It’s 406 EPIRB Day!

6 Apr

Epirb
After my post about EPIRB registration I got a very nice note from NOAA announcing that it’s #406DAY18 (that’s the Twitter moniker).

I had no idea, but it turns out false alarms are an epidemic:

“Last year we had over 5,000 false alerts from EPIRBs in the United States. The majority of those were from people conducting self tests of their beacons incorrectly. Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel begin responding immediately to every activation of a 406 MHz SARSAT beacon. That response will only stop when it has been proven that the activation was a false alert. The simplest and quickest way for SAR forces to confirm a false alert and confirm that someone is not in distress is to talk via phone to the person who accidentally set off the EPIRB. They do this using the information provided by the beacon owner in the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database system.”

Needless to say, if the primary phone number connected to your EPIRB is accurate, false alerts can be resolved quickly. If the number rings to your part time job from last summer at the pork packing plant, confusion and waste of taxpayer money ensues.

This amazing, space age technology provides us with a terrific, efficient, and FREE service that could save our lives. Let’s not screw it up, people!

Read on:

“Beacon registration is free, easy, and is required by law! Federal law requires that all emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs), personal locator beacons (PLBs), and emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) be registered in the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database. This system is free to all owners of EPIRBs, PLBs and ELTs. When beacon user/vessel or aircraft owner information changes, it should be updated online at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov or by contacting the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database at 1-888-212-SAVE (7283). This information is protected and only available to authorized rescue personnel if a distress activation occurs.

Beacon registration is valid for two years; owners are required to validate their beacon information every two years to ensure currency of their contact information. Up-to-date beacon owner information allows for the most efficient use of SAR resources upon beacon activation and can decrease rescue response time during distress situations.

If your EPIRB or PLB is accidentally activated, contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 1-855-406-USCG (8724) and provide them with the beacon’s ID to cancel the false alert. If your ELT or PLB is accidentally activated, contact the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at 1-800-851-3051 and provide them with the beacon’s ID to cancel the false alert. Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel begin responding immediately to every activation of a 406 MHz SARSAT beacon. That response will only stop if it has been proven that the activation was not a distress alert. Every false alert has the potential to put rescuers in harm’s way and waste limited Search and Rescue resources. Cancellation of false alerts helps protect SAR personnel who would be activated during an actual emergency, and ensure valuable resources are available to respond to actual distress cases.”

This article was syndicated from The Adventures of the Vessel Condesa

Comments

  1. First Last

    So far, the suggested alternatives to cancel a false activation are rather tenuous in the absence of telephony. Perhaps a built in switch can be activate that cancels the false activation, of course, if the EPIRB is available. An EPIRB that accidentally goes overboard and is hydrostatically activated would need those creative measures to halt SAR activities

  2. Clark Beek

    Here’s what NOAA says about false alarms when there’s no phone service:

    “If you are in the middle of the ocean and you accidentally set off your beacon you can be creative to cancel the false activation (MF/HF, Securite call on VHF to other boats that may have a sat phone to call the appropriate SAR authority) but know that until they know it’s a false alert the Search and Rescue teams are working to figure out how to help you and sending resources towards you.

    EPIRBs and PLBs are designed to ask for help when you are in distress. They do this very effectively which means extra care should be taken by everyone who has one to only activate them when you are in distress. “

  3. EB

    Note: if you have accidentally activated your beacon but do not need assistance, please contact the appropriate RCC right now (day or night) to cancel the search efforts. For ELT’s and PLB’s, contact the Air Force RCC at 1-800-851-3051. For EPIRB’s, contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 1-855-406-USCG (8724).

  4. Picavet

    I’m fully agree.
    What do you do in case you are in the middle of the Oceana, how do you cancel an alarm?
    I’m European and we need to pay about 50$/year, registered in the Netherlands. I do think this is not very much and it is a help for those people who support us in case of emergency. Certainly if your life is at risk.

  5. First Last

    What are alternate methods to contact the appropriate agency if phone service is not available?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*. Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.

More from the AIM Marine Group