Tooting My Own Horn
In the list of things needed for a vessel is an audible signal device. This is required by law, and law enforcement can be fairly strict about having things if you are ever inspected. There are many types to choose from, and many that claim to be certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. Which happens to be the best damn Coast Guard in the world, according to me.
When I bought Odin, one of the first things I did was buy safety equipment. This included an Shoreline Marine air horn. These little devices are easy to use, and loud enough to be heard for a mile. They have a set amount of charge, with larger ones lasting longer. The major problem with these is that you may run out of a charge and not even know you were about to, leaving you silent. This means it's a good idea to have a spare about.
In January 2018, we took ASA sailing 101 & 103, while on the boat we had a rechargeable air horn. The horn can be refilled with an included hand pump in a few minutes. By the end of the day I had a Seasense Ecoblast horn in the mail from Amazon.
The horn is slightly larger than the metal canister Shoreline non-rechargeable one that we already had, but the Seasense was much lighter. It is designed to fit in a standard cup holder and and has a soft cloth cover that, if I had to guess, is meant to keep your hand from freezing to it. It's a clear bottle above that, though I'm not sure why, as there isn't much to see. The trigger near the neck is easy to squeeze, but not so easy that it goes off when bumped, which is nice.
During our trip, we never really got a change to test out the horn to see how loud it was, so I was a bit worried that it would not live up to the metal canister version. I opened it in the garage and immediately decided to try it out. The entire house came to see what all the noise was, and I could barely hear because the thing was SO loud. It's loud enough to keep the kids from playing with it as it hurts to use. I don't know the audible range, but I imagine it is over a mile. It meets Coast Guard 1 mile radius, so should pass any inspection.
For about $14 more than the Shoreline, we have an air horn that, if it ever runs out, we just pump it up again. This makes it far more economical, and the re-usability makes it eco friendly. I'm not sure how it will last before it breaks, but I'll be sure to update here when it does.
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