Strategies for a Safer Boating Season from Ocean Signal

As more and more people escape from lockdown to get out of quarantine and onto the water, safety specialist Ocean Signal is reminding boaters during National Safe Boating Week to make sure their vessels are equipped with a properly registered Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) for crew.

Ocean Signal is highlighting that far too few boats are equipped with an EPIRB, although it is precisely what every vessel should have onboard. EPIRBs ensure maximum chance of survival in an emergency when installed on the boat, communicating the location of a survivor to search and rescue services via the 406MHz Cospas-Sarsat satellite system when activated.

A PLB is very similar to an EPIRB, but they are designed to be worn by the crew or stowed away inside a lifejacket. These GPS locator beacons will pin-point the survivor’s location directly to search and rescue anywhere in the world in just a few minutes.

Ocean Signal Managing Director James Hewitt said: “When it comes to boating safety, many people decide to only outfit their boats with required safety gear in order to be compliant and avoid receiving a fine from Coast Guard. While most required safety gear like marine flares is essential, this mandated marine safety equipment is mainly to enable leisure vessels to let nearby boats know you need help. The products are not designed to alert others far away that you are in an emergency. What boaters really need is technology that can quickly and easily alert search and rescue agencies around the world that they are in an emergency situation and need immediate help.”

During National Safe Boating Week, Ocean Signal advises all boaters to check all their safety gear and make sure it is in proper working order before setting sail. For those with an EPIRB or PLB, now is a good time to perform a self-test, update the beacon’s registration and check the battery expiration date. Finally, always make sure to show crew where all the safety gear on the boat is located, how and when to use it, and practice some basic abandon ship safety drills to ensure a safer boating season.

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