Firstly, let’s explain what EPIRB’s and PLB’s are. EPIRB stands for “Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon”, meaning it is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency. This is done by the device transmitting a message to a satellite that then relays that information to the closest rescue co-ordination centre. PLB stands for “Personal Locator Beacon”, which is a personal electronic transmitter that sends out a signal to search and rescue operators in an event of an emergency.
There are a range of different EPIRB’s and PLB’s, and we’ll start with the Ocean Signal rescueME EPIRB1, which provides peace of mind with a lengthy 10 year battery life, so you rarely have to check it’s still working. It’s one of the most compact EPIRB’s on the market and its small size allows it to be placed within an emergency grab-bag or life raft. The device includes a protective tab over the operating keys to prevent accidental activation, but also can be easily activated when necessary. The rescueME EPIRB1 also contains two bright strobe lights to maximise visibility in low light. This device would be perfect for people that are within the category 6 – category 3 areas outlined by the MCA.
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, the Ocean Signal rescueME MOB1 might be what you’re looking for. This automatic identification system includes an integrated digital selective calling transmitter, which is intended to be installed within your lifejacket , with the device activating automatically on inflation, with the first alert being sent within 15 seconds, with a strobe light to maximise visibility similar to the rescueME EPIRB. The MOB1 works by alerting the vessel you have been separated from and other vessels within a 5-mile range.
The final device within the rescueME range is the Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1, which again transmits your position and your ID to a rescue coordination centre via satellite link. This PLB can be operated with a single hand even in the most challenging situations. It is also the perfect size to fit in a lifejacket, with a bright strobe light, and 66 channel GPS receiver.