PLB long term hire thoughts
I've just been thinking about the money that's splashed around in SAR and where it ends up being used. Conceptually would there be a place for a subsidised fund by Police or someone else to support long term PLB hire? The going commercial rate for a typical hire outlet is maybe $5 to $10/day for a PLB, on top of whatever overheads you might need for collecting and returning it or posting it or whatever. If you go on a few trips in a year you're already approaching a cost of a whole new PLB, but paying that much upfront is not an option for many people. If you decide on a whim that you want to go out later that day then it's not great if the hire outlet doesn't open until tomorrow. It's also not a very convenient model if you don't live near a collection point. A fund of $300k as an example, at $250/each, could effectively buy 1200 plbs outright. They could be given to people but half would probably vanish or be resold for private profit. That's a similar problem if PLB purchases are subsidised because they have higher value overseas. But alternatively they could be put into a long term rental scheme. Instead of paying maybe $20 to $50/trip and having the complication of having to organise hire, maybe you pay $15/year just to have it sitting at home most of the time. The scheme still officially owns the PLB, so you still have to take responsibility for not losing it and cannot resell it, but you continue to have it around the house, ready to take wherever you go, even if you only go somewhere two or three times a year. By the time the battery expires, a big chunk of replacement cost has been paid for, and the RCCNZ is happy because they're all registered to people as a condition of hiring.
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Maybe we could put the idea out there that if you've got a loved one tramping, it would make sense for the whanau to club together and buy said loved one a PLB for a combined birthday/xmas present rather than the usual crap presents they give. I buy my offical loved one PLB's as a prezzie. Last time he said I was buying it so he could carry it and rescue me! In other words it was going to benefit me, not him. The upshot is that I carry the small yellow brick in my pack to rescue him. Too bad if I get wiped out by a massive boulder but then again, he's carrying the first PLB I bought him!
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