Category: Safety & SAR

Testing AIS MOB beacons, ACR's DSC feature especially

Aug 25, 2017

testing_four_AIS_MOB_beacons_cPanbo.jpgGiven my accidental activation of an AIS MOB beacon a few weeks ago, it seemed like a good time to test beacons again. I hoped to at least see all the major brand multifunction displays properly react to an AIS MOB test transmission, putting up the distinct safety message that I should have seen during "the incident" and that every owner of an AIS MOB should be familiar with. Potential beacon users should also understand the specific activation, test, and deactivation controls on their device, plus I have two newer beacons with special features worth examining in detail...

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Lessons learned by causing a false AIS MOB alert

Aug 8, 2017

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The grins tell the story: Mission accomplished! Due to an obscure but noteworthy electrical glitch, plus oodles of embarrassingly distracted seamanship on my part, a sizable U.S. Coast Guard team spent part of a beautiful Saturday looking for an AIS man overboard alert that seemed to be associated with my boat Gizmo. Fireman Joey Jansen-Hedrick and Petty Officer 1st Class T.J. Iaci (above) were the boarding party that had to deal with an owner/operator (me) who was pretty sure they didn't know what they were talking about. But they were politely persistent, and they were right...

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PanPan CrewWatcher, smart MOB beacon for smartphones, plus Sea Tags & Fell MOB+

Jan 23, 2017

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Does it make sense to use smartphones and tablets for a man overboard alarm and recovery system? I can testify that the first reaction of Sail magazine's Pittman Innovation Award judges was skepticism. Nonetheless we found PanPan's CrewWatcher so well thought out and potentially so useful that we gave it an award in the safety category, and then an independent second set of judges picked it for the Overall Winner. And truth be told, the finished CrewWatcher personal beacons and apps don't actually exist yet!

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McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB, first of many, PLBs too?

Dec 9, 2016

McMurdo_SmartFind_E8_G8_and_G8_AIS_EPIRBs_aPanbo.jpgLet's first note that McMurdo's trailblazing SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB still awaits FCC approval and probably won't be for sale in the U.S. until spring (along with its more conventional E8 and G8 siblings). But McMurdo has definitely developed this useful combination of local and global rescue beacon, other manufacturers may have AIS EPIRBs in the works, and I've got some details about how they'll work. I also have some safety tips from an acquaintance who just dramatically experienced the effectiveness of a current ACR EPIRB...

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Standard Horizon GX6500: a loaded VHF radio also integrated with Class B AIS

Oct 11, 2016

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The wait is almost over. The Standard Horizon Quantum GX6500 combines Class B AIS and VHF transceivers into one device, an important first in critical marine communications that some boaters have long hoped for. It is not yet for sale pending FCC approval, but the expected price of $800 seems quite reasonable given the install efficiency, the integrated GPS/VHF/AIS features, and a lot more that Standard has designed in. The GX6500 would be an extraordinary radio even without the AIS...

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The Jose Fernandez boating tragedy, some safety thoughts

Sep 28, 2016

Jose_Fernandez_crashed_boat_courtesy_Patrick_Farrell_Miami_Herald.jpgYou probably already know at least the rudiments of the story. At about 3 am on Sunday, three young men died when their 32-foot center console fishing boat engaged at high speed with the long north jetty that guards the Port of Miami's Government Cut channel. Just the violence of the crash -- it was heard by a policeman on shore nearly a half mile away -- was noteworthy, but the owner and probable driver was the beloved budding baseball star Jose Fernandez. It's a deeply tragic story as is, but is there anything in it to learn about boating safety?

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A Camden boat grounding dissected, can crowdsourcing help?

Aug 18, 2016

aground_in_Camden_mooring_field_blurred_cPanbo.jpgThe identities of the yacht and its operators are irrelevant. But how did they go hard aground in a highly used harbor during a clear summer day? Was it just a dumb mistake or was a lack of chart detail partially to blame? Should the USCG or the town of Camden better mark the danger? Did marine electronics somehow contribute to what was at least an embarrassing incident? Can crowdsourced data help? I'm not sure about the answers but I have assembled a lot of information for discussion...

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Testing Furuno DRS4D-NXT solid-state Doppler radome, "Radar Redefined" most definitely

Aug 2, 2016

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After many hours testing a NXT radome on Gizmo in often busy Maine waters, I believe that Furuno's bold "Radar Redefined" claim is completely justified. This radar is so smart that it makes sense to run it in broad daylight. Brightly highlighting the one vessel (above) moving toward me in Camden Harbor's forest of moored and moving boats is just one example of its highly automated and intelligent features. I fear that many readers will suffer radar jealousy as I detail what I've seen so far, but let's look at the bright side and honor Furuno for setting a significantly new performance bar that other major manufacturers will hopefully try hard to attain...

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A Search and Rescue boat's critical electronics

Jun 9, 2016

RCMSAR Station1 West Vancouver Howie at HelmAs a welcome change from his usual duties, Howie relaxes at the helm of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Unit 1's Falkens class boat -- Craig Rae Spirit. More often he's face down in the water on a training exercise anxiously awaiting rescue from the ocean near Vancouver. Howie is integral to Unit 1's training program which includes: emergency procedures, first-aid, seamanship, vessel handling, teamwork, electronic navigation and the use of marine electronics. Let's take a closer look at the training needed to use some of the gear on SAR 1, along with how and why it is used on a search and rescue mission...

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Adam Hyde | Permalink | Comments (10)

West Marine Expo, ACR LED Searchlight, Scanstrut USB, Navico Compass & Triton Gills

Mar 29, 2016

West Marine Expo Cover 2016West Marine's first ever Marine Electronics Expo will kick off in four states (NY, FL, CA, CT) on April 8th (thru 9th) and also online. Besides some deals on electronics gear, there will be live educational seminars from Icom, Shakespeare, Lowrance, Fusion, Uniden, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Spot, Delorme, and maybe more at the select stores...

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Adam Hyde | Permalink | Comments (9)
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