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Old 09-06-2005, 07:20 PM   #1
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Default Position reporting - Good or bad?

Yacht position reporting - good or bad? I have been considering this question for some time now and would love to hear other opinions on the issue.

Cruisers - not rallies/races/regattas/, etc.

There are a number of "position reporting" programs/systems designed for cruisers that are available - some costly with expensive transmitting hardware and some free. Some are automatic (satellite transmission) and some accept position reports via HF radio direct and others via HF radio associated emailing programs/hardware. These systems then display these positions on a website so that family and friends can closely follow the cruiser's track with MUCH interest.

Further, and possibly most important should there be problems, Search and Rescue will have a head-start in finding the yacht. They would have access to a (hopefully regularly updated) track with course, speed, etc. You could say that an E.P.I.R.B. (IF the yacht has one - serviced and working correctly) would be more accurate for this purpose.

This is all GREAT. Family & friends don't have to wait for your next "contact" to know where you are & how you're progressing on your circumnavigation.

<font color="red">THE REAL WORLD</font id="red">:

ANYONE with sinister intentions can listen to this HF radio traffic AND monitor the relevant websites and know exactly where these cruising yachts are IN ADVANCE. This gives a huge advantage to simply "line of sight" and 24 mile radar. "Delayed reporting" (say 24 hrs in arrears) still shows your track, speed and course.

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What are the alternatives? What type of reporting system would work? Should we simply revert to emailing our family & friends at the end of the passage?

Your thoughts please!
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:57 PM   #2
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I am not aware of the technical possibilities or limitations of the system. It is possible that a password could be shared between the cruiser and their land based monitoring friends. I understand this would cut other interested parties out of the loop, but it would provide the important parties with much needed information in a secure computer environment.
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Old 09-07-2005, 12:42 PM   #3
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Certainly when sailing around OZ , one always gives position reports to Coast Guard Stations , and Coastal Patrol where necessary.It has saved a few lives from cruising boats in the past. I believe its necessary to fill in a passage plan ,file it with a friend/ relative /Water Police etc .

Having said that ,its IMPORTANT to check in on arrival at a destination and advise safe passage. Here in OZ , the Coastal stations all relay your position and safe arrival etc, to the last station who was monitoring your passage.

Off shore.. well does depend on where you are sailing, I would be wary around some parts of ASIA and certainly around Socotra, Suez etc.

Seek local advice from authorities in destinations on the best way of reporting your position , well in advance.

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Old 09-12-2005, 10:53 PM   #4
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The question you asking is a good one. We are taking off in the spring and I'm figuring out how to keep family/friends in the loop without compromising saftey. For the first couple of years not a big deal as plans are East Coast through Carribean. But as we head further afield could be more of an issue.

Also a low to no cost alternative is good as the requirement is for their curiosity rather than EPIRB type issues.
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:46 PM   #5
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You got a point here. Just protecting or shielding off the positions (by PW or so) takes the value out of the whole system.

But what are the chances bad guys uses this kind of information? I'm not aware of anyplace in the world where there exists organised crime against yachts and yachties. Probably the biggest risk is the petty thiefs that you find everywhere: stupid, poor and just taking advance of the situation. And that kind of people doesn't have acces to internet and so on....

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Old 09-13-2005, 05:17 PM   #6
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I think Jan asks a good question - What are the chances that Yemenese pirates are going to be checking the web for yacht position reports? Do they have internet café's in Yemen, and Somalia?
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:50 PM   #7
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I agree that the chances of a pirate listening in on HF yacht position reports, or checking it out on the Internet, is such a remote possibility that it isn't worth considering.

Having lived in a city during our working lives and chased muggers down the street several times, I view thieves as opportunists - a vulnerable situation presents it to them and they act on it. Watermelon was never locked except when we left her to take an extended trip inland, and she was never boarded and robbed. Somebody once stole a pair of fins and mask and snorkel from the cockpit when we weren't there, but that's the worst we experienced. So.

I would not make it difficult to find us. Any reported position is only easy to track for the first hour after it's been reported. After that it takes fairly sophisticated knowledge to plot a DR position, and it seems to me that the thieves who can do that are looking for bigger prey than a sailing yacht.
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:22 PM   #8
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Only just read this topic so may be a bit out of date.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not overrate the capacity of pirates to use intelligence. I have had experience of them in commercial shipping and a lot of them use ssb, scanners, internet, newspapers etc. to select likely targets.
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