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January 05, 2007

Raymarine LifeTag System

Falling overboard at sea must be one of the scariest things that can happen to a boater. Wait: Watching your boat head off into the sunset without you after falling in might be scarier...

Falling overboard at sea must be one of the scariest things that can happen to a boater. Wait: Watching your boat head off into the sunset without you after falling in might be scarier. You can stay afloat, but how is anyone going to find you? Enter Raymarine and its new LifeTag system.

With LifeTag's wristwatch-type senders powered on, an alarm is sent when they're moved approximately 32 feet from the base station. The system is comprised of a base station, two personal bright-orange senders (the LifeTags), an alarm and a means of sending the signal via SeaTalk to a Raymarine multifunction chart plotter. That activates the MOB alarm and produces a "Help! I'm drowning!" red icon on the display. The senders take power from a pair of CR2 lithium camera batteries (one-year/200-hour life expectancy) and have on/off switches. The entire system can handle up to 16 LifeTags via one unit.

When the signal between a LifeTag and the base station is broken, the station sounds an alarm and sends a message to the connected SeaTalk devices, which then record the latitude/longitude of the MOB event, making it the targeted waypoint. However, the LifeTags do not send a constant position signal back to the vessel, just the alarm and initial MOB geographical waypoint. Still, it's a step in the right direction. Look for the system to retail for around $685. Raymarine, 603-881-5200, www.raymarine.com.