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Thread: Epirb

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Epirb

    There is a lot of talk about the requirement of an EPIRB for the offshore races. Will we be required to have one for the Farallones race and/or the Half Moon Bay race? If so, does anyone have any insight about what/which/where to buy one?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Sean, you should see my e-mail - believe me it's being hashed out. We should have an answer about what kind by the end of the week.

    It does sound like you'll need to have one for SH Farallones - the CG is in the process of making them a requirement for all races past Pt. Bonita, but they have to go through a public comment period, etc. In the meantime they are tying it to the issuance of our race permits.

    Don't forget you can rent them from Boat US and from Sal's in Alameda. That might be the way to go until the CG issues their final rule.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Epirbs

    Thanks for the question. We're on it but need to get accurate information from the CG before sending everyone out on an EPIRB/PLB hunt.

    The CG is requiring 406 "EPIRBs" as a condition for granting a 2010 permit for races going past Pt. Bonita.

    The CG has not communicated anything in writing to us concerning the specifics of what they are requiring.

    I am sending an email to the CG today to get clarification.

    I have solicited the input of the SSS Safety/Rules committee to get advice on what we need to know before changing our Farallones and HMB required equipment list.

    I have spoken with the CG and the IYC (they ran the first race that needed to comply with this requirement) and I have gotten different versions of the requirement from each of them.

    YRA has also checked with the CG and gotten information that approximates what the CG told me. YRA does not get the permits for these races; the clubs that run these races do.

    The upshot is that we can't say with certainty what is being required until we get it in writing from the CG.

    There will also be a requirement that boats still on the course will need to check in with the race committee hourly starting at 2100. I am also asking the CG what will happen if a boat dosen't check in. Will they launch a SAR? Will they contact or will they require the race committee to contact the emergency contact listed on the race application?

    We will also strictly benforce our policy that any skipper who withdraws from the race without contacting the race committee will not race with SSS again until they have served on the race committee for a subsequent SSS race.

    We're dong our best and hope to have accurate infoemation by next week.

    Thanks for you patience.

    Bill Merrick
    SSS Commodore

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by seancanavan View Post
    If so, does anyone have any insight about what/which/where to buy one?
    If you end up springing for an EPIRB versus a much less expensive, very tidy and handy PLB, I happen to like the ACR GlobalFix iPro. You can get either the Cat I (auto deploy) or Cat II (manual deploy) bracket. What sold me? It has a clever optical interface that is super easy to connect to a GPS NMEA output (simply for Lat/Lon). The EPIRB updates itself with the GPS's position every so often so that if/when you deploy the beacon, the very first data package it sends out includes Lat/Lon. Without the feature, an EPIRB could take quite a while to acquire a location, so it transmits without the location initially. I figure minutes matter. Besides, it's pretty. Has a cool yellow case with a transparent top that shows off the electronics. Obviously I'm kidding, but it does look impressive next to my nav station, which is a small consolation after having spent so many boat bucks on it.

    Sorry, can't recommend where to buy... there are lots of good places. I just happened to opt for West Marine because I knew that if I had any problems with it, they'd take it back right over the counter, no questions asked. I will also say this for West, something that impressed me. They didn't pull the beacon out of some stale inventory. It came freshly from ACR, with a just-certified indicator on it and a brand new battery. Maybe that's ACR's policy so a fresh battery is sent? I don't know. It wouldn't hurt to ensure you use a supplier who doesn't buy in bulk and keep them on the shelf a while.

    Culebra/Olson 34

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Sailing Anarchy Article

    For those of you who don't follow Sailing Anarchy, there's a good interview with USCG Lieutenant Commander Janszen’s office up there this morning., search for "going rogue".

    I still have two open questions, and have called Janszen's office asking them to call me back:
    1) Will PLB's be acceptable alternatives for EPRIB's for the foreseeable future?
    2) Will PLB's be acceptable for Drakes Bay or Half Moon Bay races?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default USCG Lieutenant Commander Janszen

    Hey... Lieutenant Commander Janszen just called me back. Answers to my questions:

    1) PLB's will be acceptable alternatives for EPRIB's for the foreseeable future, so long as they are 406MHz PLB's

    2) PLB's will be acceptable for Drakes Bay and Half Moon Bay races (I didn't ask if they would be required... I assumed they are).

    Janszen is very nice, although it seems there's lots she could learn about the racing scene in San Francisco. Someone should take her out as crew sometime.

    If you have any questions, you can call her office at 415/399-7401. I left her a voicemail and she called back within an hour.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default STOP Contacting the USCG

    Individuals, please DO NOT contact the Coast Guard direct. I doubt it makes the job for your OFFICIAL SSS representatives easier.

    You will be racing under the SSS rules so please let the officers handle this. A ton of individual calls asking questions can't be good for the process.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    San Francisco Bay Area


    Just a bizarre thought....

    What if we invited a Coastie to "sit in" on our race deck for the SSS Farallones for a few hours? Maybe at the Start, up to about 1:00? I mean, it'd be great to have them on the deck all day until the last finisher came in, I bet they'd learn a lot, but that is a lot to ask.

    Also, we've talked about it, before, but a "RC-Mobile" VHF station (like someones car, or a camper or something) up on the bluffs by Lincoln Park or somewhere above the Cliff House would get VHF coverage pretty far out into the Gulf of the Farallones. The mobile station would be able to cell-phone call back to the RC on the GGYC race deck.

    Here's an, I don't have my calendar with me right now, so that's a caveat...and also, since I'm boatless all I have right now is a handheld VHF.... but if the SSS will loan me a VHF, a battery and an antenna, I will take a 4-hour shift at the "RC-Remote" station for the SHF.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    1962Buesher "Aristocrat" tenor saxophone
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    San Francisco Bay

    Default Doublehanded Lightship + Coast Guard = No Fun

    I rarely follow Sailing Anarchy forums as there is usually too much flame broiling for the amount of meat for my taste, but this particular thread is mostly civil and quite informative. Max posted a great reply (page 8, #191) that I think clears up allot of the misunderstanding that's being tossed around.

    It's up to 9 pages now so gab a big cup-o-joe and enjoy..

    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. On your way to a world that others might have missed.
    ~ Blues Image

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007



    The discussion regarding requiring 406 EPIRBs or PLBs for our Farallones and Half Moon Bay races will almost certainly continue for some weeks and, I hope, result in better communications and a better decision making process among racers, clubs and the CG.

    There are lingering questions regarding the process that produced this requirement and I believe two things: 1) racers, clubs and the CG share the goal of having safe races and 2) we're smart enough to figure out a process that satisfies everyone's organizational/ procedural needs.

    We will require 406 EPIRBs or PLBs for Farallones and Half Moon Bay this year. I believe that, absent the recent discussion, SSS would have implemented this requirement for Farallones next year anyway. Our Standing Sailing instructions are being amended to reflect this change. Under the requirement, skippers can buy, borrow or rent a 406 EPIRB or PLB.

    As Greg pointed out, it is important to work through our club's leadership if you are representing an SSS position to another organization. Otherwise, SSS will loose credibility in the discussion.

    Bill Merrick
    SSS Commodore

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