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Floating Handheld VHF

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:18 pm
by tomodda
Hi Folks:

This just a heads-up from today's sail, hopefully is helpful to someone. I have a Horizon VHF/GPS unit, handheld, it's my comms device and panic button (has a DSC distress call button that I hope never to need), and I program in my waypoints when needed. All that and it floats, what's not the love?

Well, one day we all get to understand the difference between theory and practice... I carry my VHF clipped to my lifejacket and doubly-secured with a lanyard. For some reason that I can't figure out, the radio popped straight off my lifejacket today (when I was reaching out to clear a tangled jibsheet forward of the mast) and the lanyard somehow failed - KERPLOP! Straight into the drink. Not much I could do about it because I was then hit with a sudden gust, except for taking a quick look at the compass for my heading. As soon as things calmed down, I sailed the reciprocal, hoping to spot the antenna waving around out of the water. Nothing.... I was close to the dock anyway, and about to go in, so I headed upwind and dropped sail.

Then I saw the radio... barely. It was floating "on it's back", barely underwater, like so (from the company's own brochure! I just didn't realize the implications, it does NOT float upright and it does NOT float above the surface):


Since the radio is black, and (unlike this photo) the water is black/dark green, I could just barely see it, mostly by the ripples around it and the reflection off the screen, a silver spot in the water. I lost sight of it several times maneuvering to pick it up, and then ran it over. But I got it, $350 saved and my pride. Still works just fine, despite the swim.

Moral of the story - double-check your lanyards at the beginning of the season, and paint your emergency equipment ORANGE.

Re: Floating Handheld VHF

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:51 pm
by Fly4rfun
Don't you just love it when things work out, i'm always laying things down not to find them again, but right after i buy a replacement I come across it. set my bluetooth ear piece in the top of my tool box (5' wide and 5' tall) and now i can't find it. by the way love the color of the hull of your boat.

Re: Floating Handheld VHF

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:36 am
by tomodda
Glad you like the paint-job, it's needing some touch-up now. As for misplacing stuff, that's how I wound up with THREE belt sanders! Bought one 25 years ago along with my first house.. moved to new house 5 years later, lost the sander in the move, bought another one... divorce 10 years later, everything into storage, moved, lost the second sander, bought another one... moved from Philly to North Carolina, searching thru all the boxes for my damn sander and wouldn'tchaknow?.. found all three! Including the one from 25 years ago, still works great. Anyway, need anything belt-sanded? ;-)

Re: Floating Handheld VHF

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:51 pm
by GreenLake
The "convention" of using black for gear goes back (supposedly) to professional photographers not wanting to advertise their gear from a distance. It's a poor choice for anything safety relevant. Looks like it's time for some neon-colored tape?

Mine would need the same treatment - I solve the issue of being able to find it, by leaving it at home :(

Most of the time, I sail on a busy lake, where visual distress signals of any kind probably generate a faster response than using VHF. I should probably be more cognizant of the change in circumstances when I sail other waters and use more positive emergency communication protocols in those cases.

The encounter with the whale could have ended differently, and nobody would have found us, ever, for lack of visibility.

Re: Floating Handheld VHF

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:50 pm
by Fly4rfun
Tom i have a belt sander hiding also, it has been replaced. you could do a belt sander race.