what did you use to call for help ?

Is the British leisure marine industry in trouble?

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Searush

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I have never called for help. But if I needed to a mobile phone will not have the range to go more than a few miles offshore. I don't know what a PLB is. Epirb are expensive, and only suitable for rescue. VHF has only a line of sight range (10-20 miles max) but is suitable for general purpose ship/ship or ship/shore coms & offers weather forecasts & nav warnings.

I have VHF & G3 mobile phone. The phone is something I use at work & it offers internet access for forecast/ tides e-mails etc. But I wouldn't consider using it for assistance unless I was phoning a mate.
 

mikehibb

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Perhaps you should add what type of sailing you do.
If you are crossing the Atlantic then I guess an EPIRB would be better.
 

Poignard

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Odd that flares are not mentioned. If a catastrophic electrical failure occurred out of mobile phone range they would be all that was left. Unless you have a tar barrel handy for burning.
 

S2Jimlad

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VHF would definately be my choice. Whilst mobile phones may seem a simple choice, there may be some considerable delay in being connected to the coastguard. In the event of a loss of connection, the coastguard may not have your number to call you back on!
Sending a distress call over VHF not only alerts the coastguard, but also alerts other vessels of your predicament and in the case of a DSC set, automatically transmits your position (provided you've hooked it up to a gps).
 

wooslehunter

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DSC VHF connected to GPS without a doubt. As for catestophic electrical failure, I have a separate small 12V gelcell I can connect I If I need to.

Press the red button & the mayday is sent along with the position. SAR resouces can DF a VHF if they need to. You can also talk direct to them.

Phones are only any good if they're in range & you can talk to coastie only. Most SAR resources do not carry a mobile phone & they cannot be DF'd.

EPIRB or PLB are great of you're in the water but they will take time to get through & if they don't have an integrtad GPS can take a couple of hours to get a good fix. Great when you're out at sea proper & out of VHF range.
 

mikejames

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I called for help on 2 occasions on behalf of other people. Both times by VHF in the Solent -
One was a MOB from a boat with non-functional VHF during a race . Helicopter was almost impossible to understand.

Other was a motor boat that came to a stop in a cloud of smoke 100 metres away followed by the occupants quickly jumping in the tender. Yarmouth Lifeboat attended.


Just bought Icom M505-AIS to replace ancient Seavoice used during those two events.
 

lw395

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VHF is generally tool of choice, but if I got no answer, or it was a situation where discretion was appropriate over urgency, a mobile phone might be appropriate. I would not go to sea relying on it, but if it works I'd use it! To that end, its worth making sure some useful numbers are in the memory...
I would certainly see if I had a mobile phone signal before using flares!

Depends what you mean by calling for help, it can mean a matter of a little assistance for convenience rather than a safety issue.
An epirb was originally a position indicating device rather than an alerting system. A poor substitute for a vocal description of the problem perhaps?
 

photodog

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If you dont have a VHF, then you should make this your first choice.... for UK waters it is the best way to contact help.... as well as be able to offer help if someone else needs it.
My second choice is the PLB..... The phone is really a non-starter....
 

srm

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Having sailed about three quarters of the way around Britain with a mobile phone I am confident in saying that it is an almost useless means of communication when a mile or so off the coast, and often less, but then some areas do have coverage further offshore. For instance I can not get a signal on my mobile when approaching my home port, even though I am within sight of my house.
I did find that using an international SIM, while expensive, gave me access to all the UK networks and improved coverage but there were still vast dead areas even though I was in sight of land.
Needless to say I have a fixed DSC VHF plus a VHF handheld for marine comms.
The only time I needed assistance was around 1973/74 - no yacht VHFs then so it was flares that alerted the passing vessel.
 

boguing

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Three times.

First was a severe concussion in the Solent - dealt with by VHF/met by ambulance in Hamble.

Second was a semi-sinking mobo off Brighton. Mobile 'phone was a bit like a private Securite. Knew that the cause was a cooling pump doing it's best to sink me, but that I could probably fix it.

Third, mobo again. 'Track rod' between rudders fell off. Same again. Knew I could fix it, so called via mobile to advise, but didn't want anyone to panic.
 

lw395

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I think it should be pointed out that VHF coverage is not guaranteed 100% around the coast either!
Sometimes in sailing you have to take responsibility yourself and accept that help is not instantly available on the end of a wireless of some kind.
I suspect that not long in the future no one will sail the atlantic without constant access to the rest of the world via sat phone and epirb. It's an experience that I value, personally.
I wouldn't exactly advocate sailing across Lyme Bay, overnight, in a small boat with no motor or radio, with a few inexperienced people, but I'm happy to have done it. There's a real world out there!
Equally my next boat will have the safety toys relevant to its range, because I take my duty of care to less experienced crew/passengers fairly seriously.
 

Scillypete

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I've not ticked your poll 'cos its missing some options.

When we needed help, we used every means at our disposal, that is EPIRB, Sat phone, VHF and the use of flares when we saw a sail on the horizon.
There is no preference at a time like that, it is which will be the best to use first then use the others.

Hopefully I will never have to do it again.
 

RestlessL

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SeaStart provide a phone number as their primary contact if you need assistance. Outside of the Solent it is your only means of contact, unless you ask the CG to relay a message.
 
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