The Science Of Survival

Leave a comment

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

meosar artwork

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, and for Ocean Signal’s products, visit


Leave a comment

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.

meosar artwork

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 (USA Only), but its optional only if you want to receive testing confirmation via email/SMS text message.

Leave a comment

ACR Electronics and Their Boating Safety Partners Remind You APRIL 6th (Wednesday 4/06) is “406Day”

406Day_Postcard4x6_WEBONLY with all websites

“406Day” is a time to celebrate lives saved and create awareness on the responsibilities of 406 MHz beacon ownership.

 April 6th was proclaimed “406Day” by ACR Electronics, Inc. in 2013. It is a time to celebrate the over *40,000 lives saved by using 406 MHz beacons and the Cospas-Sarsat Satellite system. The day is intended to create online awareness on the benefits and responsibilities of owning a 406 MHz beacon; such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) or Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs).

What started off a few years ago as just a photo share contest on social media, has now become increasingly relevant as there are two items of legislation relevant promoting 406 MHz beacon ownership. On the national level, a bill was introduced offering an IRS incentive to persons who purchase a beacon. In Florida, Governor Scott recently signed a bill which, on average, will give boaters an average of a 15% to 20% discount on their boater registration fee annually *with proof of proper NOAA registration.

“406Day” has not only created **social media buzz but has also created useful content and has opened meaningful dialogue regarding safety precautions in the boating industry. ‘406Day’ should continue to grow with strategic partners in the multiple facets of the maritime industry, who have made the day what it is today,” shared Nichole Kalil, ACR Media Specialist. “406Day occurs during spring when most of the nation is gearing up for summer boating, the timing to share boating safety messages is perfect”, she added.

Some of the past and present “406Day” boating safety partners are as follows: National Safe Boating Council, Bonnier Group, AustinBlu Foundation, NOAA, Active Interest Media Group, USCG, OAR Northwest, George Poveromo, Sea Tow, Liquid Fire Fishing Team, ACA Paddle Sports, Boat US Foundation, Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Parade, and West Marine.

*Source: Since the mid 1980’s 406 MHz beacons have saved approximately 40,000 lives worldwide. To learn more about 406 MHz beacons please visit NOAA’s website at:

**On social media search and post using: #safeboating #406Day and #savedbythebeacon



1 Comment

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


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

Image ACR Electronic’s Advanced Satellite Testing System

Leave a comment

ACR/ARTEX is proud to bring you, the first and only advanced satellite testing system used to receive self test notifications (SMS/Email) from your ACR Personal Locator Beacon, EPIRB, or Artex 406 MHz ELT. This optional subscription service is designed to enhance the functionality of your ACR or ARTEX 406 MHz beacon and provides you and your loved ones with the peace of mind of receiving your satellite test message directly on your cell phone or email.

Once you subscribe, a successful self-test will trigger an email and SMS text message notification to you and/or your loved ones. By choosing the Plus plan, you will also be able to have a customized message sent to your list of contacts. In addition, when conducting a GPS self-test, your actual location will appear on a map and be sent to your contacts along with your message. You and your loved ones will breathe easier knowing that your beacon is working properly should you ever need to use it in an emergency.

Try our Free Trial and use the service free of charge for two days (no credit card or automatic renewal required). You will quickly realize the amazing value and ease of use of 406Link.

1 Comment

What a Survivor should pack in their Rapid Ditch Bag

Abandon Ship List
by safety consultant Charlie Bond, AMSEA Instructor

rapidditch front angle small 300

The following is a list of items that you might consider as you put together your own Ditch Bag. No list can be considered complete. These items are grouped into broad categories and for the most part reflect the useful items used in emergencies or in survival training. Much of this equipment is based on long term survival which might not be an issue for mariners with a properly operating 406 EPIRB or PLB on board.

