Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boat safety equipment is worth the price

ST. PETE BEACH

When Kevin Sherburne heard that a group of men, some of them professional football players, were missing and presumed dead in the Gulf of Mexico, he picked up the phone. "How much is a life worth?" he said. "Is it worth the price of an EPIRB?" Sherburne, of HWH Electronics on St. Pete Beach, spends his days counseling boaters on the finer points of offshore safety. "People will spend tens of thousands of dollars on a boat," he said. "But when it comes to safety equipment, they often don't have what they need to make it back safely." Sherburne believes the main reason so many people venture offshore unprepared is they simply do not know what safety gear is available.

Emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)

A GPS-equipped model will provide a faster response time and create a smaller search area. With a standard 48-hour battery life when transmitting, these units also have built-in strobe lights. The two types — manual (Cat II) or auto release (Cat I, which floats and turns on automatically when submerged in water) — have a five-year shelf life before battery replacement.

Cost: $600 to $1,000

Coastal compact life raft

Designed for coastal boating (not offshore use) these rafts are relatively inexpensive but do not come with prepacked survival gear. Compact and light (15 to 20 pounds) these rafts must be repacked every three years.

Cost: $995 to $1,500

Elite series life rafts .

Designed for offshore use, midweight category (45 pounds and heavier), these rafts come with reflective tape and a strobe attached. Some models have an inflatable floor and canopy as well as standard survival gear (such as flares, knife, and first aid kit).

Cost: $1,700 to $4,400

Inflatable life jackets

Most boaters don't wear personal flotation devices, even when under water. Yet research shows most drownings could be avoided if boaters wore PFDs. Automatic and manual inflatable PFDs are unrestrictive and can be worn all day. Coast Guard-approved Type III (manual) and Type II (automatic) come with reflective tape and are ideal for those 16 and older.

Cost: $100 to $200

Personal locator beacons (PLBs)

With a 24-hour battery life when transmitting, these units do not float without an external floating case. Manually activated, these units are registered to a person rather than a boat. It's ideal for kayakers, hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts.

Cost: $300 and up

VHF fixed mount

Designed to be a vessel's primary VHF radio for marine communications, they have an FCC-mandated 25-watt transmit power. A larger remote antenna can increase range and reception capabilities. Digital Signal Calling (DSC) adds to the safety factor.

Cost: $200 to $800

VHF handheld

With waterproof ratings and/or floating options, 5- or 6-watt output and a small, built-in antenna, these radios have limited range and battery life but are good backups for a primary fixed-mount radio and an excellent way to tune into NOAA weather channels.

Cost: $200 to $500

Iridium handheld satellite phones

Offering worldwide coverage, compact with built-in or remote antenna's available, the typical monthly service charge runs about $32 with a $1.50 per minute airtime charge, including data e-mail communications. These phones are water resistant but not waterproof and need a clear view of the sky for a connection.

Cost: $1,500 to $2,000 with accessories

Source: Kevin D. Sherburne, HWH Electronics, www.hwhelectronics.com

Boat safety equipment is worth the price 04/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2009 8:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.

    Storm

    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    In this 1974 file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler looks to pass. Research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life _ evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. Stabler is among the cases previously reported. (AP Photo/File)
  2. How do Bucs players rank? SI puts 16 in their NFL top 400

    Blogs

    It's a fun exercise for Bucs fans: If you had to rank Tampa Bay's best players, how would your top 10 look?

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown at mandatory minicamp last month, was ranked as the No. 70 player in the NFL by Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback. That's much lower than he was ranked in NFL Network's top 100 this summer.
  3. Florida Gators want a White Out in home opener

    Blogs

    At least the Florida Gators are trying to do something to spice up this season's home opener.

  4. Stop expecting Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp

    Bucs

    Here's the problem when it comes to Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

    Photo from National Pediatric Cancer Foundation The crowd cheered wildly for cancer survivor Joshua Fisher, left, and Tampa Bay Buc Gerald McCoy at the 14th annual Fashion Funds the Cure on May 6 to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation at Port Tampa Bay Terminal 2.
  5. Orioles Buck Showalter's Trop takedown includes bullpen mounds, bathroom options, bladder problems

    Blogs

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of the Trop, and after Monday's 5-0 win he — with some prodding from O's TV man Gary Thorne — took a few more shots during their MASN interview, specifically about the location of the bullpen mounds, and the lack of bathroom facilities.

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of Tropicana Field.