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Old 09-04-2018, 12:08 AM   #1
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PLB activated and CG response

I was returning to Seattle today and heard the Coast Guard issue a pan-pan, stating that a PLB has been activated at specific coordinates, a person may be in the water, and asks if anyone in the area would check it out and let them know more information. This was rebroadcast several times over at least an hour.

I thought when a PLB was activated that search and rescue would respond ASAP. I was surprised that it wasnít resolved in the hour + that I was listening.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:25 AM   #2
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Perhaps there was a USCG boat on the way, but they were more than an hour away ???
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:45 AM   #3
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Or there was conflicting info from the registration and the actual case.

Where were the coordinates? Were they out in open water?


Did the pan pan specifically say person in the water or just a "possilbly"with an unknown nature of distress?

Usually with EPIRBS, the less we knew the more responsice we were with an immediate boat AND helo launch. But if it looked like an accidentalvactivation...a pan pan with request for help was issued.
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:26 AM   #4
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Hereís probably why. In 2009, 96% of the 406 EPIRBs signals were false. Of those 85% were resolved with detective work and registration.

http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/BMW%20200...2009%20BMW.pdf
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:28 AM   #5
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I always wished the CG would give the general area before coordinates so that i would know if it applied to me.

Something like 20 NM WSW of Rocky point light at LAT xxxx, LON xxxx is a whole lot more informative to me than just the LAT LON coordinates. With an announcement like that I know in my head if I am in the general area before trying to write down coordinates and plot the location.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:46 AM   #6
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I always wished the CG would give the general area before coordinates so that i would know if it applied to me.

Something like 20 NM WSW of Rocky point light at LAT xxxx, LON xxxx is a whole lot more informative to me than just the LAT LON coordinates. With an announcement like that I know in my head if I am in the general area before trying to write down coordinates and plot the location.
Totally agree. I don't have paper charts out to quickly pinpoint Lat/Lon location. If PAN said 10 miles NE of Minots Light and I was in the area I would head there while entering new waypoint.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:03 AM   #7
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I tried, fell on deaf ears much of the time. At least when the radio room worked for me at the local group I had success though getting them to add in a geographic location. Sometimes, some places they do.....

The old Vietnam Vet helo pilots that came over to the USCG usually kept a grease pencil handy and would write the info right on the windows.

Drove the other pilots and crewman that had to clean the windshields bonkers...but they got a lot of respect when they were the only ones with the info.

I keep one handy now....
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:11 AM   #8
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I've noticed sometimes they do say "in the vicinity of..." after the coordinates. They really should do that first.

I pretty much know my latitude, or glance at it if I'm not sure, and quickly calculate my N/S distance from the reported location (one NM per minute.) Most activity on VHF is pretty close to the coast. If the latitude is close, I'll make a mental note of the longitude. That allows me to take a SWAG at how far offshore they are. If those quick estimates put me anywhere close, I can listen for more details, or ask for a repeat. With the N/S distance in miles, and a general sense of how far E/W they are, I can do a quick estimate of my ETA, too.

Obviously it helps if you practice this a lot. It eventually comes naturally.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Or there was conflicting info from the registration and the actual case.



Where were the coordinates? Were they out in open water?





Did the pan pan specifically say person in the water or just a "possilbly"with an unknown nature of distress?



Usually with EPIRBS, the less we knew the more responsice we were with an immediate boat AND helo launch. But if it looked like an accidentalvactivation...a pan pan with request for help was issued.


They said the coordinates placed them between McNeil and Anderson Islands and possible person in the water. I arrived home before it was cancelled so donít know how it resolved.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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PLB activated and CG response

I hope if I ever activate my PLB that SAR doesnít assume itís a false alarm. Over an hour in the cold Puget Sound waters is usually fatal.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:09 AM   #11
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Usually if not on land or a marina...they launch as soon as possible...but unless you are within 20 miles of a SAR station, you better plan on surviving at least an hour....

I usually recommend planning on surviving at least 6 hrs even if you have an EPIRB, PLB, or DSC button.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayview View Post
I always wished the CG would give the general area before coordinates so that i would know if it applied to me.

Something like 20 NM WSW of Rocky point light at LAT xxxx, LON xxxx is a whole lot more informative to me than just the LAT LON coordinates. With an announcement like that I know in my head if I am in the general area before trying to write down coordinates and plot the location.

I was thinking the same thing yesterday. I heard a USCG call about a report of an empty kayak and possible person in the water. They gave GPS coordinates but no other reference. It takes me too long to identify a GPS location (yeah, lack of skills and not enough practice) to see if it is a location that is near me.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:25 AM   #13
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One can always call the USCG and ask for a rough geographical location.

Usually a watchstander nearby already knows...just not over in the radio room.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:41 AM   #14
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One can always call the USCG and ask for a rough geographical location.

Usually a watchstander nearby already knows...just not over in the radio room.

I was a little surprised as usually USCG Sector Puget Sound does list geographic references. That is helpful in the waterways around here. A GPS location can be 1/2 mile away, but be on the other side of a long Island or peninsula making it really far away.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:58 AM   #15
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I also heard the Pan broadcast. I agree that a genrral location would be helpful. It might just be my ears but USCG sector Puget Sound thinks that talking super fast is important. I find it hard to understand what they are saying. The Canadian CG talks just a bit slower. They come across clearer resulting in a better understanding of the message.
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bayview View Post
I always wished the CG would give the general area before coordinates so that i would know if it applied to me.

Something like 20 NM WSW of Rocky point light at LAT xxxx, LON xxxx is a whole lot more informative to me than just the LAT LON coordinates. With an announcement like that I know in my head if I am in the general area before trying to write down coordinates and plot the location.


Agree
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:08 PM   #17
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If you want your PLB/EPRIB to be taken seriously, you need to make sure the registration and phone numbers are current and reach somebody. The CG will call the numbers listed first to see if this could be a real emergency. Any delay in that delays the response.

Another reason for inReach, with which you can say, "I'm in trouble and this is why".
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:15 PM   #18
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From a SAR expert writing for soundings about MOB devices and In Reach type communicators....

"Satellite-based tracker devices serve a different purpose than the more traditional MOB PLBs. The value of these devices is in sharing your location and progress, and though they come with “SOS” or “Emergency” functions, they are not considered maritime distress signals. Their short (often internal) antennas are too easily obscured by wave action and may be less reliable than devices that are purpose-built and tested to signal from the open ocean."


https://www.soundingsonline.com/voic...-ais-satellite
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayview View Post
I always wished the CG would give the general area before coordinates so that i would know if it applied to me.

Something like 20 NM WSW of Rocky point light at LAT xxxx, LON xxxx is a whole lot more informative to me than just the LAT LON coordinates. With an announcement like that I know in my head if I am in the general area before trying to write down coordinates and plot the location.

Totally agree with this. Just this past weekend I DID hear them give location NAME before they gave the lat lon which makes so much more sense to me.


Ken
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:48 PM   #20
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I also heard the Pan broadcast. I agree that a genrral location would be helpful. It might just be my ears but USCG sector Puget Sound thinks that talking super fast is important. I find it hard to understand what they are saying. The Canadian CG talks just a bit slower. They come across clearer resulting in a better understanding of the message.
I agree and we work with the CG on a regular basis. Unfortunately the CG teaches their people to get on and get the info passed as quickly as possible in order to save time on the channel. I have fed this back to the local station here. I would rather speak slowly and distinctly in order to be understood the first time than having to repeat it because no one can understand what was said. Sometimes slowly is more quickly in the end.
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