The thought of pressing a button when the fhit hits the san and a big whirly bird comes to the rescue is quite a reassuring thought, but it’s something I wouldn’t want to do if I can really help it. I would like to think I would take Blondie Hasler’s advice and “drown like a gentleman” however I love my life and have a young family to look after, if there was a chance that I could be rescued after I had exhausted every possible option I had then I would take that opportunity. It may seem a unfair thing to do, to ask a group of strangers to risk their lives to save one but it’s part of our nature and a great part of being a caring human.
I looked at various PLBs and decided on the PLB1 from Ocean Safety, my main reason was due to the size. I wanted to keep the PLB on my life jacket at all times and by having something that’s not intrusive would mean there was less chance it would be taken off and stuck in a drawer. It comes with a neoprene “floatation pouch” which I have unpicked the loop and resewed it through the loop in my lifejacket belt, then backed up with a lanyard so it won’t go walkies should I need to remove it from the pouch. This way I know where it is at all times, and another reason to wear my lifejacket.
I’m sure most of you know (as you’re reading a sailing blog) what a PLB is, but if not PLB stands for “Personal Locator Beacon”, it’s a little transmitter that sends your GPS location via satellite to the search and rescue authorities, in the UK it’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Falmouth. Athough it’s registered with the MRCC there’s nothing stopping you using your PLB whilst on land, or even in the air (but if you need to use it I’m sure you won’t be in the air for too long! A great thing if you’re going climbing, cycling or even motorcycling, if you need to be rescued a PLB won’t be ignored.
When you need help, and I mean REALLY need help you activate the PLB Flamouth will conduct a search and rescue operation, this may be by helicopter, another sailing boat or ship that’s in your location. You have to be prepared to leave your boat, the search and rescue will only be interested in saving lives, not your boat, so the use of a PLB should only be used in an emergency, either your sinking or you or a member of you crews life is in danger.
There’s not much more I can say, I hope I never have to use it but if I do hopefully I’ll be here to tell the tail.