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The Science Of Survival


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ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal Highlight Enhanced Life-Saving Benefits of their MEOSAR-Compatible Beacons

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ACR Electronics, Inc. and Ocean Signal are highlighting to all boaters how the life-saving capabilities of its distress beacons and the importance of including an EPIRB and PLB in their safety kit are significantly enhanced due to Cospas-Sarsat’s next-generation Medium-Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) system.

Revolutionising the search and rescue process, 24 EU launched Galileo navigation satellites will carry second generation SAR transponders for the Cospas-Sarsat system at Medium Earth Orbit altitude to supplement the existing LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit) and GEOSAR (Geostationary Orbit) systems. The increased number of satellites offers much faster signal detection, greater location accuracy, strengthened coverage and greater reliability to improve alerting times for distress beacon owners in emergency situations.

All ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal beacons, including the ACR GlobalFIX V4 and GlobalFIX iPro EPIRBs, the ACR ResQLink PLBs, plus the Ocean Signal SafeSea E100 and E100G EPIRBs, rescueME EPIRB1 and rescueME PLB1, are compatible with the next-gen satellites, ensuring they will offer the near instantaneous signal detection and transmission enabled by the global MEOSAR satellite transponders and upgraded ground-station components.

Estimates indicate that when using the next-gen network, anyone activating a GPS-enabled ACR or Ocean Signal 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 instead of taking up to the one to two hours typical with the current LEOSAR and GEOSAR system.

Chris Hoffman, Chairman of the RTCM (Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services) Board of Directors and chair of the RTCM Special Committee SC110 on Emergency Beacons, said: “As the representative of beacon manufacturers within the Cospas-Sarsat community, we work closely with companies like ACR and Ocean Signal to ensure that the needs of end users are taken into account when developing these new systems and enhancements.”

Hoffman, who is also Director of Technology Strategy for ACR Electronics, added: “The new MEOSAR network is poised to have a huge impact on search and rescue and will ultimately result in more lives saved. In the light of this ground-breaking update in technology, we want to ensure that anyone who spends time at sea is aware of the development and the value it adds to beacons, so they can make an informed decision about why they should carry an EPIRB and a PLB.

“The ACR and Ocean Signal 406 MHz distress beacons have been meticulously designed to be compact, reliable, and easy to use, carry and maintain. Critically, they are MEOSAR compatible, so users can benefit from this unfolding revolution in search and rescue, with even more power at their fingertips to ensure they and their friends and family can reach the rescue authorities quickly and easily, and stay safe out on the water.”

When complete there will be 72 MEOSAR satellites positioned at Medium Earth Orbit altitude, over six times the number of existing satellites in orbit. MEOSAR relays more beacon signals to ground stations using a technique known as ‘bent pipe’ which is an average of 46 minutes faster than LEOSAR. The network of ground stations, called MEOLUTs (Local User Terminals), along with multiple antenna systems, results in close to 100% reliability and near instantaneous global coverage.

MEOSAR satellites are compatible with the existing first generation Cospas-Sarsat technology. The Galileo satellites will also allow second generation alerting technology to be introduced such as the ability to send a return link signal in the form of a confirmation message back to beacons acknowledging that the signal was received.

The first rescues demonstrating near real-time signal detection using a MEOSAR satellite have already been documented, with the new Cospas-Sarsat system expected to reach full operational capability in 2020-21. When the system is fully operational, there will always be multiple MEOSAR satellites in view, subject to clear visibility of the sky, enabling fast alerting and location independent of waiting for a pass of a LEOSAR satellite.

Since 1982, the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite SAR systems has helped to save more than 40,000 lives by pinpointing the location of emergency distress beacon signals.

Today’s EPIRBs and PLBs by ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal are compact and user friendly with an exceptional battery life. They are now an affordable product for inclusion in any boat’s safety kit. EPIRBs are available for under $400 and PLBs priced in the mid $200s.

For further information about ACR Electronics’ products, visit www.acrartex.com, and for Ocean Signal’s products, visit www.oceansignal.com.

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Top 5 common misconceptions about 406 MHz beacons

Top 5 common misconceptions about 406 MHz beacons

1.  I Thought Beacons cost over $1,000?
Not any more, EPIRBs start at just $399.99 and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) start at just $259.99.  Here are few things you spend on your boat/outdoor gear each year that cost more and won’t save your life:  Gas for your boat, bait and beer, fishing rods, tents, scopes and amunition!

2. Isn’t my boat too small for an EPIRB?
Every boat should have some kind of 406 MHz distress beacon.  If you have a small boat like a kayak, SUP, canoe, bass boat or even a pontoon boat, consider a Personal Locator Beacon.  If you are going offshore, an EPIRB is the right beacon.  Smaller boats typically prefer the manual release category 2 bracket, while larger boats enjoy the automatic release and activation of a category 1 bracket.

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3.  How can an EPIRB or PLB help me go boating, hiking, fishing, etc., more?
Does your wife/husband/fiancé/mom/kids/Etc. ever worry about you going offshore, into the woods, or off the beaten path?  Sure they do!!!  Introduce them to our beacon technology and educate them on how it can save you should something unexpected happen while you are away.  We like to call this Peace of Mind, and when they worry less, you get outside more!!

