Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

No excuses. Get an ACR-ResQLink PLB with GPS

by John Curnow on 10 Feb 2012
ResQlink .
Since arriving on the scene, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) have had a significant impact on the offshore sailor’s kit and made the shore crew feel even more comfortable about waving the crew goodbye, as they embarked on yet another journey.

Now since being mandated for all Category One and Two blue water races and making the change from 121.5 to 406MHz, PLBs have become more effective and significantly cut down the time required to locate the subject. Registration with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has not only assisted them work out where you are in the broad sense, it has helped them, race officials and emergency authorities contact the relevant parties in a more appropriate timeframe, as well.

The more recent addition of Global Positioning System (GPS) inside the units has meant that the area in which they are looking for you has decreased from an entire suburb to a city block and now just a suburban back yard. That’s really good to know when you’re the one bobbing around out there and even better when you’re the ship or aircrew trying to get to you!

However, there was one thing that remained somewhat large out of all this, and that was the size of the unit itself. Originally, people had them in the pockets of their offshore jackets and then they made the move to the harness of your Personal Flotation Device (PFD). They were a little bulky and sometimes a bit heavy, but the upside far outweighed any drawback or minor infringement on your space and manoeuvrability.

That is until the new ACR-ResQLink appeared on the market. As the world’s smallest PLB, it has certainly become the hot favourite, so we got a chance to talk with InMarine’s David Clancy about the unit. ‘The ACR ResQLink is not only small at a mere 3.3 x 4.8 x 9.9cm, it is also very light – just 130g!

Accordingly, it fits into the palm of your hand, so is far less bulky than the others and this means it is not only easier to carry, it is actually attracting new users from activities like kayaking, camping and bushwalking. Additionally, it is waterproof to 5m. When you also consider that these sorts of items used to be something like $600 or $700, but the ACR ResQLink sells for under $450, it is little wonder that they have become the hottest ticket in town.’

‘We are having a little trouble keeping up with the supply at the moment, because they’re so popular. We literally cannot get enough of them. They are a little like candy in a candy store, which is great. Given the expanded market, some of our retailers are seeing people in their stores that have never had before’, David said.

‘I used to do an awful lot of bushwalking and my wife still does. You can set off in to the wild and disappear for ages, so to speak. Having an ACR ResQLink makes it a lot easier if you do run in to trouble, however.

Authorities tell me they have had more land rescues as a result of PLBs than offshore ones, as they become more popular and affordable. Given the small price, size and weight of the ResQLink PLB, you can understand why they are becoming more and more popular.

‘I think a lot of outdoor people are starting to realise that if it all goes a little sideways on you, with a GPS capable PLB, you can effectively take the search out of Search and Rescue (SAR). Considering the ResQLink also has a homing signal, once the crews are in the area, they will be guided straight in to your location.’

Moving back to the water, you do not have be taking on any of the country’s blue water yachting events to see how a PLB can save your life, even if you intend to operate in somewhat confined waters. ‘We’ve noticed that the marine safety authorities in Victoria and New South Wales have now put recommendations out on their websites and in retail stores that anyone in a kayak or sea kayak should be carrying a PLB at all times, because there have been a number of deaths from hyperthermia’, David informed us.

Just recently, there was an example of where PLBs being utilised could have allowed AMSA to ensure that two kayakers survived on Melbourne’s Port Phillip. David explains, ‘It has been estimated they were in the water for something like nine hours, but if they had a ResQLink, they would have been rescued within half an hour, as they were only a few miles off the entrance to the Paterson River, on the South East shores of the Bay. There are SAR assets stationed right there, but no one saw them and no one heard from them. This is not the ocean, so it just goes to show how important it is, especially as these type of craft grow in popularity.’

So then, ensuring you have a GPS capable 406MHz PLB is something that can only be described as absolutely essential. Right. Tick the box - you bought one.

Congratulations. Now, before you rush out anywhere from Mount Kosciuszko to Bass Strait, or Katherine Gorge to Lord Howe Island, please take the time to register it.

David explains, ‘AMSA send me information regarding PLBs. In the last five months, there has been increase of PLB responses across Australia to 510 incidents. Now of that, a full third of the PLBs where never actually registered. Yes they know where you are, but if you are registered and if you are partaking in an event, they can significantly cut down the required time to notify all the relevant parties and work out exactly what kind of assistance you are likely to require.

‘When you consider that time could be the difference between you surviving and them arriving to find you no longer with us, the few minutes it takes to keep your PLB details current and valid will seem very much like small change.’

Out at sea again, in manner of speaking, for the last two years Australian authorities have required vessels operating two or more nautical miles out to sea to carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

The good news is that ACR has a host of great new products under final development including a new EPIRB with GPS.

' It is a very exciting time’, said David. ‘The consumers are loving the products InMarine is bringing to market and our retail outlets are enjoying the new customers that are coming in to buy them.’

So there aren’t any excuses. It just makes good sense to not only have an ACR ResQLink PLB, but to have registered with the correct authorities. That way, they’ll not only know where to get to from the lat/long data embedded in the five Watt distress signal, once the SAR team is close, they’ll be guided right in via the inbuilt homing signal.

Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016