inside, so it goes with me on every paddle now. Also take it with me mountain biking.

There is also the In Reach system, haven't looked into it in much depth, similar to SPOT I think with ongoing subscription and I'm quite happy with the system I use as I think its the most reliable.

This is a NZ site for beacons but you might find it interesting.

beacons.org.nz/Home.aspx
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #21395 by jagter
I must say, it sounds like the signal from these type of devices will end up going through some government agency. And in South Africa that means you will drown, and then 7 weeks later some official will send a fax or telegram to your local NSRI.

I much prefer a cellphone with the local NSRI number saved as the last dialed number. Locally, most (if not all?) surf-ski clubs are affiliated with the surf lifesaving clubs, which in turn tends to have a close relationship with their local NSRI. So odds are you'll even know the guy answering the emergency number, and he'll have local knowledge when you say you are behind point x. or 2 miles from rock Z.

Never had signal problems on the SA coast. even many KM offshore.

Edit: Ok, I've now read the whole story on their website. So you can specify contact persons they need to contact when getting your signal? That might change the whole game, and make this a really useful device
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by jagter. Reason: Changed my mind

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7 years 10 months ago #21396 by robin.mousley
Another product worth considering is a thing called the Nautilus Lifeline

www.nautiluslifeline.com/

Basically, this thing combines a VHF radio with GPS. If you trigger the emergency button, it'll automatically send out a distress call on VHF that will be received by any vessel that has the appropriate receiver and it will give them your GPS position.

Alternatively it can be used as an ordinary radio, with the usual maritime VHF channels including channel 16.

The idea is, if you're in deep sh1t, you hit the button and everyone and his dog will come looking for you.

If you're in moderate sh1t, you can call on channel 16, and when someone talks back to you, you can give your coords thanks to the big screen on the side of the unit that displays them.

Here in SA the unit costs about R3,500.

I played with it for a week or two, and just found it overkill for the kinds of things I do. I have a waterproof marine vhf that floats (R1,800), plus I carry flares and a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.

But for folks who want to go further offshore, the Lifeline looks like an excellent option. It's a little fatter than my conventional vhf, but it still fits in the front of my Mocke PFD.

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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7 years 10 months ago #21400 by uk_exile
From my limited experience with one the SPOT units do not work well in mountains or bush. 5hr run & the only markers received from it were while stationary in carpark. Some have ok experience though. I understand they a bit better in some areas of world than others (places where satelites are high overhead rather than nearer horizon)

Personally I wouldn't rely a SPOT for emergency rescue, not on land or water. They are trackers, not emergency locators. In my opinion the only reliable options are EPIRB or PLB. Plus consider flares & mobile in waterproof pouch.

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7 years 10 months ago #21419 by Fath2o
FallGuy,

I think you need to do some homework. A VHF can provide a homing beacon and the service is free.

A handheld waterproof, floating VHF radio with a GPS and DSC distress button will provide a pinpoint location to the US Coast Guard when activated. The Rescue 21 system has been fully implemented through out US coastal waters out 20 miles, even Hawaii.

When registered, the Coast Guard will have your name, address, phone, type of boat and activity your involved in.

You would be able to converse with them while your location is being transmitted.

I personally haven't had much luck with battery life though.

I am also skeptical that an EPIRB will "immediately" contact
"local" search and rescue. The video in fact states the signal is sent to a national search and rescue center via satellite.

You might be waiting a while

Around here, in the spring time, I'll probably be dead of hypothermia with in 3 hours.


Good luck.

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7 years 10 months ago #21421 by uk_exile
My understanding is EPIRB / PLB transmit on frequencies picked up by all aircraft, ground based Search And Rescue (SAR) & satelites so signal pickup is very fast. Stories indicate that generally within 10 minutes the signal has been picked up, relayed to registered home country of the device, it's registration details checked & the signals location country SAR services notified, be that police, fire, coastguard, whatever. Note they're international so even if purchased in New Zealand it will work in USA & vice versa however they do contact the home country to check if the device is being used overseas. Registering it is important to avoid wasting value SAR time & resources.

