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  1. #11
    AlaskaMike's Avatar
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    Missing link

    Blue:
    Well, it just goes to show you that once you think you've got something 'mastered'.....I very carefully found the file, downloaded it on .pdf and attached it to the post...or so I thought! Let's try it again!
    Attached Files Attached Files


  2. #12
    AlaskaMike's Avatar
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    DSC v EPIRB

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue 182 View Post

    Before I forget, if you are going to do EPIRB post on Touring thread, please throw in discussion of Digital Selective Service Calling (DSC). I just came across article on DSC v EPIRB in boating mag but scanner temp out of order. Will try & post in next few days.

    Best wishes!
    Blue: It cracks me up when writers talk about one "resource" vs. another (DSC v EPIRB, cell phone v Sat phone, etc.)....especially when the prudent mariner will use every tool available to them. The current mentality in the periodical rag world seems to be how one tool can do it all....when a single tool is so very often a compromise at best. I really like the one, "If you only had one source of navigation, what would it be?" Frankly, if I only had one source of navigation in today's world, I don't think I'd go boating! I'd carry everything I could, depending on the boat's capability and how much I could afford. Having to make the choice between DSC and and EPIRB is just nuts...why make the choice when you can have both? Each has specific capabilities and uses. I did write a fairly long post on another forum last December; I'll find it and copy it to this post. Interestingly enough, I think few PWC riders commonly carry a VHF radio and even fewer use a fixed mount VHF (besides me!). Most of the handhelds that are currently in use probably don't have DSC capability; although I understand that it will be on all new radios soon (if it isn't already...I can't remember for sure!) DSC can be utilized for normal VHF conversation and is a great tool for emergencies...provided someone hears it! An EPIRB uses satellites...and they're always listening! The EPIRB is for emergencies only; lighting off an EPIRB for fun will most likely get you a pretty large fine and maybe some free room and board at the graybar inn. Here's the DSC post I'd written earlier:

    Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is part of the GMDSS program (aka Rescue 21 for the CG)....DSC is essentially "stand-alone" technology that works best when integrated into other systems (such as GPS, etc.). All you really need is two DSC-equipped VHF radios (with programmed MMSI numbers) and you can take advantage of DSC. It works, I've tried it. The problem is that one of the reasons to get a functional DSC radio is the enhanced rescue benefits it provides....only the Coast Guard (in Alaska) doesn't have the hardware systems yet. I wish it was as simple as us going out and buying DSC VHF radios for all of our boats, but it isn't that easy. Let me explain: The CG utilizes 'high sites'...radio systems designed and usually located on mountain tops (look closely, you might be able to see the tower on Mt. Robert Barron on Admiralty Island). These systems allow the CG Command Centers to talk to boaters (usually during emergencies!) in Chatham Strait from downtown Juneau...try that from your boat-you can't talk that far because VHF is essentially line-of-sight. The necessary hardware for the CG to utilize DSC isn't just an off-the-shelf VHF radio; it's a custom-built electronic console that's been engineered to meet specific demands. They're quite expensive as you might imagine.

    The Rescue 21 project was designed to upgrade all the coastal stations with DSC (and quite a bit more) capabilities. Alaska was scheduled to be last on the list...(surprise!)...and, the project ran behind schedule and the money ran low. Plus, the 'lower 48' engineers didn't really design a system that would work for Alaska. The result was that the Alaska Coast Guard requested that we have more ownership of the project in Alaska to help guarantee functionality. We recently opened a "Rescue 21" shop in Juneau....sorry, no time lines yet.

    The bottom line for boaters is this: Go ahead and get a MMSI number for your VHF radio, program your radio and use it with other boaters. You'll be able to take advantage of the technology now, especially if you have your radio connected with your GPS/chart plotter. Contact the CG with emergencies just like you have in the past; on Channel 16 with a Mayday or cell phone with *CG. When we get full DSC functionality, the CG will be able to "see" you when you press the red button on your DSC radio...right now, only other DSC-equipped vessels (in your range - line of sight) will hear it.

    The (linked) brochure is a bit dated, but much of the information is still good, just remember that the CG in Alaska does not yet have Digital Selective Calling capability, but we will eventually. Call or PM me if you have specific questions or post and I'll try and answer them as I can. Mike (907) 463-2297 http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/gdmss.htm

  3. #13
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaMike View Post
    Here's the second 'installment'....navigation rules.


