by Des Ryan
No sailor wants to fall overboard and there are many who say that no sailor SHOULD ever fall overboard if he or she complies with all correct safety procedures. The truth is that, if a cruising sailors does end up overboard, given that most cruising sailors sail two- or short-handed, history says there is almost no chance of their recovery. Having said that, the latest gizmos might defy that statistic in the future - and here's a cracker:
MOB - the greater the crew the better the chance
The brand new Smartfind S20 SRS (Survivor Recovery System) is a personal AIS (Automatic Identification System) device to assist in locating a survivor. It is lightweight and compact, designed for and intended to be carried by all crew members, and is compatible with existing AIS enabled chart plotters and onboard navigation system.
A great part of the problem of dealing with an overboard sailor is actually locating him or her in the first place, especially trying to keep the MOB in sight while stopping and/or turning the boat. This latest product from Smartfind begins to eliminate that challenge.
How it works:
The clever little unit transmits target survivor information, including GPS position information and a serialised identity number back to the onboard plotter. An inbuilt high precision GPS receiver provides accurate position information to assist in quick location of the survivor.
It will transmit continuously for a minimum of 24 hours - a significant benefit in warm waters - and has a seven year battery storage life. It also features a flashing LED indicator light to aid detection at night and a self test facility with battery use indication.
Carrying one is an excellent idea for every safety-conscious sailor, because you can attach it to your life jacket, and, apart from checking that it is working, forget about it.
It doesn't help get the survivor back on the boat, and that is also the other great challenge, but knowing that you can locate your lost crew member would be a great spur to getting that boat back to the position. You would be able to see the exact location, distance and bearing to locate the MOB.
Installation and Activation:
It does require a conscious survivor. As stated before, the Smartfind S20 SRS is designed to be used mounted on a lifejacket using the clips provided, prior to going to sea. When it is installed in the lifejacket the orange safety tab is released, which ‘arms’ the S20 ready for use. Once the lifejacket is inflated, to activate, pull the orange tab downwards to pull the red cap off the S20. This will deploy the antenna and automatically switch ON the S20 SRS.
The product is not yet available in all marine stores, check with yours to see when it will be there, or refer to the http://www.mcmurdomarine.com/!website