Best EPIRBs and Personal Safety Devices
Every year, the people at nmeaboater.com (the National Marine Electronics Association), ask manufacturers to name a model in a particular category that they consider their best. It’s not necessarily the most technically advanced, or the newest, or the one with the most bells and whistles, but rather the one they rate highest in that category for one reason or another. Here’s the list for boating safety and survival devices – three personal survival devices and two EPIRBs. Take a look:
Personal Survival Device
Introducing two-way confirmation between a 406MHz beacon owner and search and rescue authorities, the ResQLink View RLS Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) incorporates the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Return Link alerting technology. The device is the world’s first PLB with the capability to provide the user with a clear confirmation message via a digital display screen, verifying that the international satellite system Cospas-Sarsat has received their distress message and location. The digital display shows all the beacon’s operational activities, including live status, GPS coordinates, operating instructions, usage tips, transmissions bursts and battery power. A multiconstellation GNSS receiver downloads location faster using both the GPS and Galileo satellites. The PLB offers a host of features and functions and provides vital reassurance in a life-threatening emergency.
The award-winning Ocean Signal rescueME MOB1 is the smallest AIS (Automatic Identification System) man overboard (MOB) device with integrated DSC (Digital Selective Calling) and provides the best chance of rapid rescue by alerting crew when someone falls overboard. The device easily integrates into life jackets and is automatically triggered the moment the life jacket is inflated, sending the first alert within 15 seconds. Once activated, the MOB1 transmits an alert to all AIS receivers and AIS-enabled plotters within about five miles, plus it will also activate the DSC alarm on the vessel’s VHF radio to alert crew. With an integrated strobe light to ensure the survivor is easily spotted, the MOB1’s 66-channel GPS provides accurate position data of a person in the water for at least 24 hours.
The Galaxy INFL8-5 by Shakespeare is an inflatable antenna that can be rapidly deployed via CO2 cartridge or manual tube and inflates to 5 feet (1.6m). It offers the performance of a full 3dB antenna with a range of up to three times greater than any existing helical emergency antenna. Thanks to its inflatable design, the INFL8-5 antenna can be deflated and stowed away safely in its easy-to-spot storage bag and is the perfect addition to provide a backup antenna and/or for any ditch bag when communication could make all the difference.
The award-winning GlobalFIX V4 is available in both Category 1 auto-deploy (GMDSS) and Category 2 manual brackets. Designed to incorporate the latest in marine lifesaving technology, the GlobalFix V4 uses its high-efficiency electronics to directly send a survivor’s distress alert to search and rescue around the world. Features include a user-replaceable battery pack, which has a 10-year replacement interval, reducing the overall ownership cost. It also has an energy-efficient, four LED array strobe light and a wrist strap for hands-free carrying in an emergency evacuation. Manual activation of the EPIRB is simple and there is a protective keypad cover to help prevent false alarms. The GlobalFIX V4 has two functional self-tests to monitor the beacon’s transmission, power and battery performance and GPS acquisition.
Providing an essential link to emergency services for recreational and commercial vessels, the EPIRB1 Pro is an exceptionally compact Category 1 (auto-deploy) EPIRB with a 30% reduction in size compared to other EPIRBs. Featuring a 10-year battery life, the affordable EPIRB1 Pro complies with IMO (International Maritime Organization) regulations that require an automatic release housing to be provided for mandatory-fitted EPIRBs. The Ocean Signal EPIRB is designed to release automatically from the supplied Category 1 auto deploy bracket once submerged in water and float free from a sinking vessel. It communicates the location of survivors to search and rescue services in three ways: the designated 406MHz Cospas-Sarsat satellite system with position provided by an integrated GPS receiver, a 121.5MHz homing beacon, and a high-brightness LED strobe light.