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Personal Safety Equipment

Berthon supply and fit vessel plotting technology, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)

Attitudes have changed a lot over the past ten years particularly when it comes to personal privacy.
Whilst AIS receivers came onto the market slowly, AIS transponders are flying off the shelves allowing families and friends to keep tabs on the progress their loved ones are making, with many an owner now able to sit in their office checking that their boat is still where they left it the previous weekend. AIS has also spilled into the personal safety market. Whilst personal locator beacons have been offered with SART technology for a long time, they are now available with AIS beacons making it much easier for their own vessel to locate them than from SART or personal EPIRBs whose data can only be picked up by larger vessels or the coastguard.

AIS

EPIRB

PLB 

  • AIS – Automatic Identification System

    Vessel plotting and live boat finders

    As from December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) required all vessels over 299GT to carry an AIS transponder on board which transmits position, speed and course along with other static information. Coastal positions are generally received out to a range of around 50 nautical miles. Beyond this, satellite-AIS tracking is required. Initially, ships were often fitted with only a basic text display for AIS data, although most now have an AIS overlay on radar and plotter screens. There’s no requirement for pleasure craft to fit the system (unless competing in ISAF Category 2 offshore races, such as the Rolex Fastnet Race), however, yachts may benefit from fitting a receive only system, or a combined transmitter/receiver.


  • PLB – Personal Locator Beacon

    Unlike EPIRBs which are registered to a specific vessel and must be re-registered if moved to a different boat, a PLB is registered to a person and so can be carried with you wherever you are – at sea, hiking, mountaineering or in any remote location or situation where you may require rescue.

    A PLB uses an internal GPS receiver to pinpoint your location to within 62m. Once in the area, rescue services are then able to pinpoint your precise location using the inbuilt 121.5Mhz homing transmitter.

    When activated it transmits a signal on the 406 MHz distress frequency which is monitored by the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system. This is then relayed via a station to the nearest Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC). As the satellites are in a polar orbit they offer complete global coverage – with a PLB you can call for help no matter how remote.

    PLBs are subscription-free devices, so have no cost of ownership after the initial purchase.

  • EPIRB – Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon

    An EPIRB is a safety device carried by any vessel to alert search and rescue services and allow them to quickly locate you in the event of an emergency.

    When activated it transmits a signal on the 406 MHz distress frequency which is monitored by the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system. This is then relayed via a station to the nearest Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC). As the satellites are in a polar orbit they offer complete global coverage – with an EPIRB you can call for help no matter how remote.

    An EPIRB forms part of the GMDSS equipment required by law for all commercial vessels over 300 tonnes, nevertheless, many non-mandate vessels and leisure boats will choose to carry an EPIRB to improve safety They have been responsible for saving hundreds of lives since they have been introduced.

    EPIRBs are supplied as standard with a mounting bracket and must be manually activated, however, a SOLAS Auto Float Free Housing is also available which automatically deploys and activates when it is submerged.

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