EPIRB activated

Submitted: Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:15
ThreadID: 12732 Views:2773 Replies:9 FollowUps:23
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Does anyone know if you activate an EPIRB for a good reason like broken down, out of fuel etc, are you up for any costs of fees etc due to the recovery effort ?

A mate said it was an expensive exersise seting one off when they ran out of fuel off shore.

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Reply By: Mick - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:22

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:22
They're not intended for minor things like a breakdown or out of fuel Kev. I heard of one being set off for a flat tyre!!! I think the intention is for use in life threatening situations only. A breakdown or out of fuel in a remote area with no passing traffic for several days and no food or water available would be a good reason!
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:50

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:50
I should of stated it was a boat, they were stranded for about 24 hours before setting it off.
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Follow Up By: Slammin - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 23:33

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 23:33
You did say it was for a boat it was "offshore".

Be interesting to hear of any cases of someone being billed.
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Follow Up By: Mick - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 23:41

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 23:41
Yes you did say your mate activated it from a boat but before that you just asked a general question about when they should be activated. That was the basis of my response. Surely the best person to answer your question re costs is your mate who has already activated one, but I guess there must be a reason why you didn't ask him. If you do ask him, would you post what you find out as it may be of use to others. Mind you, I'm surprised that he even showed any concern about the cost if he had been adrift for 24 hours. After that long it would be "fuel, fuel .... my Kingdom for fuel!" I suppose if it cost him heaps he'll plan more thoroughly next time and cause himself and others a lot less trouble!
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 14:00

Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 14:00
in the wrong area a breakdown or out of fuel could be life threatining
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Reply By: Walter Here - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:31

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:31
Kev there is good oil here mate
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:54

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 21:54
Thanks, had a quick look but no info on possiable actvation charges.
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Reply By: Slammin - Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 23:30

Sunday, May 09, 2004 at 23:30
Kev the EPIRB for the flat tyre was on the Mereenie loop rd a couple of years ago, german? tourists who wouldn't stop the only traffic, aboriginals because they were scared........ Anyway there was talk of giving them the bill but it never happened. I don't know of anyone being sent a bill.
Frankly, as you allude, unless someone maliciously sets the thing of I can't see it happening and the interesting thing is the new frequency starting in '08? will transmit an ID # which will therefore make it easier to charge or send the bill to a stupid user.
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Reply By: theratt - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:07

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:07
If your mate is stupid enough to go out in the ocean and run out of fuel he deserves the bill , and the like for anyone out in the bush being totally unprepared
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:18

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:18
Interesting Conundrum, if they have an EPIRB are they "totally" unprepared? :-)
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Follow Up By: theratt - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:46

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:46
yeh all to easy,throw in a EPIRB someone will come and rescue me when i run out of fuel!
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:53

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:53
I do agree with you guys, but I just thought it was interesting. Personally I don't have an EPIRB. It's on the list with everything else. I found my investment in a couple of $29 Jerry cans much more practical.
But yeah, even the best of us can screw up and realise we used more fuel than we thought, just ask my missus! ROFLMAO! Happens all the time! (they call her "Jerry" at her work). :-)
That's why I plan the trips. (sometimes I wonder if she does it on purpose!?, that way I do all the work, you gotta be careful with these women, they're smarter than you think!).
Oh I'm going to get hurt for these comments. Oh well...
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 19:08

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 19:08
Its easy for you to sit there "therat" and call people stupid without knowing the situation.

What happened is on about the third trip after buying a new boat from the factory the boat ran out of fuel when the fuel guage still read 1/4 tank.

Apparently the guages can be slapped in & unlike a motor vehical no one follows these things up on quality control.

The only thing he was guilty of was maybe not knowing his boat beter but im sure this is something that happens with time.

Did you fully know the capability of you 4wd when you first bought it ???
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Follow Up By: Mick - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 19:45

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 19:45
I certainly would not have ventured to remote areas while I was still learning about the capabilities of my 4wd and I certainly would not have gone on the ocean while still learning the capabilities of a boat. Just by the way knowing the range of a vehiCLE or boat is a VERY basic piece of information that should be determined long before any off road or ocean voyages. Having given this subject some thought as the topic has developed, I feel that all costs should be borne by the people who get into trouble because of lack of planning and preparation. Breakdowns, crashes, illness and injury are one thing but running out of fuel???? Just lack of planning and preparation. When I hear of so many people coming to grief in boats I think of that young bloke who sailed single handed around the world - now he knew how to plan and prepare.
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:30

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:30
Dont know why i feel i need to defend them about this subject but i will.

I said offshore not "ocean" & "remote areas", it may be the same thing but you make it sound like they were miles out. Obviously if 1/4 of a tank was enough to get home they wernt that far away.
The old saying "so close but so far away" maybe.

You say all the costs, nobody could afford the full cost.

I remember hearing about a lady traped in her car after an accident & when a passer by said they will call an ambulance she freaked out & pleaded for him not to as she couldnt afford the ambulance trip to hospital.