Your Ditch Bag and your EPIRB must be stored where you can get it without re-entering your vessel. Some vessels mount their Ditch Bag also referred to as an Abandon Ship bag under the companion way ladder or in a deck or cockpit locker. You and your crew must train to grab the abandon ship bag and bring it with you in any emergency. It is safer to have to put it back when everything turns out okay than to try and grab it after the emergency has begun, especially in the case of fire or rapid sinking. Where possible, everything should be designed to be secured to the raft.


406 EPIRB – Your most important signaling device. You must be able to get to it in any emergency. If kept in the abandon ship bag, the bag must be able to be reached without having to reenter the vessel in distress. Many vessels mount their EPIRB in a quick release bracket just inside the companionway or by the pilot station.
406 PLB – Personal Locator Beacon Pocket sized 406 beacon, can be packed in a life raft, attached to lifejacket or immersion suits or stowed in an abandon ship bag. They are manually activated.
Waterproof VHF & batteries – To call & talk with vessels (line of site) or communicate with rescuers.
Portable Aircraft radio – Will allow you to talk with over flying commercial aircraft, often 10s of thousands feet above you. If you see a vapor trail, you might be able to raise them.
Waterproof GPS & batteries – A good way to provide your exact location and acts as a backup for your ships system.
Flashlight & batteries – A powerful flashlight that can light up objects or attract attention.
Floating Flashlight & batteries – A backup floating flashlight, the brighter the better.
Whistle – Marine style whistles are best when at water level, however in a raft a police style whistle on a lanyard will do. Have one for each person.
Fog Horn – Mouth or canister operated, you may want to make as much noise as you can. The canister is louder; the mouth type operates as long as you have breath.
Signal Mirror or Heliograph – The fancy Heliograph takes some training to use, a good mirror does the same thing. Reflect the light on your outstretched hand and move it towards who you want to signal, move your hand away and wiggle the mirror.
Strobe Xeon & batteries – Strobes, like an EPIRB, are passive signals, once activated they keep on working while you can do other things to save your life. Strobes are visible under almost all conditions from over 10 miles away by aircraft, twice that with night vision. Strobes work for more that 8 hours with new batteries.
Flares SOLAS, Handheld – 2 minutes of brilliance, and a class D fire hazard. Flares should be handled with care. Know what you are doing and use them wisely, two minutes is not a long time at sea. Keep them away from your survival craft, pointed down wind and watch that the hot slag drops away from your survival craft.
Flares SOLAS Parachute – Can be seen if you can see the vessel. Can focus attention on where you are once vessels reach the area and are looking for you. Read instructions before you have to use them.
Cylume light sticks – Cold light. Use to read, make notes, attract fish, or just to provide comfort. Can also use PFD lights or waterproof LEDs.
Spare air pump (that matches your raft) – Tie your pump into the raft. A spare pump set up to work on your raft will allow you to keep your raft firm and more comfortable.
Duct tape – 100 mile per hour tape, will sometimes work miracles. There are also tape and patches that can be used on wet surfaces.
Nylon cord – Hang clothes to dry, secure bags, string fish to dry.
Sail repair kit and safety pins – repair clothes and equipment
TPA – Thermal protective Aid – sort of a space blanket made as a bag you can wear. When insulated from the water, they are very effective at reflecting your body heat back to you, plus they can keep you dry.
Closed cell padding, ie camping pads – Even a boat cushion will feel good, especially since where ever you sit is the lowest spot for water to settle. A closed cell pad allows you to stay dry. It also affords you more protection from big fish eating the little fish under your raft.
Garbage & plastic bags – Can be made into a waterproof jacket, used to keep other things mostly dry or just to keep things together.
Ziplock bags – Valuable stuff can be kept almost dry and is accessible when you need it, notes, food, books

