VHF, Spot, Delorme Inreach, Mobile phone, PLB?

2 months 1 week ago #32079 by sski
Which of these do you carry with you when you paddle and why? Thanks!

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2 months 1 week ago #32080 by tve
VHF marine with GPS&DSC - it's what is bound to give the best emergency response around here (US west coast) and it's 1-press activation.
Cell phone - it tracks me in real-time and displays speed/hr.

There are a whole bunch of threads in this forum about the pros and cons of the various options, do a search!
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2 months 1 week ago #32082 by robin.mousley
To set the context, our downwind routes are not exceptionally dangerous, but, especially in winter, we have quite chilly temperatures (air and sea 12C-17C) and we are up to 2km offshore. So we take safety pretty seriously.

Safety equipment includes:
  • PFD, belt leash - to me you're a moron if you don't have at least this. (Most folks use a calf leash; I prefer a belt leash having once hurt my knee with a calf leash)
  • Paddle leash. I'm not so worried about losing the paddle - but I have frequently found myself helping other people and it just makes it easier to be able to let go of the paddle so that I can use both hands to hold something else.
  • Pencil flares. Proved to be effective in SR exercises and recently in a downwind rescue on our regular route. I've also used them years ago to get help for my buddy.
  • Whistle. Summoned help in a race when I injured my back. Was involved in a rescue where the whistle would have been a solution had the rescuers responded differently!
  • Smartphone in a waterproof pouch, running SafeTRX tracking app. Why? It's easy to use, is plumbed into the NSRI (our SR service). I send the link to my family so they know where I am at all times. SafeTRX is available in Aus, parts of Europe, South Africa and is expanding to other areas in the world. SafeTRX website
  • VHF Radio. It's quite an old model now, but I carry an ICOM M71. It's easy to use but a handheld VHF has very little range when held just above the surface of the water. But for close in comms when the guys are looking for you, it's the easiest way of communicating.

I looked into Spot and it seems like a good option; it is quite expensive however for us here. (How expensive is it really if it saves your life, etc, etc.)

PLBs? I'm sceptical about their applicability for surfski given an incident here in Cape Town where it failed completely .

No idea about Delorme Inreach.

For me the critical thing is that no one system is 100% silver bullet. But every precaution that you take adds to the odds in your favour. Whatever you chose, be it PLB, Phone, Flares, VHF or whatever, make sure that you know the thing backwards - how to operate it, how to test it and be sure that you service it regularly (I just replaced the battery in my VHF) and that you test it regularly (do test calls to another radio, make sure your family actually knows what to do with the SafeTRX link).

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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2 months 1 week ago #32086 by sski
Thanks. I have read some of those stories of less-than-stellar performance of emergency gear in time of need, so would like to build in some redundacy in emergency notification. I ordered some pencil flares and a submersible/floating VHF radio today. Have the cell in waterproof bag, whistle, ALWAYS PFD, waist leash. Downloaded SafeTRX but not sure yet if works in NW USA. No paddle leash but likely will make one out of simple cord. I paddle alone on some medium sized lakes (I have odd work hrs) but would never go in ocean alone.I have cell phone set to pushing on button 4 x calls 911/Emergency. And an open app of my exact coordinates.
Thanks again.
Anyone in USA used SafeTRX or have similiar?

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #32087 by davgdavg
I use a ACR ResQlink +406. Its relatively small, and at least in the US, is the best option IMO.

If I was going to be doing anything offshore, I would probably take some location dye. I know first hand that this is the most effective and longest lasting thing if you're trying to be seen from the air. Pencil flares are probably more effective to be seen from the water I would guess. All in all, horses for courses and the conditions and resources you might need.

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2 months 1 week ago #32095 by robin.mousley

Pencil flares are probably more effective to be seen from the water I would guess


Depends on the circumstances. When we did our SR exercise with a helicopter they said that although the pencil flares only lasted 5 sec or so, the smoke trails looked like arrows in the sky pointing towards the casualty.

All in all, horses for courses and the conditions and resources you might need.


Agreed. The key is to use something and ideally to have several backup plans.

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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2 months 1 week ago #32098 by SpaceSputnik
Class D DSC VHF and a phone. My research indicates that PLBs and anything like Spot does not provide anywhere the response time I like.

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2 months 1 week ago #32099 by SpaceSputnik

robin.mousley wrote: To set the context, our downwind routes are not exceptionally dangerous, but, especially in winter, we have quite chilly temperatures (air and sea 12C-17C) and we are up to 2km offshore. So we take safety pretty seriously.


Wow 12-17C water is very warm by our standards. On Ontario I start and end the season in abou 5-6 degree water and this is considered conservative. I am out of a drysuit only in June sometime and back to it probably late Sept.
My sea kayaking friends get out in 3 degree water.

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2 months 1 week ago #32102 by robin.mousley

On Ontario I start and end the season in abou 5-6 degree water and this is considered conservative


Huge respect!

That's a terrifying temperature!

We are extremely lucky both with the temperatures and the wind conditions; we can paddle downwind virtually the whole year round with nothing more than a couple of hellys and a wind cheater when it's "cold".

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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2 months 1 week ago #32103 by SpaceSputnik

robin.mousley wrote:

On Ontario I start and end the season in abou 5-6 degree water and this is considered conservative


Huge respect!

That's a terrifying temperature!

We are extremely lucky both with the temperatures and the wind conditions; we can paddle downwind virtually the whole year round with nothing more than a couple of hellys and a wind cheater when it's "cold".


Thanks Rob :)
You get to know your drysuits and layering pretty quickly :D If you only own a wetsuit the season shortens to somethig like mid-june to mid-october which is no fun.
If you ever get too warm, watch this video:
especially the parts with snow on the ground :D That's about 3c water.
BTW the guy is using a diving suit which is pretty uncommon.

Cheers
Yury

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