ACR ARTEX

The Science Of Survival


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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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Jeanne sponsored owner of

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http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/9914519-woman-hits-the-high-seas-for-solo-trip-around-the-world/

Jeanne is not just any ACR Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) owner. She is one who has taken her EPIRB around the world! Jeanne has suffered her own mishap in losing a boat in Mexico and for that reason she knows that an EPIRB is not optional but an essential piece of survival gear.


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Cautionary advice when buying beacons and survival gear online

5 quick buying tips NOT to miss

when buying a beacon from an online auction or personal on line listing!

  1. Know what beacon is right for the type of activity you enjoy doing. Read the guide below. (Boaters = EPIRB, Pilots = ELT, etc.)
  2. Find out if the beacon is Brand New and Unregistered or Used (Registered to previous owner).  If the beacon is used and has been previously registered, the current owner will need to contact NOAA (in the USA) and notify them to cancel their registration so that the new owner can properly register it.
  3. If you are buying and EPIRB, Personal Locator Beacon or ELT that has a dedicated Lithium battery, ask for the battery expiration date.  Know how many years are remaining on the battery before you buy it.
  4. Ask the seller for the country code in which the beacon is programmed.  If the beacon is programmed for the United States and you live in Australia or a country other than the United States, your beacon will need to be reprogrammed for your country (a reprogramming fee will apply) before you can register it.
  5. Have a question?? – Contact the manufacturer before you purchase.

Understanding the Difference between Safety/Signaling and Survival Beacons

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) – For BoatersACR GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB with built in GPS, GPS Interface and Digital Display
An EPIRB is a critical piece of last-resort lifesaving gear on your boat when you are out of range of a VHF radio, smartphone or other means of communication. EPIRBs are small radio transmitters, connected to a global government-run satellite network (Cospas-Sarsat), which is used worldwide to alert Search and Rescue agencies in the event of a dire emergency. Used only when all other means of rescue or communication have failed, these emergency beacons can be activated if your boat is in danger of sinking, or if you have a life-threatening accident or medical emergency.

EPIRBs are required to activate and transmit when they are removed from their brackets and immersed in water or manually activated in/out of the bracket. Category I brackets will automatically deploy the beacon when submerged between 3′ and 14′, while Category II brackets need to have the beacon released manually.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) – For any outdoor enthusiastACR ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon with built in GPS
Personal Locator Beacons, which use the same frequency and technology as an EPIRB, can be carried with you just about anywhere. They provide the same worldwide coverage as EPIRBs, and can rescue hunters, hikers, kayakers, climbers, pilots, boaters and most any outdoor enthusiast. PLBs are different from EPIRBs in some important ways. Their battery life (24hr. minimum transmit time) is often half that of an EPIRB. PLBs are not required to float or have a strobe light (but many do), and are manually deployed and activated. Like 406 MHz EPIRBs, PLBs have an additional 121.5MHz homing signal to help planes, helicopters and other searchers find you.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELTs) – For AircraftARTEX ME406 Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
An Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) is an aircraft distress beacon that can be manually or automatically activated to transmit a 406 MHz emergency signal to the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system. ELTs that activate automatically use a “G-Switch” (gravity switch) that triggers the ELT when it senses that a crash has occurred. With ELTs, Search and Rescue teams may more easily pin-point the exact location of a downed aircraft. Section 91.207 of the Federal Aviation Regulations states that no person, as well as Part 121 operators and operations governed by Part 135, may operate a U.S. registered civil aircraft unless an approved automatic type emergency locator transmitter is attached to the aircraft. Similar regulations are established by aviation authorities throughout the world.

As of 2009, traditional 121.5 MHz ELTs are no longer monitored by satellite. The system has been replaced by a far more powerful and robust system operating on 406 MHz. When you upgrade your ELT to 406 MHz, you will have peace of mind knowing you can be found quickly in the event of an emergency or unplanned landing. If your aircraft currently has an older 121.5 MHz ELT it’s still important to have an upgraded 406 MHz ELT that can automatically transmit a distress signal with your location. Without upgrading your ELT, it can take days or sometimes weeks to locate a crash scene. Upgrading your ELT means rescuers will know within minutes that you’re in distress, who you are, and exactly where you’re located. This will drastically increase your chances of survival.

Why a 406 MHz Beacon is Your Best Last Chance

The biggest difference between an EPIRB/Personal Locator Beacon/ELT and other signaling devices is the built in redundancy required by Search and Rescue agencies to be included inside 406 MHz beacons before they can be approved for sale.
Main Frequency: 406 MHz, this dedicated Search and Rescue frequency is transmitted to the Cospas-Sarsat Satellites with your beacons Unique Identification Number which links you and your beacon together (if properly registered).
GPS: beacons with a built in GPS provide the exact search radius
121.5 MHz homing frequency: provides Search and Rescue forces with another tool to home in on your exact location.

