There are few choices you make about your boat that are potentially more important than finding the right survival device, the personal locator beacon or MOB equipment that could save your life, or the life of anyone else on board. And there’s no reason to postpone getting one or more of these; they generally are the least costly piece of electronics on board, by a long shot. But what to buy?
Here’s some advice from Marine Electronics Journal, which asked manufacturers to submit what they consider the best and brightest in their product line. The Journal published a review of six: Garmin inReach Explorer+, ACR ResQLink+PLB, SAILOR SP3520 Portable VHF GMDSS, GOST Personal Tracker, Ocean Signal rescueME MOB1, and Weems & Plath CrewWatcher.
The Garmin inReach is already popular; it uses global Iridium satellite coverage for two-way text and vessel tracking anywhere in the world. You can use its GPS function to navigate and follow routes and waypoints, and you can use social media to share that information with your family and friends back home. It also has an emergency interactive SOS function.
The award-winning Ocean Signal rescueME MOB1 was used by all the crews in the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s the smallest man overboard device with integrated DSC. You integrate it into an inflatable life jacket, and it’s triggered when the jacket is inflated. It sends its first alert within 15 seconds to all AIS receivers and AIS-enabled plotters in the region, with a range of five miles. It also activates the DSC alarm on the boat’s VHF radio, while providing a GPS location of the person in the water.
The ACR ResQLink is a small buoyant device that you could store inside an inflatable life jacket. It also uses GPS positioning plus a powerful 406 MHz signal to relay its position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites. Read more: