Surfski Emergencies

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7 years 10 months ago #22558 by Metro
Replied by Metro on topic Surfski Emergencies
This is an important topic. Whenever offshore I carry:

- iPhone in Lifeproof case and small waterproof bag. Sits tethered in the footwell north of the pedals and you would never knows it's there. The primary use for the phone in my mind is land-based - a beach is closed out and you pick another landing and call for a pickup, etc. While I have not had to try it, I always have had a nagging feeling that in hectic conditions at sea a phone would be hard to use effectively for rescue. But, certainly folks have done so and I wouldn't hesitate to try it if in need.

- A GPS enabled PLB in my PFD. If we take as a given that a PLB or tracker is an absolute last resort (as it should be), I much prefer a PLB. PLB / EPIRB signals are monitored by the government. Trackers in one form or another are a commercial enterprise. We can all make jokes about governments depenidng on our political leanings, but when it all has gone truly to shit I want the government monitoring my signal, not my partner on some app. Also, as others in this thread have noted, a registered PLB is truly a robust piece of kit, being waterproof and able to transmit for 24 hours.

I have seen a PLB work and it was very effective. Brother came off a snowmobile deep in the backcounty with very serious injuries. Unable to get him out, late in the day, with his young son also to think about. After much consideration we activated the PLB. Within minutes the signal was picked up and a call went out to my brother's wife, who was indicated as the contact when the PLB was registered. She relayed that we were in the backcountry and late. Within 30 minutes of activiating the PLB a light plane was circling overhead and within two hours rescue was with us in the backcountry. All ended up fine and I ended up with a deep appreciation of what these things can do. But, they should be used very sparingly. I feel that we used ours appropriately, but others might disagree.

Our thoughts go out to Mark Feather and his family.

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7 years 10 months ago #22570 by CoastPop
Replied by CoastPop on topic Surfski Emergencies
Rob - I think Ric has a trackimo and I have asked him to contact you. A thought - we could band together with SUPs etc and get preferential pricing on the device and then as part of the subscription have a portion donated to NSRI who we can set be up as a contact (I think this is possible). I also feel a full years subscription is a bit over the top as some of us may only need to use them periodically. From what I can see, diytracking is way more expensive than trackimo but has a more flexible subscription offering

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7 years 10 months ago #22572 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Surfski Emergencies
I demoed the Trackimo for a few weeks some time back and it seems to be pretty good.

It uses GPS for location, but cellphone for transmission. However during the time I had it I was unable to get onto a Millers to check for dead spots. I have heard there are dead spots further South of Millers.

It has live tracking and some buttons for sending distress sms or emails. It does not have a way to ping it from another device.

Seemed relatively accurate most of the time, with a few glaring bugs (but they didn't last more than an hour or two before repositioning again). So on the Millers Run situation, or dying of cold on the Atlantic side, there might be issues.

The major problem I had with it is that there is no way to broadcast your location globally / publicly. You have to have an account that is private, which means you need your emergency contact to be listening in, and liasing with NSRI.


So for the basic problems we see around here a lot (Millers Run...) it was not 100% ideal. In the current case, it would have been perfect though. Because by now, someone would be on his account, and any GPS glitches would have been checked out anyway.

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7 years 10 months ago #22573 by CoastPop
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7 years 10 months ago #22574 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Surfski Emergencies
Thanks, John, to update some of the outdated facts on that review - the Trackimo now has an Android app, and works fine in SA without extra cost.

They have sorted out those issues.

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7 years 10 months ago #22575 by [email protected]
Thanks guys.

In my opinion we want something that would be a no brainer in terms of cost. To me R2,000 plus R90 per month (which is what trackimo costs here) is too expensive.

I think we need to keep looking - we really want something in the order of R300 - R500 plus maybe R30-R50 per month.

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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7 years 10 months ago #22576 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Surfski Emergencies
Rob that was my feeling, even at the 50% deal I was offered.

