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handheld vhf, epirb, personal locator? More choices than money...

I've been boating for my whole life and at 47 feel like a newbie setting up this boat as a more salt water oriented deal than I'm used to. I've spent the last 30 years fishing out of Bass Trackers or Gheenoes inshore or on friends boats up to 45 miles out. I know my friends are safe and smart about it. Just don't want to overlook something or buy something that doesn't really work if the excrement covered fan is belly up in the water.
I'll mostly be inshore or near shore but figure I'm good out to twenty miles in this boat on a nice stable day. Previous owner had it out 40 miles. It's an unsinkable hull but I'm not one to chance things with the Gulf. Thought of getting a waterproof hand held vhf for back up of the dash mount vhf and that got me thinking more on the issue. I might be better off spending the money initially on an ACR PLB and get the hand held vhf later. What is the newest info on epirbs verses the plb's? I like the idea of a small portable acr plb assigned to myself instead of the boat so I can use it on other boats,etc. These transmit a gps location when manually activated, can be worn on a belt, and are waterproof. How well do they actually work??? I couldn't find any actual test data. Looks like the battery has to be replaced in 5 years.

What about this one at this price?
http://www.starmarinedepot.com/ACR+ResQ ... Pouch.html

The wife(RN) is going on a church medical missionary trip to Guatemala next month and was hoping some of the DR's she works with would donate to the trip but thanks to Obamacare they are sitting on their money. Looks like my tithe to the church will be about $1000 this month so I'm doing the safety things first and then things like a trolling motor later. For now the T Top is going to consist of a $20 beach umbrella in a rod holder on the console. :grin
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