It is Fall and for many of us we really appreciate the off-season boating. This season typically means that boaters encounter fewer boats and that the water and weather is subject to frequent changing conditions. Kirk Scarborough of the Coast Guard Auxiliary reminds boaters, “don’t be a boating casualty on the water. Follow these simple rules to have a safe and enjoyable day.”
- Check the weather before heading out on the water
- Monitor the weather continuously with a Marine Radio
- It is recommended that every one wear an approved PFD, but at a minimum, PFD’s should be readily available.
- Know about the boat you are on; especially true for those renting or borrowing a boat.
- More than one person (the skipper) should know the location of all Safety Gear, including the VHF Radio.
- Do not rely on cell phones as a primary means of communication. Contacting someone on a cell phone precludes aid from a local Good Samaritan.
- The best way to get help is through a Marine Radio.
- File a Float Plan with someone who knows where you are going and when you are expected to return. USCG Auxiliary Float Plan in a printable PDF form that you can save to your computer.
- Receive a free Vessel Safety Check from the USCG Auxiliary.
- Take a safe boating class in the state you are in.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is a uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard created by an Act of Congress in 1939. The Auxiliary, America’s Volunteer Guardians, supports the Coast Guard in nearly all of the service’s missions.
March 2, 2009
Go2marine carries GME EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons), which are designed to transmit an internationally recognized digital 406 MHZ distress signalwhen activated. They are designed to communicate to rescue services such as the Coast Guard, when nothing else will work. Rescue Beacons have a self sufficient power source that is able to function in the most rugged conditions for a minumum of 48 hours (Epirb) or 24 hours (PLB). Uniquely, EPIRBs and PLBs may be used anywhere on earth, but, they are typically designated in their use in certain environments.
The functional differences between each of the the rescue beacons, EPIRB and PLB:
- EPIRBs tend to be larger (due to larger battery) and are used in the marine environment only. They come with a leash to tie them to a raft of vessel. They are waterproof and float. EPIRBs are typically assigned to a vessel.
- PLBs are smaller, used on land (or water), battery life is not as long as an EPIRB. GME PLBs are waterproof and float. PLBs are intended for personal use, away from normal emergency services.
Additionally, all GME EPIRBs or PLBs are offered in versions that come with or without GPS to augment the satellite fix. The addition of GPS to any of these emergency beacons will increase location accuracy while reducing wait time for rescue.
GME AccuSat EPIRBs
AccuSat is made in 4 variations of a well designed EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons). All EPIRBS include a self testing facility allows the beacons functionality to be tested without fear of accidentally transmitting a distress signal. Additionally, the test actually measures the transmitters power output, not just the battery condition. The AccuSat Class 2 EPIRB is available in two deployment styles; manual release or automatic hydrostatic release.
All GME EPIRBs have the following features:
- Completely waterproof.
- Fitted with long life batteries capable of retaining up to 90% of their original Amp Hour capacity after 10 years.
- Safety seal which serves to indicate that the beacon has never been turned on and the batteries have not been used.
- Extended GME warranty, 6 years on the battery and unit.
- GME Electrophone has full service and maintenance facilities to maintain your beacon and provide recertification where required.
GME AccuSat 406 PLBs
The MT410 GME AccuSat PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is the smallest & lightest PLB rescue beacon currently made. Additionally, the MT410 offers the industries longest warranties; a 7 year battery replacement life and a 7 year operational warranty. Design features such as a ‘Non Hazmat’ battery pack for simple and cost effective transportation as well as a high intensity flashing LED all contribute to this quality safety equipment.
All GME PLBs have the following features
- Digital 406 MHz, 5 Watt transmission plus 121.5 MHz homing signal
- COSPAS-SARSAT worldwide operation
- High visibility flashing light Retention strap and fully buoyant design
- Complete with protective carry pouch
GME has been designing and manufacturing rescue beacons for over 30 years in Australia for boaters, bush walkers, 4 x 4 enthusiasts and aviators should they ever require emergency assistance.
ALL GME rescue beacon EPIRBs and PLBs can be user tested once a year without impacting battery life.
January 22, 2009
From the USCG Internet Notice,
The USCG and NOAA have issued a notice that 121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons will no longer be monitored by satellite after February 1, 2009. This is an international agreement that 406 will be the only recognized satellite emergency signal.
NOTE – – Pilots are reminded and encouraged to monitor 121.5 MHz from their cockpit to listen for other aircraft that may be in distress.
406 EPIRB Frequencies will continue as the primary satellite rescue frequency. Please ensure that you are indeed using a 406 EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacons).
Go2marine only carries 406.037 MHz, EPIRBs and PLBs from recognized manufactures such as ACR, Mcmurdo and Spot, that are approved by COSPAS-SARSAT, R&TTE, or the FCC. Go2marine also sells EPIRBs that are certified to pass the country of origin for any international vessel.