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #21424 by Fath2o
I would like to suggest that filing a float plan before you head out on that big gale force downwinder as one of our most important safety tools. Of course I tell my wife, but, before putting my phone in the pouch, I call the local Harbor patrol (My mates I count on to come save my ass!), and let them know what I'm doing and when to expect me back. They really appreciate it to cause, they often get people calling 911 to report a guy in trouble on a kayak far offshore in conditions they feel know sensible person should be out in. They also know if they get the distress call from me they know exactly what's going on. They can get to me in minutes not hours. If the Coast Guard's rescue coordination center gets the call/signal, they are unlikely to directly call any local authorities or harbor patrol.
They are likely to only put out an alert on VHF 16 that a distress beacon has been activated and the coordinates.
The coast guard will activate a rescue, but, are likely to take hours to get there.
I have to agree with Rob and jagter here that relying on an international or national rescue center to contact the local agency that can save your ass before hypothermia gets you is unlikely.
Plus, If the US coast Guard (or equivalent) rescues you, there's going to be a lot of explaining and paperwork to do. Maybe even some kind of fine or fee.
"Didn't you see there was a gale force storm out there? We risked our lives to come save you, you SOB. I was right in the middle of the latest episode of "Deadliest Catch".
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Fath2o.

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7 years 10 months ago #21427 by Kayaker Greg
This is timely, just in the news today, don't rely on your cell phone.

www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11307811

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7 years 10 months ago #21428 by uk_exile
5 people in smallish boat with 3 poor lifejackets which they were not wearing. Calm conditions but changing. Had been drinking alcohol. Sadly all too common here in NZ. Darwinism.
Radio or EPIRB would have saved him. Most likely 5 good life jackets being worn would have too, despite the time of year meaning water would have been cold.
Telling people where they were going would probably have saved him. Reliable engine or an auxiliary engine would have saved him. Even oars in a boat that size might have saved him.
When we had a power boat the rule was no jacket, no ride. No exceptions & I once left a friend sitting at the ramp in small lake mid summer because he wouldn’t comply.
Same rule still applied by me in kayaks & skis. Bump your head & the best ski remount skills will not save you.

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7 years 10 months ago #21429 by GlenRusky
Rob, what brand marine VHF do you use over in SA? Mainly interested in size/dimensions.
I am looking at this Uniden MHS 050 www.uniden.com.au/australia/p_mhs050_index.asp
Has anyone else used this one?
I am a little concerned about the size. At 227x68x33mm it seems rather bulky as it will be in the front pouch of a Mocke pfd.
Are there any other suggestions for a nice lightweight decent marine VHF?
Thanks in advance.
Glen

Current Ski: Nelo 550 ML (4 WWR)
Previous Skis: Fenn Spark - carbon, Vajda Hawx elite, Fenn Swordfish - carbon, Fenn Elite - carbon

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7 years 10 months ago #21431 by robin.mousley
I bought an ICOM M36 (probably overkill, the smaller M24 would do just as well for our usual situations).

www.westmarine.com/buy/icom--m36-floatin...-vhf-radio--10344513

It fits comfortably into the front pocket of my PFD, it's really easy to operate, incredibly light.

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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7 years 10 months ago #21432 by robin.mousley

I would like to suggest that filing a float plan before you head out on that big gale force downwinder as one of our most important safety tools. Of course I tell my wife, but, before putting my phone in the pouch, I call the local Harbor patrol (My mates I count on to come save my ass!), and let them know what I'm doing and when to expect me back. They really appreciate it to cause, they often get people calling 911 to report a guy in trouble on a kayak far offshore in conditions they feel know sensible person should be out in. They also know if they get the distress call from me they know exactly what's going on. They can get to me in minutes not hours. If the Coast Guard's rescue coordination center gets the call/signal, they are unlikely to directly call any local authorities or harbor patrol.


Totally agree with this one. Here in Cape Town, we often drop the NSRI (local equivalent of the RNLI or coast guard) an SMS "3 skis, Millers Pt to Fish Hoek ETA 17h30" and then "All in Ok" afterwards.

As you say, it gives them situational awareness, they really appreciate it. (We've done SR exercises with them, they often help with safety with our races, and we fund raise for them...)

Nothing is 100% silver bullet, but everything from being fit and knowing your limits, to having means of communication with you shifts the odds in your favour.

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...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fath2o

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7 years 10 months ago #21466 by robin.mousley
Here's some food for thought - 4 hours in the water, stung by jellyfish... She'd have died of hypothermia here if it had happened on the Atlantic side of the peninsula.

bangordailynews.com/2014/08/12/news/midc...ves-capsize-surfski/

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...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fath2o

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7 years 10 months ago #21473 by Rod Thomas
All these VHF devices look good but I'd be interested how they stand up to a years use in a surfski in the sea, washing with fresh water and cleaning terminals etc included. Some of the reviews spoke of the battery dying, others of the aluminium corroding.. etc. But yeah safety is all important and phones are very limited.

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