EPIRBs and PLBs
EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) are tracking transmitters which aid in the detection and location of boats, aircraft, and people in distress. A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is one type of EPIRB that is typically smaller, has a shorter battery life and is registered to a person rather than a vessel. PLBs are usually attached to a person whereas an regular EPIRB is usually attached to a vessel. EPIRB transmissions are monitored by the international organization COSPAS-SARSAT using a constellation of satellites. On receipt of an alert from an EPIRB, the identity of the beacon is passed to the relevant national rescue coordination centre.
All EPIRBs are required to be registered in Canada (at no cost) with the Canadian Beacon Registry
(CBR). For more information please refer to their website www.cbr-rcb.ca
The Beacon Registry provides location data to the Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities. All EPIRBs and PLBs sold on Binnacle.com are programmed for Canada so you can register them with the CBR. It is as simple as completing the form that comes with the EPIRB and mailing it into the CBR.
The 406 MHz beacons can be used anywhere in the world. They just require a clear view to the sky.
What is the difference between a Category I (Cat I) and a Category II (Cat II) EPIRB?
The only difference is regarding how the EPIRB is deployed. A Cat I EPIRB deploys automatically when a vessel sinks. The beacon floats free at a depth of 5 to 13ft. The EPIRB can be manually activated while in its bracket or manually removed and activated.
A Cat II EPIRB is deployed manually. The EPIRB will automatically activate when removed from its bracket and comes in contact with water, or when it is still in its bracket but a person has lifted the switch to the activation position.
If you accidentally activate the EPIRB, don't panic, as long as it was a genuine mistake and not deliberate you have nothing to worry about, however you must turn off your Beacon and contact the emergency services as quickly as possible to let them know your transmissions are a False Alert.
Binnacle.com has a wide selection of EPIRBs and PLBs from these trusted manufacturers. Whether you are a recreational boater or a commercial fisherman we have a unit to serve your needs. The Ocean Signal RescueME PLB1 is the worlds smallest PLB which fits easily into a life jacket, has 24+ hour operational life and a 7 year battery life and warranty. On the other end of the spectrum is the ACR Global Fix iPro which is also the first EPIRB that offers Dual GPS Technology. Interface your iPRO to your onboard GPS to ensure that your LAT/LON is stored inside so the coordinates are transmitted in the first data burst. iPRO's internal GPS is optimized for cold starts and is tested and refined at ACR's GPS Simulation Center so that it will pinpoint your exact location faster than standard GPS enabled EPIRBs.
Two of the most popular brands of EPIRB are ACR Electronics of the USA and Ocean Signal of Great Britain.