Coast Guard responds to false alarm sent by expired beacon in Rhode Island

This photo illustration represents how important it is to carry an emergency position indicating radio beacon on board your boat. Pictured are: Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Yaw and Petty Officers 3rd Class Rashad Lockhart and Dustin Brown. (Photo and photo illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin)

This photo illustration represents how important it is to carry an emergency position indicating radio beacon on board your boat.(Photo and photo illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin)

BOSTON – The Coast Guard and partner agencies searched Mt. Hope Bay in Rhode Island Sunday, after receiving a distress signal from an improperly disposed of Electronic Position-Indicating Radio Beacon.

At approximately 12:40 p.m. watchstanders at the First Coast Guard District command center received a transmission from an EPIRB indicating a boat was in distress.

An MH-60 Jayhawk crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and a 45-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Castle Hill launched to locate the vessel.

The Rhode Island State Task Force also launched to search the area.

At approximately 2:50 p.m. the command center was able to determine that the signal was coming from an improperly disposed of EPIRB that was accidentally dropped while being handled.

“EPIRBs are vital life saving equipment, but when they are not properly maintained, false distress is signaled and unnecessary searches are conducted,” said Lt. John Mansolillo, command duty officer at the First Coast Guard District command center.  “Batteries must be removed from EPIRBs when they are decommissioned.”

He said EPIRB registrations need to be updated every two years and when transferred to a new owner or taken out of service.

EPIRBs can be registered for free at NOAA’s Beacon Registration website.

For more detailed information about EPIRBs click here: Coast Guard stresses importance of carrying life-saving emergency distress equipment

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