COSPAS-SARSAT rescue information
Number of Persons Rescued in 2009 (As of January 15) in the United States: 6
Rescues at sea: 3 people rescued in 2 incidents
Aviation rescues: 1 person rescued in 1 incident
PLB rescues: 2 people rescued in 2 incidents
Number of Persons Rescued in 2008 in the United States: 283
Rescues at sea: 203 people rescued in 65 incidents
Aviation rescues: 12 people rescued in 7 incidents
PLB rescues: 68 people rescued in 35 incidents
United States Number of Persons Rescued – 6,045 People Rescued (since 1982)
Worldwide Number of Persons Rescued – Over 24,500+ People Rescued (since 1982)
406 MHz EPIRBs
The 406 MHz EPIRB was designed to operate with satellites. The signal frequency (406 MHz) has been designated internationally for use only for distress. Other communications and interference, such as on 121.5 MHz, is not allowed on this frequency. Its signal allows a satellite local user terminal to accurately locate the EPIRB (much more accurately — 2 to 5 km vice 25 km — than 121.5/243 MHz devices), and identify the vessel (the signal is encoded with the vessel’s identity) anywhere in the world (there is no range limitation). These devices are detectable not only by COSPAS-SARSAT satellites which are polar orbiting, but also by geostationary GOES weather satellites. EPIRBs detected by the GEOSTAR system, consisting of GOES and other geostationary satellites, send rescue authorities an instant alert, but without location information unless the EPIRB is equipped with an integral GPS receiver. EPIRBs detected by COSPAS-SARSAT (e.g. TIROS N) satellites provide rescue authorities location of distress, but location and sometimes alerting may be delayed as much as an hour or two. These EPIRBs also include a 121.5 MHz homing signal, allowing aircraft and rescue craft to quickly find the vessel in distress. These are the only type of EPIRB which must be certified by Coast Guard approved independent laboratories before they can be sold in the United States.
A new type of 406 MHz EPIRB, having an integral GPS navigation receiver, became available in 1998. This EPIRB will send accurate location as well as identification information to rescue authorities immediately upon activation through both geostationary (GEOSAR) and polar orbiting satellites. These types of EPIRB are the best you can buy.
406 MHz emergency locating transmitters (ELTs) for aircraft are currently available. 406 MHz personnel locating beacons (PLBs) are available.
The Coast Guard recommends you purchase a 406 MHz EPIRB, preferably one with an integral GPS navigation receiver. A Cat I EPIRB should be purchased if it can be installed properly.
406 MHz GEOSAR System
The major advantage of the 406 MHz low earth orbit system is the provision of global Earth coverage using a limited number of polar-orbiting satellite. Coverage is not continuous, however, and it may take up to a couple of hours for an EPIRB alert to be received. To overcome this limitation, COSPAS-SARSAT has 406 MHz EPIRB repeaters aboard three geostationary satellites, plus one spare: GOES-W, at 135 deg W; GOES-E, at 75 deg W; INSAT-2A, at 74 deg E; and INSAT-2B (in-orbit spare), at 93.5 deg E. Ground stations capable of receiving 406 MHz. Except for areas between the United Kingdom and Norway, south of the east coast of Australia, and the area surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk near Russia, as well as polar areas, GEOSAR provides continuous global coverage of distress alerts from 406 MHz EPIRBs.
Note that GEOSAR cannot detect 121.5 MHz alerts, nor can it route unregistered 406 MHz alerts to a rescue authority. GEOSAR cannot calculate the location of any alert it receives, unless the beacon has an integral GPS receiver.
The COSPAS-SARSAT System
COSPAS-SARSAT is an international satellite-based search and rescue system established by the U.S., Russia, Canada and France to locate emergency radio beacons transmitting on the frequencies 121.5, 243 and 406 MHZ.
Space System for Search of Distress Vessels (a Russian acronym)
Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking
September 17, 2008
Go2marine carries products that are purchased and used by the USCG, the United States military, the Canadian, British and Mexican Governments as well as rescue services in many other countries.
The USCG 47′ Textron MLB
The United States Coast Guard Motor Life Boat (MLB) built by Textron is capable of self righting in less than 10 seconds and withstanding winds of 60 knots and 20′ breaking surf. The USCG 47′ MLB has military application as well as being manufactured for rescue services in foreign countries. The products that go into building one of the most rugged rescue boats ever conceived come from a number of sources;
Balmar manufactures marine charging systems fitted to the MLB’s, constructed as a lightweight generator for the US Marine Corp and the Canadian Department of Defense. Balmar’s unique alternators, regulators and charge regulators capable of multiple engines and multiple batteries are built for use in cruising power and sailboats as well as work vessels. As an industry leader, Balmar is creating marine worthy high output alternators, intelligent voltage regulation and temperature monitors to meet the charging needs of boats with newer battery types and increased electrical demands.
Baier Hatches exceed the demands of the USCG 47′ MLB which is certified to withstand vessel impacts of three times the acceleration of gravity. From the USCG to Research and Work vessels, Baier manufactures aluminum and steel hatches to meet rigorous off shore marine duty. There are only 2 moving parts when securing the hatch to the deck ring of the Baier patented strong-back system. All Baier hatches have been approved by the US Coast Guard, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Canadian Department of Transportation.
When Textron builds the 47′ USCG motor life boat, they want shaft seals that can stand up to 30′ following seas in a 40,000 pound boat powered by Two 435 Hp Detroit Diesels. The PYI shaft seals stand up to punishing conditions, are dripless and require reduced maintenance while serving a hard, long service life. PYI PSS shaft seals are built to fit most mariners needs, from 3/4″ to 6″ shaft sizes, with metric shafts also, from 22-95 mm with custom sizes to 140mm.
Stearns Industrial safety and survival equipment includes USCG and Law enforcement marked floatation equipment and suits. From Commercial Type 1 vest’s (PFD’s) to Rescue Suits, Immersion Suits and Flotation Jackets, Stearns provides quality USCG approved safety equipment for working and survival in harsh conditions. Whether you are a fisherman, kayaker, sailor, boater – out on the water for play or work, Stearns manufactures equipment for your safety in the marine environment.
Go2marine is proud to carry these products and supports both recreational boaters and professional mariners. Go2marine’s products and information are featured on National Fisherman and the Go2marine Boaters Community.