Additional Benefits: 406 MHz beacons are regulated and approved worldwide by the Search and Rescue community before they can ever be offered for sale. These very strict regulations require an independent test lab to validate that the beacons meet the stringent requirements. These distress beacons are a directly link to Search and Rescue forces worldwide, there is no monthly subscription fees, no cost for activating and being rescued and no third party call center required to forward your distress signal onto the appropriate Search and Rescue Agencies.

Satellite Emergency Notification Devices (SEND) – For outdoor enthusiast
This is a relatively new category of distress beacons that have just hit the market in the past few years. While they have some very popular features, it is important to understand some of their limitations when it comes to Search and Rescue. The main thing to know is the lack of redundancy, most SEND devices rely solely on having a GPS position to transmit your position. If the device is unable to acquire your GPS coordinates because of heavy tree canopy or severe weather, Search and Rescue will not know where to look for you until the beacon is able to provide this information. SEND Devices also use commercial satellites such as iridium or GlobalStar, this requires an annual subscription to use. Forget to renew your subscription and your beacon will not transmit your emergency distress signal. Finally, because these are commercial satellites, the distress signal is first received by a third party call center who then must forward it on to Search and Rescue forces and be able to provide them with all of your vital information.

Understanding the Pro’s and Con’s of different Survival Communication Devices

Product Type Benefits Limitations
EPIRBs
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  •  406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
    Limited non-emergency communications (Only ACR beacons can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Personal Locator Beacons
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  • 406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
  • Limited non-emergency communications (Only ACR beacons can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT)
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  • 406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
  • Limited non-emergency communications (Only ARTEX ELTs can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Cell Phones
  • Most people commonly have on them at all times
  • Dead Battery when you need it the most
  • Limited Coverage
  • Not Rugged or Waterproof
  • They rely on you to tell Search and Rescue where you are
Satellite Phones
  • Voice communication outside of standard cell phone ranges
  • Dead Battery when you need it the most.
  • Poor satellite reception
  • Costly subscription fees
  • Not Rugged or Waterproof
  • They rely on you to tell Search and Rescue where you are.
SEND Devices (SPOT, InReach)
  • Non-Emergency Communications
  • Tracking
  • SOS functions
  • Weak frequency
  • Low Power
  • No Redundancy
  • Costly subscription fees
  • Commercial satellites
  • 3rd party call centers
GPS Receivers
  • Tracking
  • Tells you where you are
  • GPS receivers tell You where you are, not Search and Rescue
  • Low Power Level
  • Poor Satellite Reception

How to register

You may register by visiting the SARSAT Beacon Registration page.

There is no charge for this service. IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE.

For more information see the NOAA SARSAT Homepage.


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The Anatomy of a Rescue

Cospas Sarsat - International satellite system

Learn how a rescue works.

1. Distressed mariner/outdoor adventurer/pilot activates beacon (EPIRB, PLB, ELT).

2. Beacon transmits a 406 MHz emergency message containing your Unique Identifier Number (UIN) to the LEOSAR (polar orbiting) and GEOSAR* (geostationary) satellite systems.

3. The satellites relay the 406 MHz emergency message to a ground station called the Local User Terminal (LUT). The LUT calculates the location of the signal by measuring the Doppler shift caused by the relative movement between the satellite and the beacon and forwards the location to the Mission Control Center (MCC).

4. The MCC continues to receive information from additional satellite passes and further refines the beacon position (2.3 nm search radius). An alert message is generated that is combined with the registration information from the database and is forwarded to the appropriate Rescue Coordination Center (RCC).

5. The RCC makes contact with the persons listed in the database to verify the existence of an emergency and gathers additional information about the beacon users. The RCC will dispatch the closest, capable Search and Rescue (SAR) forces.

6. Local SAR forces launch a rescue mission and use the 121.5 MHz homing signal to pinpoint the beacon.

* On average, worldwide, this notification (steps 2 through 5) take up to one hour for non-GPS beacons. For self-locating beacons that provide GPS position data in their first transmissions, the search radius is reduced to .05 nm (100 m) and the notification can take as little as three minutes. (Data provided by Cospas-Sarsat.)

About the Cospas-Sarsat Search and Rescue System

Orbiting high overhead every minute of the day is a worldwide network of polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites. Together with Russia’s Cospas spacecraft, they make up the high-tech international Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System known as Cospas-Sarsat.

Cospas-Sarsat has been credited with nearly 30,000 rescues worldwide. The system relies on signals received on the 406 MHz frequency to pinpoint position and speed rescuers to the scene of an emergency on land or at sea.

In fact, the more reliable, digital 406 MHz frequency has become the de facto internationally recognized distress frequency. Using the 406 MHz frequency, modern signaling devices can quickly beam GPS LAT/LON coordinates to orbiting satellites. This frequency also allows a position fix through Doppler shift to acquire a location even when GPS can’t.