4. EPIRBs and PLBs are only for if my boat sinks, My boat won’t sink!
EPIRBs and PLBs are for more than sinking boats. They are for life threatening emergencies.  We have survivors that have had medical emergencies, have come across someone else that needs assistance, boat fires, snake bites, we have even had two different incidents with boats hitting whales.  The fact is, anything can happen, EPIRBs and Personal Locator Beacons are designed to ensure you get home safely no matter what mother nature has in store for you.

5. I Hate Subscription Fees and I don’t want another one!
So do we.  406 MHz beacons don’t require any service subscriptions.  They work directly with the Cospas-Sarsat satellites which are government run and are a direct link to Search and Rescue.  There are no subscriptions required, the only thing required is to register your beacon with your national authority (it’s Free).  We do offer an option testing subscription service called www.406link.com (USA Only), but its optional only if you want to receive testing confirmation via email/SMS text message.


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EPIRB’s Durability Proven Under the Hottest Conditions  

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Photo caption: This Emergency Position-Indicating Radio (EPIRB) Beacon was on board a boat during an electrical fire.

After this EPIRB was charred during an electrical fire on-board the vessel “Sunshine Too,” Captain Keith Mc Farlane questioned whether the EPIRB was still able to function. Not wanting to take a chance, he sent the EPIRB to ACR for evaluation.  As part of ACR’s standard testing procedures,  we completed a full range of performance testing on the beacon. All the test results proved the EPIRB was still working – perfectly. This is another demonstration proving ACR Electronics indeed builds quality products knowing they are used to save lives.

 


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Len & Lisa, ACR Survivors Use TWO Beacons for TWO Different Rescues

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ACR Electronics shares a first: within just six months a SurvivorClub replacement Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) saves a crew of three and their dog from the raging seas of the North Atlantic.

Just this past October, and without warning, Len and Lisa Rorke’s sailboat rudder broke and drifted away leaving the sailboat without any means of steering, forcing Len to activate their EPIRB. Their ACR GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB signal was received by the USCG who coordinated their rescue with a local fishing trawler which was 20 miles away. The good Samaritans aboard the trawler pulled the Rorkes, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Dexter, up on board and took them back to safety.

To everyone’s shock and disbelief not even six months later, lightning struck again. This time the couple, Dexter and a crew mate Henri Worthalter were 13 days into crossing the Atlantic Ocean, from the Turks and Caicos Islands, heading to the Mediterranean via The Azores. Their journey ended with two days of gale force winds and high seas which broke the rudder and aft bulkhead on their sailboat,The Blue Pearl. “We were 950 nautical miles from the Azores (about halfway between the Azores and Bermuda), and could not have been further from land if we tried. We had been battling heavy weather for a week and the last two days of storms battered our boat so badly that it sank right in the middle of the North Atlantic in huge seas, strong winds and in the dead of night”, stated Len, Captain of The Blue Pearl.

ImageForced into a life raft 900 miles north of Bermuda, the couple watched as their home sank before their eyes.  As fate would have it, their new EPIRB given to them just months before by ACR Electronics as part of the SurvivorClub program was put to proper use.  They activated the EPIRB once they got into their life raft and within minutes the EPIRB sent the USCG the exact location of the displaced crew.

The USCG District Command Center located two ships to help with the rescue the Tilda Kosan, a 351′ tanker, which was 32 nautical miles to the south of their position and an automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue ship (AMVER). The tanker reported they were six hours away from the EPIRB’s location and would divert off course to assist the distressed mariners. Around 12:30 a.m. the tanker located the life raft with Len, Lisa, Henri and Dexter whom the USCG previously identified.

Clearly relieved, Len said “We were extremely lucky to have survived but that luck came because we did everything right and without a question because we had properly registered our EPIRB, once again, with the US Coast Guard.”

Rescued, recovered but now homeless, the Rorkes are in good and grateful spirits despite watching their sailboat, their home just drop to the bottom of the ocean.  Their crewmate, Henri returned home to Europe but the Rorkes and Dexter were transported to Bermuda and then flown into South Florida. Currently they are residing at a good Samaritan’s home in Jupiter, FL while regrouping and raising money to join their family in the United Kingdom.

To read both of the Rorke’s survival stories please visit SurvivorClub.com.

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ACR Electronics declares April 6th (4/06) to be “406 MHz Beacon Awareness Day” and ACR is asking our beacon owners, survivors and partners to help spread the word and share their stories! The *406 MHz technology has saved 35,000 lives since early 1980’s, certainly a statistic to be celebrated! Visit http://www.survivorclub.com to read some first-hand testimonies.

Please do your part to promote 406 MHz beacon use by sharing your specially tailored message and photo on your social media accounts. Tell everyone what your PLB or EPIRB frees you to do. Include a picture of the activity or place where your beacon gives you the confidence and freedom to go. ACR will be giving random participants prizes for sharing their 406 MHz message.

How to enter?

Tweet or Facebook post titled “what my 406 beacon frees me to do”. Include a picture of the activity or place your beacon gives you the confidence and freedom to go.

*You must use one or all of the key terms below so we can find your entry:

  • @acrartex
  • #406MHz
  • #406SurvivorClub
  • #ACRARTEX
  • “406 MHz Beacon Awareness Day”

For more information on “406 MHz Beacon Awareness Day” please contact:

Nichole Kalil, Public Relations and Media Specialist

T: +1-954-862-2180 or nichole.kalil@acrartex.com

Source: http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/statistics.html