The RYA, RNLI, British Marine and Ocean Safety were on hand yesterday to raise awareness about Personal Locator (PLB) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio (EPIRB) beacons

The RYA, RNLI, British Marine and Ocean Safety joined beacon manufacturers ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal to raise awareness about life-saving 406 MHz technology in the very first 406Day, yesterday (Monday 4 June).

406Day has been created to educate boaters about PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and to remind them and teach them how to register and use the technology appropriately.

The day, 4 June 2018,  has also been organised to celebrate the 41,000 lives saved by using 406 MHz beacons and the COSPAS-SARSAT Satellite system.

Beacons operate on the 406 MHz frequency. Each 406 MHz beacon transmits a unique digital code that identifies the type of beacon and allows the registered data to be associated with it.
The data provides invaluable information in cases of emergency such as the beacon owner, the type of vessel and emergency points of contact. When using the next-gen MEOSAR (Medium-Earth Orbit Search and Rescue) network, anyone activating a GPS-enabled EPIRB or PLB can expect their beacon to be located within 100 metres (328 feet), 95% of the time, within 5 minutes of the distress signal.

The RYA was on hand to give advice on how to use the technology, as well as giving a chance to win an Ocean Signal rescueME EPIRB1 in a 24-hour social media competition. Its Cruising Manager, Stuart Carruthers, said: “Put quite simply an EPIRB could mean the difference between surviving an incident at sea and losing your life. This could be because you are in a communications “hole” or because your boat has lost its VHF communications; you don’t necessarily need to be hundreds of miles off shore and miles away from other vessels to be thankful of an EPIRB, or PLB.”

The RNLI were on their stand at the Volvo Ocean Race Village in Cardiff yesterday to raise awareness about the PLB and EPIRB whilst British Marine ran a prize draw to win an Ocean Signal rescueME EPIRB1.

Ocean Safety were offering visitors at their Southampton branch a free EPIRB/PLB clinic, including EPIRB checks, battery replacements and tests, helping to fit PLBs to lifejackets, helping with registration and with any questions about beacon ownership.

406Day is planned to be an annual occurrence.