For others reading this thread, I think the R90 pm kicks in only after 1 year.

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7 years 10 months ago #22577 by [email protected]
Yep, sorry for that, I didn't read the webpage thoroughly, my bad!

Costs are:

R1995 for the unit plus 12 months subscription
R1195 for the unit plus 1 months subscription
R95 for one month subscription
R595 for six months subscription
R995 for 12 months subscription

So it's really about a grand for the unit plus about R90 per month depending on how many months you buy up front.

They're willing to give me a unit to test/review, so I'll probably take them up on that after I return from Aus.

But I still think we should try to get something even less expensive. As I said, we want this to be a no brainer.

And it's also important to understand that this won't be a silver bullet - it's just another thing in the arsenal. All the rest, phones, radios, PLBs (for those who can afford them), leashes, training, remount practise, still apply!

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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7 years 10 months ago #22578 by uk_exile
Replied by uk_exile on topic Surfski Emergencies
The question is who can't afford a PLB. What's your life worth to you ? To your family ?

How much did your last ski cost & how much does it depreciate each year? Perhaps these safety items aren't so expensive after all.
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7 years 10 months ago #22579 by Davidw
Replied by Davidw on topic Surfski Emergencies

Fath2o wrote: Here is a link to a very long and boring tutorial on the capabilities and use of a VHF marine radio equipped with DSC (digital selective calling). Once registered, simple and free, will transmit your personal info that you provide, and position, to other boats and rescue agencies, equipped with the same devices, with the push of a button.
These capabilities are available in a water proof handheld VHF radio with built in GPS.


I was looking into the Nautilus lifeline, a marine rescue radio with GPS that uses DSC (digital selective calling) to send an emergency signal. I called SAMSA about obtaining the MMSI number for the device and was told that DSC in not yet available in South Africa as the infrastructure is not in place. There are plans to have this up and running sometime next year once Telkom has provided the infrastructure but right now the only stations likely to receive your distress call via DSC will be large container ships and tankers, who are unlikely to come to your aid.

SAMSA's advice was that the best options at the moment are a cellphone in a waterproof pouch, flares and a handheld marine VHF. Like Rob its probably best to carry them all.
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7 years 10 months ago #22580 by Metro
Replied by Metro on topic Surfski Emergencies
Here is a link to a PLB that a lot of us use in Australia. www.rei.com/product/843146/acr-electroni...sonal-locator-beacon The link is to an American site. Price is US$289. I will let everyboyd make their own cost conversions. Without getting into a "haves vs haves-not" discussion, I do not think that is overly expensive. Assuming it is not fired off the battery life is 7 years (rated, surely it gets more but who wants to test it?) and there is no fee, annual or otherwise. This is not a discount unit - it is the real deal. For context, in Aus a pair of polarized prescription sunglasses will cost nearly double that.

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #22581 by Mako
Replied by Mako on topic Surfski Emergencies
Rob take a look at topcctv.co.za/content/gps-personal-tracker-magnet

These can be obtained locally for around R1300 incl. VAT. Sim extra.

Live tracking and playback via Google etc. Login by anyone with u and p. Anyone can log on and see all registered users (for whom they have U&P) on the water at the same time. Not ulike live tracking during races.

First year is free and then R300 per year.

I'm not selling anything. Just giving a reference point.

Track history review can be very valuable

I'm not sure but when I last checked PLB support locally was nonexistant. 121.3 which I've got is no more.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Mako. Reason: Spellink

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7 years 10 months ago #22582 by uk_exile
Replied by uk_exile on topic Surfski Emergencies
PLB / EPIRB coverage is whole world. However nearer each pole there will be a delay as less geo stationary satelites over those areas

