The Science Of Survival

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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


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Leading ELT supplier ACR Electronics backs 2016 Hudson Memorial Fly In to promote the importance of beacons for aircraft owners and operators


Sponsor of the annual event, ACR Electronics is using its first major aviation project to endorse the use of devices such as ARTEX ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters), ACR PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons), signaling devices and other safety accessories.

Both ACR’s PLBs and ARTEX ELTs relay emergency signals to the Cospas-Sarsat system, which since its inception in the early 1980’s has provided distress alert information to Search and Rescue centers. This relay has assisted in the rescue of nearly 40,000 people in 11,070 different distressful situations worldwide. Specific to aviation just last year there were 21 people rescued in 11 incidents alone*.

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Why a hunter decided NOT to activate his personal locator beacon

A lone hunter who decided not to activate his personal locator beacon despite breaking his foot deep in the New Zealand bush is urging fellow hunters and trampers to learn from his mistake and use their PLB in an emergency.

Hunter PLB NZ

Tim Edge, from Ashhurst, is raising awareness about the importance of carrying and activating personal beacons after his ordeal following an accident in Manawatu’s Pahangina Valley where he was chasing a stag.

Despite carrying an ACR Electronics ResQLink PLB, Tim admits he was too embarrassed to call for help and thought he knew the area well enough to get out on his own. Instead, he spent more than two hours trying to find his way to the forest/farm land boundary through dense bush and rough terrain.

Luckily, he was rescued by Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Trust and airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital after his dad contacted the authorities, but Tim knows that his actions could have had serious consequences.

“I would like to use my experience to bring some awareness to other hunters about when to use their PLBs and also highlight the work of the rescue authorities,” said Tim. “Although things worked out safely in the end, my mistake was in leaving the safety of my camp in an opening clearing where winch recovery would be easy. I re-entered dense bush, injured, to try to get myself and my gear out, which were the wrong things to do. If anything else had happened while I was making my way out, it would have been a lot worse. At the time I thought it wasn’t serious enough and I was too embarrassed to use the beacon. I had all the right gear, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t use it. My message to other hunters and trampers is to not let a sense of pride prevent them from calling for rescue if their life is in danger.”

Tim broke his foot after falling down a bank when he slipped while carrying a full pack of venison back to camp and called his dad to let him know he was injured. He managed to make it out of the bush to farm land just as the helicopter arrived.

In addition to other gear, such as extra food and water, a tent and GPS, Tim was carrying the compact ResQLink™ by ACR Electronics which would have alerted rescue services when activated. Ideal for all hunters, trampers, hikers and a range of other activities on land and at sea, the ResQLink is a buoyant, GPS-enabled rescue beacon designed which quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites.

Front View (ResQLink)

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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



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ACR AIS Improves Safety for Outer Banks Fishermen

P3130061.jpgThe Customer

Captain Greg Mayer and his crew fish in the dangerous waters of the Outer Banks in Fishin’ Frenzy, a 53-foot Custom Carolina Sportfish. Well known for their role on popular National Geographic Channel show ‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’, Greg and his crew spend their time targeting tuna, marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and dolphin.


Experienced fisherman Greg has been fishing professionally for more than 25 years and has been at the helm of the Fishin’ Frenzy since 1999. The 1977-built vessel is well-equipped and maintained to give customers the safest, most comfortable, offshore fishing experience possible. However, they still required an extra level of safety to add to equipment already in place, which includes ACR Electronics GlobalFix™ iPRO Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB),  HemiLight™3 flashing survival light and C-Strobe™ with C-Clip, plus two VHF radios, satellite telephone, two GPS units, autopilot, radar and depth sounder.

Captain Greg Mayer and the crew of Fishin’ Frenzy

The Problem

For the past few winters, Captain Greg and his crew have spent many hours on the ocean, often staying out overnight. They frequently have to deal with foggy conditions and poor visibility and usually operate in areas with a high amount of ship traffic in close proximity. Although there is always a crew member on watch and they are often communicating with other boats in the area, they wanted to further enhance their safety measures for added reassurance and peace of mind.

Greg highlights the dangers facing his vessel and others following a very close call in the fog recently. He said: “I identified a radar target as a tug and tow, calculated his heading and slowed down to let him pass.  About 20 minutes later, a fellow fisherman was a few miles behind me with no radar. He heard the tug, and narrowly missed running between the tug and tow. Had I had AIS, I could have identified the tug and informed my colleague exactly where the tug was located and direction to avoid any confusion whatsoever.”

Fishin’ Frenzy, now equipped with ACR AIS technology

The Solution

Greg wanted to make sure he could see other vessels, as well as be seen on the water, in order to increase his navigational safety. Enhancing the information he already receives with radar, the Fishin’ Frenzy captain also wanted to be able to view and track local traffic on a clear graphical interface, identify other boats, check their course and movements and establish whether he is in danger.

Therefore Greg decided to install ACR Electronics’ AISLink CA1 Class A transceiver, which demonstrates the highest AIS transmission power and the most frequent transmission of AIS information. The device enables him to send and receive wireless data to and from nearby AIS-equipped vessels including the vessel’s name, position, course or speed over the ground, heading and rate of turn. It helps the crew to keep the vessel clear of local maritime traffic and provides reassurance that Fishin’ Frenzy is visible to other vessels. Offering high reliability, performance, and compliance with regulations at a competitive price, the AISLink CA1 facilitates faster communication and navigational planning especially when vessels are hidden or obstructed from radar.

Installation was a straightforward process as the Class A device is a ‘one box’ design containing both the transceiver and display, with an external junction box provided to simplify connection of sensor and display data wiring. Greg opted to interface the AIS with his chart plotter, enabling him to view the data in a convenient, clear format. Each ship symbol on the display reveals the ship name, course and speed, classification, call sign, registration number and MMSI. Greg can calculate and predict the closest point of approach (CPA), which is the minimum distance his vessel will be from the target according to current speed and course. In this way, he will have the given time of the intercept and the distance. Fishin’ Frenzy now also has the ability to send and receive AIS text messages and set active target-specific AIS system alarms to provide advance warning. In areas of high congestion, Fishin’ Frenzy can filter and prioritize targets so that the navigator is aware of the vessels which pose a collision risk.

Captain Greg commented: “The added visibility provided by AIS is another measure of safety that I feel is invaluable with the amount of ship traffic in the area. It will be very reassuring to have this extra back up. Winter fishing on the Outer Banks is no time to be unprepared for whatever the ocean may throw at you. When my crew’s safety is on the line, I depend on ACR.”

Chart plotter view with AIS installed allowing the captain to view and track local traffic

Visit for more information about AIS (Automatic Identification System) and the new USCG (United States Coast Guard) AIS mandate or go to