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How to avoid expensive mistakes when you buy a new or second-hand yacht. 

Available on Amazon here


Icom IC-M35We review the Icom IC-M35 handheld.  Read the full review here.

GMDSS A User's Handbook

By Denise Bréhaut

GMDSS A user's handbook








The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides a fast and efficient way of calling for assistance at sea, whatever the size of craft or its geographical position. Since it was first published, this book has helped explain the system for anyone using GMDSS and has been excellent pre-course reading for students.



SafaSail HatThe SafaSail Hard Hat looks just like a sailing cap, but will help protect you if you get a bang to the head.  See our review here

Teki Dalton replies to Editorial

From Teki Dalton

In your editorial you talk about EPIRB’s; one of the most valuable sea safety devices we have available to us. However, the personal locator beacon (PLB) you show has, with all PLB’s, limitations for marine use. These were originally designed for hikers, bushwalkers etc and the ACR model you show does not float. In Australia PLB’s are not a substitute for the Class 1 or Class 2 EPIRBS.

Only some of the most recent 406/121.5MHz PLB’s are waterproofed and buoyant; some only buoyant in a pouch. They all require the aerial to be extended and be manually activated. The activation process requires two hands and manipulation of tiny buttons and switches. PLB’s are most effective when the aerial remains vertical and the unit is held level at water level. Not any easy thing to do in a MOB survival situation, in a big sea with cold wet fingers.

We are led to believe that those PLB’s with GPS will give a location accuracy to the value of the global locality of the GPS system. What is not generally known is that  there are two systems in play; the COSPAS-SARSAT, INSAT-GOES satellite systems and the GPS satellites. When the GPS information is transferred it is by a 32 bit system that can only give an accuracy to approximately 120 metres, not the 4-5 metres expected from the GPS system.

Although the 406/121.5MHz PLB’s work well in the system, and are mandatory for crew competing in Category 1 races in Australia there are practical difficulties in a MOB situation 50 nm offshore in the middle of a dark, stormy night. Yes, the LUT/ground station will be aware that there is a distress beacon alert, they will know who it is, and within 5kms where you are (to within 120 metres with GPS) but this information will not help if the next available SAR aircraft or vessel cannot be deployed for at least six hours. With the best expertise and will in the world, these are very difficult conditions for a yacht to search for MOB without immediate help from other vessels or from aircraft.

The 121.5MHz component of the PLB is the short-range location frequency using RDF. If a yacht has the appropriate RDF equipment then this will go a long way to helping solve the search pattern problem. However, even at the best of times in calm,  smooth sea conditions the bearings on the 121.5MHz signal can be up to 70 degrees in error.

I’m always surprised when sailors, who are ready and willing to buy safety gear that may save their life, do not spend enough time thinking of potential situations that may occur and ask the question ‘What if?’ and ‘will this work?’ the way it is meant to.

Best wishes


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