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Primary use: emergency device (GMDSS) or
tracking/texting device (SEND)?
Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are small radio transmitters,
connected to a global government-run emergency network
(Cospas-Sarsat), which is used worldwide to alert Search and
Rescue agencies in the event of a dire emergency.
Personal AIS Beacons (PABs) are devices that are used to no-
tify other boats in a four nautical mile radius of an emergency
Man Overboard situation. Used only when all other means of
rescue or communication have failed, these emergency bea-
cons can be activated if your boat is in danger of sinking, or
if you have a life-threatening accident or medical emergency.
Do you want an EPIRB, a PLB or a PAB?
406 MHz EPIRBs
are linked to a specific vessel, allowing rescue agencies
to look up your emergency information in a database (including name, phone
number, vessel type, emergency contact, etc.). When your EPIRB transmits,
rescuers know who you are and can phone your emergency contacts to verify
your itinerary. Your position is pinpointed to less than a 2-nm radius.
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs):
EPIRBS are intended strictly for marine use,
but PLBs, their smaller cousins, can be carried with you just about anywhere. They
provide the same worldwide coverage as EPIRBs, and can rescue hikers, kayak-
ers, backpackers, climbers, pilots, river rafters and hunters (among others), as well
as boaters. Their battery life (24 hours) is often half that of an EPIRB. PLBs are not
required to float or have a strobe light (but most do), and are manually deployed and
activated. Like 406 MHz EPIRBs, PLBs have an additional 121.5MHz homing signal
to help planes, helicopters and other rescuers find you. We believe, as do the safety
experts, that EPIRBs are for your boat, and a PLB is a "personal" beacon. A PLB is
great insurance while exploring away from the mothership in your dinghy, and is a
less-bulky EPIRB alternative for any small boat.
Personal AIS Beacons (PAB):
These new devices gained FCC approval for use
in the U.S. in April, 2012. Personal AIS Beacons are intended to be attached to
your life vest and activated if you go overboard or encounter some other emer-
gency while you're in a dinghy. They use both GPS and AIS (Automatic Identi-
fication System) technology to send structured alert messages containing your
precise location information to any AIS receiver onboard your vessel and to other
AIS-equipped boats or ships that happen to be within a typical four-mile radius.
In a crew overboard situation, chances of finding and recovering the casualty are
greatly increased, thanks to information given by the PAB, which for the first time
shows bearing and distance to the person in the water.
Do you want a beacon that deploys automatically?
Category I and II:
By rule, all EPIRBs must be able to activate and transmit when
they are removed from their brackets and immersed. Category I brackets will
automatically deploy the beacon when submerged between 3' and 14', while
Category II brackets need to have the beacon released manually. Both types
can be manually activated either in or out of their brackets.
Do you want a beacon with a built-in GPS?
Three types of EPIRBs transmit GPS coordinates to pin-
point your location and reduce the time required for rescue. Some units can interface
with an external GPS. Other EPIRBs contain their own receiver
and keep transmitting while the EPIRB is operating, without re-
maining connected to an external GPS. Like other GPS receivers,
their position accuracy is 100yd. (instead of 2nm without GPS).
The GlobalFix iPRO combines features of both receiver types.
Do you want a beacon that has a
A built-in LCD display gives useful info, including self-test re-
sults, remaining battery power, operating instructions, trans-
mission bursts and your LAT/LON position. The AquaLink
View PLB and GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB are the only beacons
with this feature.
Selecting an Emergency Beacon
AISLink Personal AIS Beacon
The AISLink is a personal man overboard beacon
designed to alert local vessels of your distress
emergency. Small and compact, AISLink can be clipped
to your clothing, or you can store it inside your life jacket
using the oral inflation tube attachment. Unlike a Personal
Locator Beacon that sends an alert to satellites, the
AISLink sends an AIS message-including a structured
alert message-with your precise location, distance
and bearing to all AIS receivers and AIS-enabled chart
plotters within a four nautical mile radius. Equipped with
an LED strobe light for low visibility rescues, AISLink
will begin transmitting your distress within 10 seconds
of activation and will transmit for 48 hours continuously.
Rated IP68 waterproof.
Personal AIS Beacon
Manual or water activated
Four nautical miles (typical)
AIS channel 1 - 161.975MHz; AIS channel 2
48hrs. continuous use/5-year battery storage life
Flashing white LED
x 2" x 1 5/8"
ACR# 2886 ShWt 1
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