Heaps of info about how it all works here
www.cospas-sarsat.int/en/system-overview/cospas-sarsat-system

www.cospas-sarsat.int/en/search-and-resc...rsat-distress-alerts

www.cospas-sarsat.int/en/system/detailed...r-satellite-coverage

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7 years 10 months ago #22586 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Surfski Emergencies
Davidw , thanks for responding to my post, I have no idea how the DSC
system is set up in other parts of the world. Once the system is in place, I think it will be a good way to go. There was talk on another thread about the size of handheld marine radios. The DSC floating handhelds are a bit large, much bigger than my old non floating waterproof vhf. I damaged my first DSC radio while remounting my ski with the radio in a chest pouch on my PFD. Now I tie a line to the radio and put it in the pouch on my back. I also bought a more sturdily built radio from standard horizon.
Like Rob says, don't for all your other safety devices and
file a float plan with local rescue agencies and family members.
I find it easy to take off in the afternoon on a paddle, get several miles offshore, and no one knows where I am. For me the local Harbor Patrol is just a phone call away. Not very good at following my own
advice. Duh!

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #22589 by Davidw
Replied by Davidw on topic Surfski Emergencies
For those with Android phones, after some research, I have just installed "Real Time GPS Tracker" on my phone. It tracks your phone's position via it's built in GPS, or via the cell network if no GPS signal is available. Update intervals can be increased to reduce battery consumption.

You can allow others to track your (live) position via a web browser by sharing your unique URL with them. Your position is shown on Google Maps as well as your GPS co-ordinates.

The app is free and is available from the PLAY store. For more info visit www.greenalp.com

I will be testing it over the next few days. I would be interested to hear some other opinions as well.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Davidw.

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #22591 by JonathanC
Replied by JonathanC on topic Surfski Emergencies
Thanks for the kick along, just ordered one of these...




It's really small and light and seems crazy not to spend the money when I paddle open water on my own so frequently.
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Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by JonathanC.

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7 years 10 months ago #22592 by uk_exile
Replied by uk_exile on topic Surfski Emergencies
JonathanC, well done for taking action to limit risk to yourself & others. Cheap insurance with no annual costs.
Don't forget to keep it in the flotation pouch !

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7 years 10 months ago #22593 by CoastPop
Replied by CoastPop on topic Surfski Emergencies
There are many cellphone apps out there that can be used for tracking (eg Endomondo) but the main problem is that they absolutely chow the battery. I am trying out "Red Panic Button" by Ultimate Communication Software as I want to be able to alert someone if I get into difficulties. One can enter a number of contact numbers of who needs to be alerted - NSRI, spouse etc. It sends coordinates and a message when the button is pressed. Cons - it composes the message and then needs another action to send (minor hassle) and one would need to periodically hit the button for the latest position to be sent. At least it does not constantly use GPS prolonging battery life. I still think a proper tracking device such as Trackimo or PLB is a way better bet though.

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #22594 by Mako
Replied by Mako on topic Surfski Emergencies
Real time tracking for open water A to B events is first prize.

Smart phones have their uses on the water but are limited in a number of ways especially when the user needs to interact with it on the water, in the water, or in direct sunlight. Add in cold water, strong wind and the need to hang onto a paddle and ski with two hands. Spectacle wearers too may have problems if they paddle without specs and then there will be numerous people that forget to activate the app................if it's hectic out there you need your hands to 'hang on' and not fish for a phone that may be in a pocket or pouch which is submerged. All devices need to be clear of the water at all times.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Mako. Reason: Spellink
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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #22598 by Wiid
Replied by Wiid on topic Surfski Emergencies
APRS for events use. Hamnet in South Africa already assists with other events with regards to comms. One of these www.byonics.com/mt-aio strapped down behind the foot plate and a mobile digipeater base at a high point somewhere. If the digipeater is connected to the internet, it enables live tracking of competitors via the aprs.fi website.

You need to be a ham to use one personally.

Currently most of False bay is covered by a fixed digipeater up on the Helderberg. Table bay also mostly covered.

EDIT: PE and Durban is also covered by fixed installations.

The initial cost is high but if there is enough interest smaller units can be developed which will be cheaper too.

AIS is another option.

Johan
ZS1JHW
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Wiid.

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