Occasional need for EPIRB? PLB's? Here's the solution (if in the US)
by Boat US Foundation/Sail-World on 7 Aug 2012
While some sailing boats are equipped with the latest of everything that money can buy, there are many of us who simply can't afford every gizmo ever made - no matter how good they are. If you are mostly in enclosed waters and only sail in the ocean once a year, can you really afford personal locator beacons for all the crew? If you live in America, there's a solution - which others could follow...
Heading out - if you only sail away from safe waters once a year can you really afford a lot of expensive equipment? .. .
When your safety measures need to be upped, and the best way to do that is to have a GPS-enabled Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) aboard the boat, and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) attached to crewmembers. These can both instantly summon help and provide rescuers with precise location information.
To help fill the temporary need for onboard safety, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water now rents both GPS enabled EPIRBs for only $65 per week and PLBs for $45 a week (+ shipping). A new online ordering system at www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb makes reserving a beacon easy.
EPIRBs are great for voyages where traditional communications are spotty. Once activated, either manually or automatically by submersion in water, the Foundation's McMurdo Cat II 406 MHz GPS-enabled EPIRBs broadcast a repeating SOS signal with integrated GPS location from virtually any point on earth. The signal is received by COSPAS/SARSAT satellites which identify the beacon's position within a few hundred yards in mere minutes.
Search and rescue personnel then contact BoatUS for critical renter information and notify the appropriate rescue agency to respond. Once activated, they are effective for 48 hours of continuous operation.
The Foundation's ACR ResQLink 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacons are like small EPIRBs, except that the PLBs can only be activated manually and are secured to the individual crewmember - not the boat.
They use the same satellites and send an SOS signal with GPS position to summon help. However, with smaller batteries, PLBs are effective for only 24 hours of continuous operation once activated.
PLBs make a great addition to a rented EPIRB, providing ultimate peace of mind when it comes to your crew, especially when on deck, on the night watch, or solo cruising. They are also suitable for small craft, like paddle sports and personal watercraft, making outback voyages to remote locations.
'Personal Locator Beacons are lightweight, compact and easy-to-use, and if your budget is tight, you can't beat our rental cost,' said BoatUS Foundation Assistant Director of Boating Safety Ted Sensenbrenner. For more information go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb.
About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation.
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