Coast Guard signals boaters to prepare for emergencies

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard is reminding boaters everywhere of the importance of having the proper safety gear aboard while boating; especially of having an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB.)

An EPIRB is a device that emits a radio signal upon activation that can greatly aid the Coast Guard and other rescuers in locating boaters in the event of an emergency. The devices are required for commercial vessels of all types and are recommended for recreational vessels. Various types of EPIRBs can be purchased at boating supply stores or online for prices ranging from $200-1500.

The Coast Guard responded to two cases this weekend where the use of EPIRBs allowed for the timely rescues of seven people. In both cases, the devices were activated and Coast Guard members were able to locate and rescue the boaters within one hour. Details from those cases can be found at the following links:

Case 1

Case 2

Beacon owners are required by law to register their 406 mhz beacons in the national database operated by NOAA or by calling 1-888-212-SAVE. Registration information includes owner contact information, emergency contact information, and characteristics of the boat or aircraft. If a beacon is other than U.S. coded, owners should register their beacons in their country’s database or the international beacon registration database . Beacon owners must update their information every two years or whenever it changes.

More information about EPIRBs can be found at
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/gmdss/epirb.htm.

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