As of February 1, 2009, satellite processing of distress signals from the older 121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons was terminated worldwide due to unreliability and false alarms. When a 406 MHz beacon signal is received, search and rescue personnel can retrieve information from a registration database.

This includes the beacon owner’s contact information, emergency contact information and details regarding the specific trip plan and any medical conditions of the owner or members in the party. Having this information allows the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, to respond appropriately. NOAA, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, is strongly advising all mariners, aviators and individuals using 121.5/243 MHz emergency beacons to make the switch to 406 MHz in order to take full advantage of the Sarsat system.

Cospas-Sarsat is maintained and operated by governments all over the world, thus there is no subscription fee required for owning a 406 MHz EPIRB, ELT or Personal Locator Beacon.

Tags: Cospas Sarsat, 406 MHz Rescue, Search and Rescue Process, Coast Guard Rescue, How a rescue works, Anatomy of a rescue, EPIRB, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, Personal Locator Beacon, PLB, Emergency Locator Transmitter, ELT


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ACR EPIRB Onboard HMS Bounty Outlives 48 Hour Specs

 

The following article appears courtesy of Ocean Navigator

“HMS Bounty EPIRB Outlives 48 Hour Specs”

By Tim Queeny

The ACR Satellite 2 406 EPIRB that was turned on at 9 pm on Sunday night by the crew of the tall ship Bounty was reportedly not recovered during the rescue operation. And at the time of this writing the EPIRB is floating in the Atlantic, still transmitting. The unit has outlived its Coast Guard 48 hour at -4° F specification for operation. This is perhaps one positive outcome of theBounty sinking: that you can trust an EPIRB (with a charged battery) to do its job of bringing rescuers to your position.

According to Mikele D’Arcangelo, Marketing Manager for ACR Electronics, Inc. and ARTEX, ACR aims for its products to outperform government specs. “ACR Electronics is in the business of saving lives and we are exacting, obsessive, serious and accurate in the engineering and manufacture of our products,” D’Arcangelo said. “We design our products to outperform any regulation set for us by government agencies.”

Additional Reporting:

“Coast Guard Rescues 14 During Hurricane Sandy”

The Coast Guard Compass, the official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard

“Technology Speeds Rescue at Sea”

WWAY News Channel 3


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Movie Prop HMS Bounty Sinks During Hurricane, 14 Crew Rescued

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 of 16 crew members from a replica of the HMS Bounty on Monday after receiving a distress signal from the ship’s EPIRB, which was activated after the vessel began taking on water in rough seas 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina. The ship eventually sank and one of the missing was found but could not be revived. The Bounty’s captain is still missing.


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USCG Swimmer Wins Prestigious Award for Rescue at Sea

The Association for Rescue at Sea, Inc. (AFRAS) will hold its annual awards ceremony and reception on 4 October 2012 on Capitol Hill.

The event will be co-hosted by the Honorable Howard Coble, co-chairman, U.S. Congressional Coast Guard Caucus. AFRAS will award the Gold Medal, the Silver Medal and the Amver (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) plaque for outstanding rescues made in 2011.

The Gold Medal and a cash prize will be presented to Randall J. Rice, Chief Warrant Officer, US Coast Guard; the Silver Medal and a cash prize will be awarded to the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Facility 25371 and the Amver plaque will go to the Captain and crew of M/V Oleander.

Chief Warrant Officer Randall J. Rice of US Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod will receive the prestigious AFRAS Gold Medal for his heroic life-saving actions on 10 May 2011 while serving as rescue swimmer aboard Coast Guard Helicopter CG6004.

At approximately noon, Rice and his crew launched from Air Station Cape Cod in response to a distress call received from the 45-foot sailing vessel EVA, located 150 nautical miles southeast of Cape Cod. Pounding seas and gale force winds had ripped the mast off the vessel and shattered the windows endangering the lives of the crew. The surrounding waters and deck were littered with sails, lines and debris.

Arriving at an updated position relayed from a concurrently launched HU-25 Aircraft, and unable to establish communications with the vessel, Rice and his crew conducted a search to locate S/V EVA in the tossing 20-30 foot waves. Rice eventually spotted the vessel and vectored the pilot into position.

The aircraft commander initially made the decision not to deploy the rescue swimmer due to numerous hazards in the water, but after further assessment it was determined that deployment was required in order to save the two crewmen – one having sustained a back injury.

Chief Warrant Officer Rice entered the water, maneuvered through the 30-foot swells and debris to the vessel and climbed aboard. He quickly cleared the deck of rubble and prepared for two basket hoists of the crew. He meticulously executed each hoist from the deck of EVA as the thrashing waves and raging winds battered the vessel. His swift actions were instrumental in the saving of two lives.

The Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) is a non-profit foundation with charitable status, which supports services concerned with saving lives at sea. Other awards to be presented at the ceremony include the Silver Medal, and the AFRAS AMVER Award.