    Here's a question for those of you interested enough to keep reading (what else is there to do in the winter??) How many of you have a professional mariner's license/certificate? What is your perception/attitude/opinion on Navigation Rules? (I'd be willing to bet that only a very few respond at all...any takers?) I'll post the professional mariners views on navrules later! Mike
    I have never certified myself.

    Now that is kinda interesting.

    The Rules of the Road apply in the surf zone, but the surf still rules the road.....ask me how I know? LOL

  4. #14
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
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    Wikizenes

    Mikey...go to www.zimbio.com and make a wikizene with your data. I want to link to it on my website so you can be a reference for students. Your knowledge is so helpful, would like to get it a broader audience with a direct link, as you can write your own articles...

    Anyone else want to make a wikizene, go for it, its a pretty cool program...

    Here are a few of mine:


    http://www.zimbio.com/K38+Rescue

    http://www.zimbio.com/K38+JAPAN

    http://www.zimbio.com/KANALU+K38


    Please feel free to leave comments or articles to feed.

  5. #15
    AK Mike, the article I mentioned in Boating How To Jan 08 issue is entitled "Is the EPIRB dead? Not by a long shot." What you are saying is consistent with the article. I didnt give an adequate preface. These are the comments that caught my eye:

    "The EPIRB's Mayday can be heard only by NOAA, which receives the signal and then relays it to another rescue agency. DSC, however, alerts not only the authoriies-all of them at once-but also every other DSC equipped boat w/in the area. Set off the EPIRB and help might be hours away even though dozens of boats are within a few miles...

    So, which is better?..For most boaters DSC will be less expensive, more effective option. But offshore boats will still need that EPIRB. No, it doesnt replace EPIRB but DSC is an option that makes sense and will save lives."

    I want an EPIRB and one of those satellite trackers for my conditions. As DSC range is same VHF line of sight, I was never real enthused but it was interesting news to me.

  6. #16
    AlaskaMike's Avatar
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    Which is better, DSC or EPIRB?

    Great question! First, though, I'd like to apologize for being tardy in replying; my excuses are: 1) I'm old, 2) I'm really busy and 3) Because I'm old, it really doesn't take that much to keep me busy!

    Blue has really answered the question already; each has it's benefits and depending on the situation, one might be better than the other or you might even want to utilize both! Let's try some hypotheticals: You are in a seldom traveled part of the Oregon coastline (is there such a thing?) and you decide to explore a sea cave since it's quite large and the surge is pretty light. You cautiously enter the cave and find that it's bigger than you thought and there are other caves connected to it...so, you decide to explore even more. All of the sudden, your ski quits and won't restart....and to make matters worse, you hear a booming noise from the entrance and realize that the seas have built up to the point that it will be very dangerous to attempt paddling out the entrance to summon help. You have the normal complement of visual distress signals, a DSC equipped VHF radio, an EPIRB and you can see the entrance and the open sea beyond; you just can't get there from here. What is your best bet? What are you going to do and why? I'll be interested in the replies! M

  7. #17
    This is great writing, AK Mike, you put the reader right into the scenario. I find it frightening and would not likely venture far into that cave in the first place! I would actually feel safer in snorkel gear on a tether if space was tight.

    I would hit my new SPOT Satellite Messenger & EPIRB if I had one. VHF/DSC? I wouldnt even bother. I cant get my handheld to work unless other boat is an anchor throw away! (But thats why your setup with fixed radio and antennae is so much better. My hunch is though that radio signal wont penetrate cave walls. GPS or satellite system may not either).

    I would not hesitate to don snorkel gear, leave boat & swim out. I try and make sure that protective gear & PFD will protect me from elements. I would also have 675 lumen ARC Li-On helmet light which Mitch recommended to me last summer. It makes daylight!