Would people still buy a EPIRB if the warning label stated that you may incure a possiable $100,000 + fee to cover the aircraft search & rescue party ?
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Follow Up By: theratt - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 10:37

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 10:37
Kev , no i didnt know the capability of my 4wd thats why i didnt drive it out of the showroom and into the desert and walk home!
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Follow Up By: Mick - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:49

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:49
Kev I stick by what I said. Irresponsible use of an EPIRB should incur all of the costs. I'm sick of people who won't take responsibility for their actions. Lady and the ambulance should have been a member or been prepared to pay. Too many people expect others to pay for them or blame others for their plight.
If your mate wasn't far off shore he should hAVE SOLVED his own problem by rowing or rigging up a temporary sail.
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 22:15

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 22:15
Mick, Although you'r a little idealistic i agree people need to be more responsiable for there actions but remember no one is perfect, we all need a little help now & then.

Thats the world we are brought up in, slaving away for 40 hours a week to pay taxes & to survive in the way our government requires us to in a law abideing way.
For this compliance they need a balanced system for the general public to feel safe & hopefully happy.
To prosicute people for everyday mishaps would not be popular way to go.
As for the Abulance subject not everyone can afford an insurance against lifes little unexpected hurdles, remember the old saying "the rich get richer & the poor get poorer" ?
Thats why they have spread this cost on everyones rates now.

I once saw a guy traped in a wrecked car in Bali & no one gave a bleep , even the fire brigade drove past him. He's lucky some passer bys decided to free him with hack saw blades.

If you want to live in that kind of environment you can count me out !
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Follow Up By: Tuco69 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:12

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:12
"I once saw a guy traped in a wrecked car in Bali & no one gave a bleep , even the fire brigade drove past him."

Kev - you don't have to be in a third world place like Bali to have this happen!

Even in the USA - if you get sick or have an accident - make sure that you have good travel insurance to cover ambulance and hospitals. Without medical insurance - they also don't want to know you!

I've seen more beggars and down and outs in the US - than in SE Asia.

Tuco in Cairns
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Reply By: Matt14 - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:26

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 11:26

I like therats attitude. If there had been more fear of the consequences of pushing a few boundaries we could all still be back in those caves.
Taking an epirb is preparation but it shouldnt be relied upon as a replacement for common sense rather it is the last resort backup when everything has gone pearshaped.

AnswerID: 57957

Reply By: Member - Peter K (NSW) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 12:25

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 12:25

The best advice is available on the AMSA Site (www.amsa.gov.au) who are part of the Rescue Coord Centre for Australia, and generally AusSAR operations are mostly funded from the Federal budget in recognition of its community service obligation for the search and rescue function.
What happens if you let one off. There is no penalty for accidental alerts but please switch the beacon off and let AusSAR know if your beacon is accidentally activated. (http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/Maintenance/index.asp).
Beacons are a Distress Beacon, which means that if you believe you or others are in a life threatening situation.
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Reply By: Crackles - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:14

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:14
Kev. Take the EPIRP off your shopping list. In respect to 4x4 owners they are just a relativly cheap device for people who want to short cut their preparation. With a radio or phone you could organize your own rescue immediately but with an EPIRB you rely on the emergency services (as if they have nothing to do) who are still going to take 24 to 48 hours to get there. Heres a novel approach. Be responsible for ourselves. Let some one know where you are going and your ETA. Travel with someone else.
Leave them for boat owners who get washed overboard.
And the first question the rescue party should ask is "will that be Visa or Mastercard?" Cheers Craig............................
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:33

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:33
Sorry Crackles but I gotta disagree with you here.

I usually travel with my wife and two young kids and often travel alone when in remote places. I like to think I am pretty well setup for remote travel and, amongst many other things, have a HF Radio (VKS 737 member) and an EPIRB.

The EPIRB is my last resort if everthing does turn pear shaped. A HF radio will not run without a battery, even though I have 3 vehicle batteries (2 in vehicle, 1 in van). At least the EPIRB is totally self contained and more than likely to survive a vehicle rollover, unlike the HF antenae.

While I agree an EPIRB should be the very last safety item to be used, it certainly does have its place as a safety item.


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Follow Up By: Slammin - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 00:24

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 00:24
Crackles I understand where you're coming from but your argument falls apart pretty quickly in an emergency............. forget the "It couldn't happen to me attitude" and realise as one of your passengers is dead another unconscious and bleeding heavily, the vehicle wrecked and yourself passing in and out of consciousness.

Meanwhile your travel companions have made a wrong turn and of course are no longer in radio contact so they have no idea which track you are on and themselves get bogged and battery flattened looking for you, set up camp and decide to wait 6hrs for you to find them.

You may think this too far fetched but when 2 travel companions become seperated they assume that the other is just around the corner fixing a flat or something minor and is just fine. So why would I use the SAT phone to start a major emergency search when I don't know for sure whats wrong with them............ and they've got a radio if it was serious they would've called for help...........I'll give them some more time we've got plenty of food and water.......... she'll be right, don't get excited, we're only bogged.........they've got all the right equipment. (except the $250 EPIRB)

Meanwhile back at your bloodstained accident how are you going to organise anything when because of your head injuries you can't even remember your full name let alone location. 2 hrs is a long time for blood to be pumping out of an artery.

