Another recommendation from the Flinders Islet yacht race incident preliminary report* was that yachts should have “a ‘mini grab bag’ that is easily accessible from the cockpit of the yacht containing at least a VHF handheld radio, 2 flares and, if possible, an EPIRB.”
Personally, I don’t think the EPIRB should be optional. I’d be much happier knowing that there was one in the grab bag if I needed to abandon ship.
If you do plan to get one, it needs to be a manually operated EPIRB so that you can activate it when necessary. And preferably with GPS, which can update rescue authorities with details of your position – particularly important when being blown along in a liferaft.
* You can read our report on the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) Board’s recommendations in our Newsletter Archive.