Features April 2010 Issue

What is the Best Backup for a 406 EPIRB?

Having a PLB, satellite tracker, or SAT phone for distress signaling is a good idea, but an EPIRB is a must-have for the cruising sailboat.

Maritime search and rescue missions prompted by distress alerts from emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) have topped 6,000, and that number continues to grow. Although Practical Sailor recommends having a GPS-equipped 406-MHz EPIRB (GPIRB) on board, two means of satellite signaling for help is definitely better than one, and a few hundred dollars invested in a secondary tracker or beacon is worth it. In this article, we examine supplemental emergency signaling and tracking devices, including government-supported systems such as the ACR AquaLink Personal Locator Beacon, and private-network systems such as SAT phones and The Spot Messenger.

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