An EPIRB should be your 1st piece equipment because of it's reliability, robustness, longlife and simplicity.

To carry all the the other thousands of $'s worth of equipment and not carry an EPIRB. WTF?

As to the length of time you state would be a bad case scenario. I know of one case in remote Kimberley area that took 4hrs. Ranger at Palm Valley was working up there for CALM, out bushwalking on the job following a steep track reached up to get a handhold on a ledge and was bitten on the hand by a brown snake. Experienced travel companions, rightly didn't want to move him, and the walk out would of been a day and half, so pressed the EPIRB. Commendations all round.

Of course carry the best safety gear you can afford but put an EPIRB at the top of the list.

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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 11:12

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 11:12
Crackles, I don't agree. Sure if everyone starts setting these things off for stupid reasons than they will just become ineffective, that's why there should be penalties for misuse, however I don't belive that my family and I should have to have a valid credit card and avilble funds to have our lives saved if we were in a situation where no other means of communication were avilble to us. Also, say something happened to both me and my missus and my little one was left there stranded. He knows how to turn a switch on and can be taught to use an Epirb, an HF radio is a little harder for a small child to understand.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 11:23

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 11:23
Slammin, bloody good response mate.
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Reply By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:39

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 20:39
For everyone who answered this thread, cheers.

For those who thought that im looking for advice on how & when to use an EPIRB i think you should go & read the question again !

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Follow Up By: Slammin - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 21:47

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 21:47
Kev you did get the answer to your question.....................

Can't see one who has, or has heard of anyone being billed ;-)

PS to use the EPIRB slide the catch and then press the button with the aerial extended. LOL
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Monday, May 10, 2004 at 22:48

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 22:48
Cheeky bugger ! LOL

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Reply By: Tuco69 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:04

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:04
Hi Kev, sorry to hear of your mates situation.

I'm a bit confused on his situation though.

1. Did he lodge a trip slip with the Cairns Volunteer Coastguard prior to departure?

2. Was his 'new' boat fitted with 27 Mhz Marine or VHF marine radio? Both are very inexpensive and contact can usually be made with other vessels close by. With a radio he could easily have got extra fuel or a tow from someone. Both bands have emergency channels that are monitored by the coastguard. Even a UHF CB will work very well across water.

3. Does his boat have a GPS on board? Even the cheapest hand held models will give very good accurate position - which could be relayed by radio.

4. Even cellular (mobile) phone - which most people now have - works well in the Cairns offshore area.

If he didn't have any of these options - then I would also say that he was ill prepared, and should pay the full SAR cost.

I don't feel that costs involved with complacent people who " have an EPIRB - she'll be right" should be paid for by public money.

IMHO - Tuco in Cairns
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 17:51

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 17:51
1. This happened in Darwin about 10 years ago & iv never heard of anyone lodging a "trip slip" for a one day fishing trip.
For those who want to jump on me for saying that dont bother as im not interested.

2.No radio yet as i recall, obviously would of been a good idea.

3. Yes it did have a GPS.

4.As it was about 10 years ago mobile phones wernt as common as now.

So only 2 of your above options apply.......geez we are getting very picky now arn't we.

Maybe you guys should become OHS officers. LOL
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Follow Up By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:58

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:58
As well as being a Nationally Recognised 4wd instructor, I have been riding trail bikes for over 30 years. For the last 4 years I have been a member of the Cairns branch of the DSMRA dual sport motorcycle riders of Australia, a national organisation. We plan our rides 1 year in advance and ride at least every month, we are well prepared and well equipped we always have UHF radios, a sat phone and a portable epirb. If the ride sare more than one day we also have back up vehicles. On our last 2 rides we have hade to use the sat phone and epirb twice, once for a broken leg out behind Irvinebank, and once for a broken back up near Laura. Both times we used the sat phone to call the hospital and give them the accident scenario it was thier call to send a chopper on both occasions. We would never set off the epirb without previous notification by sat phone. The second time we were reluctant to call and waited until the next morning to assess the situation, as it happened we were also trapped by flood waters at Maytown which prompted the call to get the badly injured girl out of there as safely and quickly as possible. When the chopper arrived we were told off for not having called them the day before These guys are on call to lend assistance in emergency situations which both of these incidents were. We are all tax payers and therefore have the right to utilise these services when absolutely neccessary. To see these guys swing into action is a privelidge as they winched a nurse and medic down to the guy with the broken as landing in this remote bushy area was impossible. They stabilised him as his blood pressure was low and put him on a drip before winching all three back into the chopper. By the way most of our group hold first aid certificates so we can assess the situation fairly accurately before calling help. In Qld abulance subsciption is included in our electricity bill not sure about the rest of Oz. Feel free to ask any questions or comments about these incidents We have called a chopper for help 3 times in four years of trail riding. Cheers Rob
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