Updated: May 1
The most important part about the sailing lifestyle is safety. Typically, when you think about safety gear aboard a vessel, the main products are your ditch bag, EPIRB, fire extinguishers and so on. We don’t typically see or hear other cruisers talk about personal safety gear besides their life jackets and tether!
Aboard Calypso, it’s a different story. For Jeremiah, myself, Rhys and any other crew we may have aboard for passages, safety is the priority. We have the obvious required safety gear and about a billion other things I could randomly list, but I’d rather focus on a couple different pieces of equipment. We’ve taken personal safety a step further and decided to invest in 1 ACR OLAS TAG also known as the wearable crew tracker and the 4 AIS MOB1.
We purchased the ACR OLAS tag for Rhys to wear on his wrist when we’re offshore. We decided that this was a great way to keep track of Rhys because he is a very active little boy! The mobile application technology detects a break in its ‘virtual tether’ to the tag within 8 seconds of a tag going missing. If that were to happen, the mobile device(s) alarm is activated. The device also records the latitude and longitude of the incident using your phone's GPS. Then it aids the crew with the MOB recovery, directing them to the GPS location. Not just for families, it could also be worn for solo use by simply setting it up to alert your emergency contact if you were to get separated from your boat. Pretty cool! Another way you could use this is to put one in your dinghy. If the dinghy and tag were to venture away from your boat at night you’d be alerted.
Jeremiah and I decided to get the AIS MOB1 device for each of our spinlocks (including the spare one we have for the crew). These activate automatically on inflation, sending the first alert within 15 seconds. Once activated, the MOB communicates with not only the vessel you’ve been separated from but also with all other vessels within a 5-mile range. The strobe that activates provides a visual rescue and the alert that is transmitted from the MOB to all AIS receivers gives all vessels a precise location to rescue you.
We also purchased one of these for Rhys’ life jacket, but it will not activate automatically since Rhys has a Type II life jacket. Therefore, we decided to come up with our own system that allows Rhys to activate the device by pulling it. We could have bought Rhys a Spinlock which would activate the device automatically if the spinlock were to inflate, however, there’s always a chance that the spinlock could be defective causing it not to inflate. For us, it is more important to know that Rhys will float and trust in him to activate the device himself if our system doesn’t work. If not that, then he will be wearing the ACR OLAS TAG.
Obviously all cruisers hope to never find themselves in a man overboard situation but it is so important to be prepared for the worst. Now I know that if it were to happen onboard Calypso, we feel fully prepared with the equipment we’ve chosen. I’m very happy that we finally made the decision to purchase these devices. They allow for us and the crew to move around the vessel with more ease and peace of mind because we are more prepared if a man overboard incident were to occur.