Also worth considering…
Two other AIS SARTS have been launched into Europe since our trials – the AMEC TB-520 (£220, www.alltekmarine.com) and the Wamblee W420 Rescue-me (£260, www.wamblee.it). Both are fully compliant with EU standards and can be manually or water-activated, and both will fit into a lifejacket.
AIS MOB ALARM
It’s one thing to spot an AIS MOB icon on your display when you’re at the helm but not all AIS receivers emit an audible alarm too, so if someone slips overboard when the crew’s attention is elsewhere, how long will it be before you notice?
Digital Yacht, has recently launched a dedicated alarm, the AIS Life Guard, which detects the transmission from any active AIS SART and emits a very loud alarm and warning light. Similar devices are available from Ocean Signal (AIS Alarm) and Wamblee (W402).
THE ULTIMATE RESCUE BEACON?
Now that various approvals have finally gone through in Europe, we are New AIS SARTS from Wamblee and AMEC and alarms from Ocean Signal and Digital Yacht move the game on about to see a clutch of new Ais-enabled EPIRBS hit the market. While MOB AIS rescue beacons have been a great benefit to safety, they’re not ideal for someone cruising alone, unless they happen to be in a busy shipping area where there are plenty of Ais-equipped vessels to spot them.
In more remote locations, you would ideally want a combination PLB and AIS beacon, and the next generation of AIS/406MHZ EPIRBS has proved that the technology exists. However, there is one snag – AIS beacons are almost all designed to activate automatically, whereas a PLB has to be triggered manually. The only reason for this is to avoid flooding the rescue services with false alarms should they be triggered accidentally. But to our mind, having built-in AIS might actually help mitigate this problem by its ability to show up on any AIS display when activated, enabling the skipper to cancel the 406MHZ distress call before a pricy army of rescuers hit the air or water. Watch this space…