The ACR Aqualink View is only $360. This is a top end PLB (personal locator beacon), similar to an EPIRB except for a person not a boat. Its highly recommended for everyone, including casual sailors. Not just for professional mariners or well heeled yachtsmen. There are even cheaper ones of course, but with less features.
About "The Raft Book", Gatty, 1943. The book was explicitly written at the behest of the US Air Force for aviators flying over the Pacific in WW2, should they have to ditch. That was the explicit purpose of the book. Those airplanes carried inflatable life rafts,
not propelled boats. They didn't navigate anywhere at all, they drifted about aimlessly. For a highly recommended, firsthand account of US aviators forced to ditch in the Pacific, try https://books.google.com/books?id=3RoBsbf4LUIC&dq=the+raft&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiSuue1mMbeAhWh1VkKHf0TBbMQ6AEILTAD
I do not recall them determining position but my memory could be faulty. They were much more concerned about water and secondarily food.
You make mention that the EPIRB/PLB might not make it to the raft. That hardly compares in scale to taking all of the necessary regalia for CN. Almanacs, sextant, chronometer, etc, etc, etc. You also make mention that any device can fail. Yes, they can. The prudent mariner shall exercise periodic self tests of his or her EPIRB/PLB, a built in feature. There are periodic service intervals as well.
Pretending that CN will "save you" in the event of an actual emergency is quite foolhardy, particularly when tested, proven, robust alternatives are available that blow the doors off of CN. If you have EPIRB/PLB and want to add CN on top, I understand. Do not, however, substitute CN for EPIRB/PLB. That is a mistake.
Exercising your mind by engaging in "what if" CN exercises is a fun thing to do. Recommended! Just don't get carried away into making a life threatening error
Dear Brad, dear Frank,
Yes, I fully agree with what you say about modern life rafts and rescue equipment. But this only applies to professional people like pilots and|or seamen. May be novadays yatchsmen are also required (by insurance companies) to posess the EPIRB|etc equipment.
What about mere passengers of planes and cruise liners? Will there be all those electronic conveniences available on their improvised "life rafts" hacked of the salvaged suite cases and other flotsam-jetsam? A rhetoric question.
I never sunk or fell from the skies but I strongly believe that having an idea of where I am and where I am being drifted is very consolating - giving a purpose, reason and hope to not bog down under the circumstances. May be I'm naive but I still insist that Knowledge is Strength.
You seem to hint that The Raft Book is over-rated because it had only ~3~4 prints. But if such books are irrelevant - where from came modern books like David Burch's Emergency Navigation? After all - even EPIRB|etc can fail leaving people to their own devices. They better be prepared/informed on what they can or should do - and how to do it.
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