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    Re: News Item on Over-reliance on GPS
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2008 Nov 04, 00:19 -0500

    Lu, you wrote:
    "But I also have a lot of trouble with the tendency of "experts" to assign
    "GPS problems" as the reason for any on-the-water incident where the boat
    was carrying and using a GPS."
    I agree. It's the "pundit" answer. This incident is also a case where a
    cheap handheld GPS backup could have made a big difference, not necessarily
    in saving the boat, but during the rescue.
    Does anyone know if there is a requirement from any navy or other
    rule-making body to carry a handheld GPS in a Faraday cage (with backup
    batteries replaced every six months)? While a sextant might be nice to have,
    a handheld GPS is smaller, cheaper, easier to maintain and use, much more
    accurate, and available in all weather. We have all heard reports of GPS
    "systems" failing, but those are usually integrated charting applications
    with many sensitive components and the GPS read-out is frequently just a
    small part. But the loss of all GPS capability aboard a vessel strikes me as
    bad planning. People carry spare radios to call for help. They carry EPIRBs.
    Why not spare GPS receivers? Or do they? I understand that some EPIRBs now
    include GPS positioning.
    I don't want to stray off-topic here. I'm just wondering about the state of
    current rules and practice. It strikes me that a rule requiring a sextant is
    mostly preparing for a disaster with very low probability.
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