The PanPan personal beacon is a waterproof 1.2-by-3.1in Bluetooth 4.0 device that can create an active MOB network aboard your boat by leveraging the capabilities of the smartphones and tablets you already have onboard. Basically, in the event you or your beacon get far enough away from whatever screens you have working, the Bluetooth connection will fail, and the PanPan apps loaded into each device will mark the spot, alarm the rest of the crew and help manage the victim’s retrieval. The PanPan beacon’s battery is purportedly god for 3 years of regular use, and its antenna design claims a maximum range of 650ft. PanPan’s developers are working on a further step to avoid alarms caused by Bluetooth obstructions by “meshing” a network of multiple beacons and apps so that no one beacon will be reported overboard if it can still be seen by another. A PanPan pet collar is also in the works. Using phones for marine safety may seem dicey, but waterproof cases are plentiful, the PanPan system is well designed, and the truth is that phones are fast becoming as ubiquitous offshore as they are on land. The fact that this MOB system employs a technology that everyone, not just the skipper, will comfortable with is also a huge plus.
$95. PanPan, crewwatcher.com