The device the Coast Guard recommends that helped save a shrimp boat taking on water

October 18th 2022


MOBILE, Ala (WPMI) — The U.S. Coast Guard says a shrimp boat 50 miles offshore from Pascagoula was taking on water early Sunday morning, and crews knew exactly where the 75-foot vessel was thanks to the EPIRB or emergency position-indicating radio beacon that was on board when the mayday call went out.

“What they do is they send a GPS coded signal to a satellite. And a satellite in turn basically sends the information back to our command center here at our district office,” said Coast Guard Recreational Boating Safety Program Specialist

Paul Barnard.

“Should all boaters have these if they’re going to go offshore?” asked NBC 15’s Andrea Ramey.

“They’re a good idea. It should be considered a layer of communication, and we encourage boaters to operate with layers of safety,” replied Barnard.

Barnard says boats should have a VHF radio, but you can start losing your radio range the further you go out and an EPIRB or PLB, personal locator beacon, helps find you in an emergency. Barnard says do not rely on cell phones offshore. Because of the EPIRB, the Coast Guard says aircrews arrived on scene Sunday and deployed dewatering pumps so the shrimp boat could safely return to Bayou La Batre.

“I’m a boater this (PLB) goes with me when I take my kayak to some of the remote reaches of a Louisiana Marsh,” said Barnard. “Most boaters that go on an offshore fishing trip will burn more on gas in a single trip than what these devices cost. They start at about $300.”

Barnard encourages boaters to follow this Facebook group to learn more about boating safety:

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