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*.
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.
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.
“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: www.sarsat.noaa.gov.
**On social media search and post using: #safeboating #406Day and #savedbythebeacon
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
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
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
Meet Mr. Dietch and read his first hand survival story:
On Friday July 10, 2015, I launched my hang glider from Crestline overlooking San Bernardino, CA and headed 13 miles east toward Running Springs. From an altitude of 7,100′ MSL, I decided to cross the gap toward 7,800′ Keller Peak. I have made this flight numerous times over the past 6 years with only a few close calls but no major incidents. During the summer of 2010, a friend crashed his hang glider in a rural area and was lost. Although he was rescued while still unconsciouis the following morning I decided to fly with a NOAA-registered SARSAT beacon. After careful research I chose ACR SARLink 406 for my specific needs. From July, 2010 through July, 2015, I have carried that PLB on approximately 500 flights spanning a thousand hours of flying time. Most of my hang gliding consists of flying as far as I can for the given conditions; which is known as cross-country or X/C flying. I am accustomed to landing places I have never seen and calling friends for a retrieve ride or being followed by vehicle using 2-meter radio for communication.
On this flight the lift rapidly began to fade out as I reached Keller Peak at 6,400′ MSL. It is an 8-mile long glide to clear the Seven Oaks earthen dam located at the source of the Santa Ana River in Mentone, CA. I was already too low to glide out and failed to climb more than a few hundred feet before it was clear to me I wasn’t leaving by hang glider. I glided back toward Running Springs but only continued to bleed altitude. I opted to return toward the foot of Keller Peak where there is an unoccupied hydro-electric plant. My landing strip would be in the boulder-filled, dry Santa Ana River bed. I managed a safe landing between large boulders but was faced with a long hike out late in the day. There is a local population of mountain lions, rattle snakes, coyotes and assorted predatory beings. I had a long hike out down a canyon defined by mountains on either side of the riverbed. Nobody knew my whereabouts as I had been flying solo. Nobody responded to my 2-meter radio calls and there was no cell reception. This was during a recent rash of fires due to the drought but between fires at the time. There are USFS and Sheriff’s helicopter pads are located in a 15-mile radius. Rather than trying to hike out into the night with inadequate supplies, I opted to activate my SARLink as soon as I got out of my harness before I began to break down my equipment.
After 40 minutes without the sound of a helicopter I opted to leave my packed up glider in an obvious spot on the access road and hike out. I had the SARKLink PLB in my harness bag on my back and it was left on and transmitting. After several hours I hit a dead end behind the dam. I began to backtrack to the correct fork in the road when a helicopter finally flew into the canyon toward my landing spot. I continued backtracking as the helicopter flew back out and over my head as I waved in plain sight. I reached for my glass signal mirror with retro-reflective aiming center and lit up the chopper with reflected sunlight as it continued its egress over the dam. Finally, the copper did an about face as the sun was kissing the ridgeline to the West and I was about to go into shade. I was picked up and dropped off by the Mill Creek Ranger Station in Yucaipa, CA without incident. Although my SARLink PLB is equipped with a strobe, there would have been an interval of dusk in which I had no way to signal other than by whistle. Once we exited the helicopter, the pilot showed me his own, well-worn signal mirror and thanked me for using mine along with the PLB. The next day I called the Air Force base where NOAA-registered PLBs are tracked and verified that my beacon signal had gotten picked up two minutes after activation. This was reassuring to me as a significant portion of the sky was blocked by surrounding mountains. The following morning I was able to drive back in with a friend on his Jeep 4X and recovered my glider. I went flying that afternoon.