Best safety & survival devices for 2021
9/13/2021

Historically, among the last equipment on boaters’ lists to buy are devices that can save their lives and those of their passengers. In most cases the reason is simply that capsizing at sea and treading water for who knows how long is uncomfortable to think about-and besides "that will never happen to me.” Boaters who’ve grown up on the water know differently. It can and does happen, usually with no warning-and then it’s too late to prepare. Safety and survival equipment works. And as Coast Guard search and rescue teams will tell you: it’s cheap insurance. Below are two Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and a pair of Personal Survival Devices that will make sure all onboard make it home safely.

The lineup is part of an exercise Marine Electronics Journal does every year as part of our Buyers’ Guide. It works like this: We ask the top manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category (17 in all) that they consider to be their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters.

Last week we rolled out top-dog electronic charts. Next week we’ll look at another category of electronics that adds greatly to your peace of mine and situational awareness when you’re on the water after dark-night vision equipment.


EPIRBs

McMurdo SmartFind G8

The world’s first EPIRB with dual distress alerting, using 406 MHz to contact professional search & rescue via Cospas-Sarsat, while simultaneously using AIS (Automatic Identification System) to alert nearby vessels to support localized recovery. Combined with its dual GPS & Galileo GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receivers for a truly globally accurate location fix and a 121.5-MHz homing frequency, the design is focused on accelerated rescue. With a minimum 48-hour activation, water or manual activation switch, 10-year battery, optimized MEOSAR (Mid-Earth Orbit Search and Rescue)capabilities and internal carry strap, the G8 is one of the most powerful distress beacons on the market.


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