Passage Maker - - @Rest - BY BRIAN K. LIND

Los­ing a crewmem­ber over­board is the night­mare that mariners dread most. Some­one over­board can­not only be dif­fi­cult to re­board even in mod­er­ate con­di­tions, but at night or in stormy seas, it can make lo­cat­ing that per­son nearly im­pos­si­ble.

Over the years, sev­eral prod­ucts have emerged to as­sist op­er­a­tors when a crewmem­ber was sep­a­rated from a ves­sel. Many of these sys­tems worked by us­ing prox­im­ity sen­sors that were no­to­ri­ous for giv­ing false-pos­i­tive read­ings when the tar­get neared the gun­wales. Ad­ding to the night­mar­ish man over­board sce­nario, a se­ries of false-pos­i­tive alarms cre­ate “boy who cried wolf” mo­ments as well.

ACR Elec­tron­ics’ lat­est re­lease is an AISe­quipped man over­board de­vice (Au­to­matic Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem) that should solve some of these is­sues. Sim­i­lar to per­sonal lo­ca­tor bea­cons, the de­vice at­taches to your life vest and will au­to­mat­i­cally ac­ti­vate when the vest in­flates. It can also be man­u­ally en­gaged should the life vest mal­func­tion. Upon ac­ti­va­tion, the de­vice sends an AIS chirp of an MOB event to all AIS re­ceivers within a five-mile ra­dius (dis­tance can be af­fected by con­di­tions). It can also be linked to your MMSI num­ber to send out a DSC emer­gency alert to au­di­bly no­tify the VHF on your own ves­sel—as well as sur­round­ing ves­sels—of the emer­gency.

Be­cause the de­vice ac­ti­vates within sec­onds of the life jacket’s in­fla­tion, you sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the like­li­hood of res­cue. Due to on­board GPS, your pre­cise lo­ca­tion is dis­played on all re­spond­ing ves­sels’ chart plot­ters. Since the MOB’s lo­ca­tion is broad­cast to all AISe­quipped ves­sels within five miles, there is more likely to be a co­or­di­nated res­cue ef­fort. While a PLB al­lows for the alert­ing of de­fined res­cue re­sources (such as the Coast Guard), co­or­di­nated re­sponse ef­forts of­ten take much longer to or­ga­nize and still of­ten rely on res­cue ser­vices alert­ing other boaters of your po­si­tion­ing to co­or­di­nate a re­sponse.

ACR AIS MOB $290 West Marine

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