The V100 VPIRB: enhances mariners’ safety

The V100 VPIRB: enhances mariners’ safety

Smart Mobilarm device for MOB rescue

01 July 2008

Australian marine technology innovator Mobilarm launched its new commercial marine product to coincide with the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, held in early May. 

The Mobilarm V100 VPIRB (VHF position indicating radio beacon) is designed to provide commercial mariners with a faster, more efficient man overboard (MOB) rescue system than traditional personal EPIRB devices. The Mobilarm V100 is a fully automated, position indicating radio beacon that transmits a MOB distress call via VHF DSC and VHF voice to all VHF radio-equipped vessels and land-based receivers within range, including the distressed mariner’s vessel. The pocket-sized VPIRB is attached to clothing or lifejackets and will automatically activate if the wearer goes overboard, sending out a distress call and real time GPS coordinates of the casualty’s current position.
The Mobilarm V100 VPIRB automatically sends out the initial ‘Mayday, Man Overboard’ alarm via DSC data using VHF DSC channel 70. As soon as a GPS lock is obtained via the integrated 24 channel GPS receiver, usually within 30 seconds, the device transmits the distress call again, complete with position coordinates, and also in a synthesised voice on VHF channel 16. The message is repeated at regular intervals to update the rescuers on its current position. This continues until the device is deactivated; the Mobilarm V100 battery will support transmission for at least 18 hours in normal conditions.
“MOB events are the cause of one third of all fatalities in the commercial marine industry and surprisingly, two thirds of MOB events occur in good weather, good visibility and light to moderate winds,” explained Mobilarm CEO Lindsay Lyon. “With these statistics, it’s clear that the current systems in place for preventing and dealing with MOB events could be improved, especially with the commitment to, and availability of technology based solutions we now have in the marine industry.”
Commenting on the launch, Lyon explained how the company’s new VIPRB technology provided significant advantages over current personal EPIRB products. “The probability of survival in a man overboard situation is directly related to the length of time the person spends in the water. Conventional marine personal locating beacons, such as the personal EPIRB, must be manually activated to send a signal, which may be difficult or impossible to do if the person is injured or unconscious. In addition a personal EPIRB transmits its emergency signal to a remote onshore location, which can introduce needless delay in the recovery of the man overboard and can greatly reduce their chances of survival.”
Sending an emergency signal to nearby vessels, rather than an onshore location, means that the other crew members who are usually in the best position to conduct a rescue are alerted and deployed virtually immediately. This reduces the casualty’s time in the water and represents a quantum improvement in their chances of survival.
Another tangible benefit to the Mobilarm V100 is that as long as a VHF radio is onboard, no other equipment need be installed. Unlike 121.5 MHz direction finding beacons and satellite locating systems, which demand dedicated receiving base stations, direction finding equipment or satellite time rental, the Mobilarm V100 VPIRB uses only existing industry standard VHF marine radio networks.
“The social responsibility of employers in the oil and gas industries to improve workplace safety was one of the driving forces behind the development of the device,” said Lyon. “Providing mariners in demanding working environments with the Mobilarm V100 VPIRB demonstrates the highest degree of commitment to marine safety.”
The Mobilarm V100 VPIRB is suitable for use in any maritime application and is a highly cost-effective, practical life saving device that vastly improves location and recovery in a MOB situation, the company said. The product will be available through selected dealers, alongside other Mobilarm safety products, throughout the world from July 2008.
Based in Perth, Australia, Mobilarm is the world leader in electronic marine safety products that protect and save lives in man overboard emergencies for commercial and recreational mariners. Available online and through a global network of dealers and distributors, Mobilarm’s award-winning products are specifically designed to improve the workplace safety environment for all mariners, by providing an instant alert to vessel and crew in the event of man overboard.
The company’s Australian and International awards include the Australian Design Award and the winner of the Seatrade Safety at Sea Award, the first such award given to an Australian company.

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