Members' Online Book: Person Overboard Prevention, Chapter 15 of 15

Smartphone or AIS Based Person Overboard Beacons?

OK, might as well be up front about it, I’m thinking that smartphone-based person overboard (POB) beacons have got to be the worst idea I have heard of in a very long time, particularly since we already have a much better alternative: AIS/DSC beacons.

In fact, the only reason I can come up with for why the former are even a thing, is that it is a manifestation of the smartphone addiction syndrome that many people have been worrying about lately. In this case the symptom seems to be:

I will buy anything, no matter how ill conceived, as long as it runs on my smartphone, and even though there’s already a much better alternative available.

So, having upset a large percentage of my readers and at least one friend, let me go through my thinking, and then let’s see if anyone can come up with a counter argument. And while we are at it, let’s look at AIS POB beacons in detail.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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