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Last resort communication


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Hi All

I'm interested in what people are using as last resort means of communication.

I’ve resisted wearing a PLB on my person mainly due to size of available locator beacons. I bought an ACR years ago, never took it out due to its size. I recently purchased an Ocean Life PLB-1, small in size and reasonably good reviews. I carry a cell phone, VHF, whistle, laser flare and rocket flares in my PFD, now also a PLB-1.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I just read an FB post of a kayaker who had a PLB-1 failure after a few immersions while rolling (it’s rated waterproof to 15 m). Not entirely sure what her test protocol was but I’ll just assume she followed manufacturer’s instructions. I’m vacuum sealing my PLB-1 now.

Please share your setup.




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Some random comments:

My one experience with rocket flares resulted in a strong desire to never fire one in the future so I carry 12 Gauge pistol flares.

Since I am not a user of smart phone apps while on the water, I keep mine in a waterproof case in the day hatch.

A signal mirror is a very small/light device, but very effective for signaling over substantial distances.

I am a big fan of laser flares and always carry one .

For group paddling a whistle is useful, but not sure about otherwise. Still, I always carry.

VHF is simple.  Never leave home without it.

I usually carry a DeLorme InReach SE on camping trips or long sketchy day trips and have found it fills several needs including allowing others to track where it and, hopefully me, are located.

The events detailed in the book "Where You Will Find Me" regarding the accuracy and timeliness of reporting by PLBs in a rescue setting is a bit sobering, but the environmental issues there were far more severe than typical and probably played a role.

"Not entirely sure what her test protocol was".  Perhaps more important question is what was the testing procedure used by Ocean Life.  I see nothing in their documentation suggesting the unit was certified as complying with any IP protocol which seems odd to me.  If you go to the trouble to have an independent lab test and certify your product, wouldn't you say so?  If they didn't, what are claims based upon? In any event, my biased view is an IPX7  or 8 rating should not be relied upon as suggesting  any device subjected to typical kayaking use/abuse will not be damaged by saltwater ingress after it is used for awhile.  IMHO, it would be better if they were rated IPX6 or maybe IPX6-K, but that is never going to happen let alone IPX9-K

Ed Lawson

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