  8. #18
    AlaskaMike's Avatar
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    Correction!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaMike View Post
    The bottom line for boaters is this: Go ahead and get a MMSI number for your VHF radio, program your radio and use it with other boaters. You'll be able to take advantage of the technology now, especially if you have your radio connected with your GPS/chart plotter. Contact the CG with emergencies just like you have in the past; on Channel 16 with a Mayday or cell phone with *CG. When we get full DSC functionality, the CG will be able to "see" you when you press the red button on your DSC radio...right now, only other DSC-equipped vessels (in your range - line of sight) will hear it.
    I just re-read my post from the other day and I had simply cut 'n paste the article from an Alaskan forum. I'd like to correct the statement, "...Contact the CG with emergencies just like you have in the past; on Channel 16 with a Mayday or cell phone with *CG." *CG only works in Alaska with Alaska-based cell carriers. *CG started creating problems in the 'lower 48' states when cell carriers began branching into other markets/states. The function was to simplify the boater's ability to contact the CG in an emergency, but in real life, it created a new set of problems. If the user's carrier was, say in Southern California and the user was in Puget Sound, the *CG call would be routed to the CG in SoCal (through the carrier) without regard as to where the user was physically located. The resultant confusion left the CG with no choice except to eliminate the *CG function with the carriers - except in Alaska. Because Alaska only had one Command Center for the entire state, the call would come into the correct CG location for dispatch of CG rescue assets. We (Alaska) has since added a second Command Center in Anchorage even though any *CG calls will come into the Juneau CC. At this time, *CG isn't problematic for Alaska - Remember, *CG doesn't work anywhere else except Alaska and only if your carrier is based in Alaska!

  9. #19
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
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    well, being female and all, I would want to know if it was high tide coming up or low tide, or slack tide...and how high the entrance to the cave was and if there were any potential air pockets for hide tide and how much surge was entering the cave/chambers..and if there was kelp inside...as most caves I've been in stink horribly...LOL then I would not want to be in there with a PWC if I was in the water with a surge, nor on top of there was a surge and low ceiling...so I would opt to swim out between surges on the outgoing drag and take my chances on the outside, rather than get pummeled like sushi on the inside....now...that is one scenario....

    the other is prayer, which is never an option, just a way of life....

    Now if I was there with Blue, I would put on the rescue tube leash across his shoulder as a strap, have him attach it to the bow loop strap, and start swimming me out of there as I sit comfortably on top of the seat, while he works, huffs and puffs, becuase he is a gentlemen....and i am a sea hag. LOL
    HAHAHA

  10. #20
    AlaskaMike's Avatar
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    Cave scenario

    Good responses! Actually, I doubt seriously if either of you would ever be caught in a similar scenario, you are both too smart....but, it does happen! (remember the cave scene in the "Guardian"?) Here's the 'technical' reasons for the VHF being one of your best opportunities to summon help in this situation. You are in a cave with tons of rock over your head that will very likely block an EPIRB signal (you need a clear and unobstructed view of the sky for best results). You can see out the entrance, but as you already know, VHF is essentially line-of-sight. You are in a seldom traveled part of the coast. Despite the sometimes overwhelming urge to 'escape' the confines of a cave (yes, the tide could be a significant factor in your decision - a simple check to to visually inspect the cave walls for presence of marine growth - mussels/barnacles...if they're on the ceiling, you might want to attempt an exit before the tide comes in too much!)

    Back to the VHF...simply resist the urge to try and swim through the surge and risk getting smashed on the rocks - wait until you see a boat go by and make the MAYDAY call on your VHF. Even a nominal 5 watt handheld will work if you can see the boat. Channel 16 of course, but if it's a commercial fishing boat, you might want to try 13 as well. Once you make contact, simply wait for the calvary!

    We use these types of scenarios in classroom exercises to get students to start thinking about what is going on around them - rather than succumbing to panic and doing what your brain is screaming at you to do! The brain is a really amazing piece of survival equipment-but it can get you into trouble. If you were indeed in the cave scenario and you happened to have a mild case of claustrophobia and even a childhood experience of getting locked in a closet that left a "mental model" (memory) imprinted on your brain, you might easily panic. After all, your brain is screaming, "GET OUT NOW!" and the adrenaline makes you feel strong enough to try a potentially deadly exit attempt....the 'fight or flight' response is typically so powerful that few people can resist it. And, if you review very many survival case studies, you'll find that 90% of the time, you have exactly that: Time. Take the time to calm down, consider the options and plan your move. My flight instructor once told me that if I ever had an in-flight emergency, I was to immediately hit the brakes...."Brakes?", I asked, "They don't work unless the wheels are on the ground!" "You miss the point, Grasshopper", he patiently explained, "Hitting the brakes gives you time to think"...I never forgot that!

    A really good book is "Deep Survival; Who lives, who dies and why" by Laurence Gonzales. http://www.deepsurvival.com/ Pick it up at your bookstore, I promise you that you'll have difficulty putting it down once you start reading it. In fact, I think I'll read it again! Mike

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