406 Day: Coast Guard raises awareness of EPIRBs, PLBs

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The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(MIAMI) — The Coast Guard is reminding boaters Friday of the importance of emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) and personal locator beacons (PLBs) for 406 Day.

406 Day is a national campaign run by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to spread awareness of EPIRBs and PLBs for boating safety annually on April 6.

In 2017, the 7th Coast Guard District responded to 223 distress signals from EPIRBs aboard aircraft and boats.

An EPIRB works by transmitting a signal generally at 406 MHz, the internationally recognized distress frequency, that is picked up by a satellite and then relayed to a rescue coordination center.

All beacon owners are reminded that beacon registration is free, easy and required by law. All EPIRBs must be registered in the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database, which is free to all beacon owners.

When beacon owner information changes, it should be updated online at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov or by contacting the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database at 1-888-212-SAVE (7283).

Owners are required to validate their beacon information every two years to ensure their contact information is up to date. Current beacon owner information allows search and rescue responders to work more efficiently and can decrease response time during distress situations.

If your EPIRB is accidentally activated, contact the U.S. Coast Guard via VHF-FM marine-band radio Channel 16 or dial 1-855-406-USCG (8724) and provide the beacon’s ID to cancel the false alert.

By Professional Mariner Staff