Hopefully you won't be needing this!

Starting off on this topic my first response is to encourage you no matter what you select, be prepared in every measure of the word for your chosen pursuit. Do not expect a PLRB, SPOT or EPIRB to save your day. It's great insurance 'in case of', but do not forget contributing factors!

Location, your physical and cognitive capbilities, multi tasking capabilty in a crisis, damage, breakeage or loss of a unit, dead battery or higher level/mass SAR's conducted in your zone for overlap high priority status. You have to prepare yourself to take care of your situation. So, now it's time for us to enter into our discovery phase.

If you are out and about, it's a no-brainer with technology today, you need some way to notify or alert others in case of an emergency. Let's dig into this and look at the new gear, discussion and arguments about which product is 'best' for you!

GMDSS the Global Maritime Distress and safety system was developed in 1999. With this came EPIRBS and PLBs, which in an emergency, send coded signals to the COPAS-SARSAT satellite network. From here the signal is relayed to a ground station.

The emergency locator transmitters use 406Mhz signals so look for that notation when buying EPIRBs and PLBs . Since Feb. 1st 2009 the 121.5Mhz devices will no longer be active

This does not include SPOT which is a private enterprise, a division of Globalstar. SPOT uses a different call center.

It is important to register the device you select as the next step after the signal is received by the ground station, is to contact your emergency contact to determine if this is a real emergency or a false alarm. You emergency contact say give your trip plan which will help the SAR (search and rescue) authority.

None of these products are any good if they are not used. Put some thought into where you will secure these. Do you have a good enough lifejacket and tether system?

Try renting them before purchase. Check out PLB rentals:


Fast Find by McMurdo 210 PLB

The FASTFIND PLB is the most compact, waterproof and versatile 406 MHz emergency location beacon available on the market today. It fits easily into backpacks, on life jackets… put it just about anywhere, and get found anywhere in the world. No subscription fees are required.

Key Features:
• Weighs just 5.3 oz.
• As small as an average mobile phone
• No subscription fees required
• Built-in GPS
• Weighs just 5.3 oz./150g
• Unique flashing SOS feature
• Built-in operational indicator lights
• Global alert to Cospas-Sarsat satellites
• 406MHz transmitter
• Frequency: 406.037MHz
• 121.5MHz homing frequency
• Positional accuracy to within 10 feet
• Minimum 24-hour transmit time
• Powerful 5 watt output
• Waterproof to 32 feet/10m
• Complete with lanyard
• 5-year battery life
• Auxiliary flotation pouch available soon (Fastfind will not float on its own)

To Purchase the Fastfind 210 follow this link:


SAR- Search and Rescue

EPIRB- Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon

USCG - United States Coast Guard

PLB- Personal Locator Beacon (ideal for personal watercraft)

SPOT-Globalstar network personal tracker. Do not connc you o SAR but to their Alliance center. Pushing the 911 button sends a signal o their GEOS call center. They have parntered wiht BoatU.S. Towing


ACR: new PLB & Iridium partnership(s)

I think ACR has really advanced PLB technology in recent years, what with its AquaLink View and 406Link testing/messaging service.

But up until now it didn't have a competitive response to McMurdo's extra small and extra inexpensive Fast Find 210. Well, hello ResQLink, which now lays claim to "world's smallest PLB" along with a few features that may demand a response from McMurdo.

ResQLink has an antenna that the user can repack, for instance, which is one reason why it can do a full through-satellite test (with GPS) using the 406Link service. Doug Ritter put up an early and thorough ResQLink/Fast Find comparison here -- and note that the FCC disclaimer still applies, probably until late February -- but do come back to hear about what ACR is up to with Iridium...

Read their article:



To continue reading the article please visit: http://k38watersafety.com/forum/show...=6501#post6501