Matches – Waterproof and in a waterproof container.
Lighter – a back up to matches, not a replacement.
Candle – Not for the raft, unless you are celebrating your birthday, for starting a fire under shore survival.
Fire starters – They work even under the wettest conditions and if you have prepared your burning materials, you should be able to get a fire going almost anywhere.
Utility knife/tool ie, leatherman or Swiss Army – Need I say more, if you have to do anything, one of these attachments will make you life easier.
Sharp knife with case or a folding knife – If you catch fish, then a good knife will make your preparation easier. Be careful when using a sharp knife while in an inflatable raft.
Blunt knife folding – For use during bad weather. Much less dangerous aboard a raft, but you must still be careful.
Floating cutting board – For use with your knife, tied to the raft. One can also use paddle blade.
Sharpening stone – A dull knife is dangerous.
Scissors/Shears – Another useful tool.
Fishing Kit – Hooks, line, sinkers, attractors, either make your own or purchase a SOLAS one from a raft repacker.
Gaff – A short handled gaff will allow you to secure and hold a fish that appears too big for your raft.
Spear Gun – for when they are not biting. Larger fish often circle the raft or dart under it; a spear gun with cord attached could make your day much brighter.
Landing net – Ditto above under gaff.
Documents – Your vessel documents, logbook, everyone’s wallets, photographs etc. in a waterproof bag.
If all the wallets, credit cards & passports are in the ditch bag, Then everyone will always have what they need no matter who rescues you and what country you might end up in.
Passports – Well, who knows where you will be going next. If they are all in bag, everyone will have theirs.
Money & bankcard – Don’t leave home without it – waterproof of course.
Note pads & pens & pencils – Where memories are made, thoughts about loved ones, and navigation notes.
Charts & Navigation tools – Know where you are, currents, shipping lanes, also can be used as a note pad.
Paperback novels/Bible – You will have some time on you hands. Also, Plastic Playing cards
Bottled water – Plastic bottles with a little air on top float. If one bottle gets contaminated the others will still be OK. When empty they are reusable, for rainwater, water from a watermaker, or even to pee in when the weather is not so nice. Easier to use and reusable unlike foil packed water.
Water Maker, hand operated – Make all the water you’ll need and gives you a break from reading the novel.
Food – Survival biscuits – Not the best tasting unless you are starving, then they are great. Eat only with water.
Look for high energy long storage foods. Select foods that are not heavy on water use in their metabolism. There are many good reference books on survival foods.
Vitamins – Will help keep you at your best. Use only if you have some food and water.
Wool or poly caps and gloves – You lose 50% of your heat through your head and neck. Cold feet, don a cap.
Wool or poly underwear – Good quality ones are washable, and wick moisture away from your skin, making you feel more comfortable. They also provide sun protection without retaining heat. When covered they do help with heat retention.
Bandanna – Cotton & colorful, Cool your head, attract attention, use as a quick bandaid, use as a wash cloth, use as a towel or to wrap things that can be broken.
Small Towel – Can be used as a bandanna
GI style can openers (2) – Just in case you had a chance to empty the pantry, can be used to gut a fish also.
Sponge, large in ziplock bag – To back up the raft sponge. Use for bailing, bathing. Place a soap bar in the bag and you can lather up yourself or your utensils.
First Aid Kit – Know what is in it and how to use it. Read the first aid book before you cruise.
Eyeglasses/Sunglasses – Spare eyeglasses and polarized sunglasses to see and reduce glare.
Toothbrush – If you add toothpaste, it can change the way you feel.
Dental floss – Handy, not only for cleaning teeth, but repairing a variety of things.
Anti Seasickness pills – Rafts are only better than being neck deep in water. These will help you prevent dehydration caused by vomiting.
Toilet paper in ziplock bag – There are no Sears catalogs at sea.
Portable or disposable urinals-unisex – It can be very useful in bad weather.
Bug repellent – In some oceans, this can be useful, shoreside it can be critical.
Prescription medicines – Any specific medication should be packed into the bag,
Aspirin – Ibuprofen – Sometimes a wonder drug.
Tampons and or feminine products – To make your life easier.
30+ waterproof sunscreen – To protect you skin.