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For the term "PLB".

EPIRB and PLB Return Link Service, what’s the holdup?

Over 15 months ago, I got excited about the first PLB with Return Link Service (RLS), a Cospas-Sarsat system improvement that would let a boater know that their distress signal had been received ashore along with their location. And it was supposed to be operational in early 2020, at least for some regions, and RLS capable EPIRBs would soon follow. But you still can’t purchase Orolia’s FastFind ReturnLink or any other RLS beacon in the USA and some of the countries that do permit them only allow RLS PLBs while others only allow RLS EPIRBs. What happened?…


Return Link Service, a major PLB & EPIRB improvement

Many of us carry an EPIRB or PLB satellite distress beacon for worst-case emergencies at sea, and while they’ve earned an excellent success record, they also have a nerve-racking drawback. The rare boater who actually activates one will not know if the distress message was received until the search and rescue heroes actually show up. Or don’t show up! But that intensely tense uncertainty is about to change thanks to a newly revealed technology called the Return Link Service (RLS)…


Using your PLB/EPIRB better & testing ACR’s ResQLink View

In this dangerous world, most types of boating are quite safe activities. But when things do go wrong afloat, getting the needed help can be a lot harder than it is ashore because of poor communications. So I was pleased to learn about an easy way to make the excellent safety communication tools known as PLBs and EPIRBs a little more effective…

McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB, first of many, PLBs too? 20

McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB, first of many, PLBs too?

McMurdo_SmartFind_E8_G8_and_G8_AIS_EPIRBs_aPanbo.jpgLet’s first note that McMurdo’s trailblazing SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB still awaits FCC approval and probably won’t be for sale in the U.S. until spring (along with its more conventional E8 and G8 siblings). But McMurdo has definitely developed this useful combination of local and global rescue beacon, other manufacturers may have AIS EPIRBs in the works, and I’ve got some details about how they’ll work. I also have some safety tips from an acquaintance who just dramatically experienced the effectiveness of a current ACR EPIRB…

Ocean Signal RescueME, best PLB yet? 17

Ocean Signal RescueME, best PLB yet?


The Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB introduced this morning at METS is not just a little smaller than the competition; it’s purportedly 30% smaller in volume and that claim seems borne out by the photo. Size is important because the smaller a distress beacon is the more likely it is that the owner will have it with him or her when it’s actually needed. Of course when things go wrong a PLB has got to work well too, even if it’s years old, and the RescueMe also looks good in those terms…

The smallest PLB: ACR ResQLink or Satro PLB-110? 5

The smallest PLB: ACR ResQLink or Satro PLB-110?


I was pleased to get an email from NOAA this weekend reminding me to renew the registration of the ACR AquaLink View PLB I first tested in 2010. I’m especially aware of how important it is to keep distress beacon info up to date because in Miami I got to visit the USCG District 7 SAR Command Center and meet the folks who tend to 44% of all CG EPIRB/PLB activations. And since ACR nicely gave all the attendees a new ResQLink+ to test, I registered that too. As the photo shows, ACR makes it easy by providing the NOAA form with the beacon specifics already filled in and even a postage paid envelope (and ditto for the warranty), but I went online…

ACR: new PLB & Iridium partnership(s) 9

ACR: new PLB & Iridium partnership(s)


I think ACR has really advanced PLB technology in recent years, what with its AquaLink View and 406Link testing/messaging service.  But up until now it didn’t have a competitive response to McMurdo’s extra small and extra inexpensive Fast Find 210.  Well, hello ResQLink, which now lays claim to “world’s smallest PLB” along with a few features that may demand a response from McMurdo.  ResQLink has an antenna that the user can repack, for instance, which is one reason why it can do a full through-satellite test (with GPS) using the 406Link service.  Doug Ritter put up an early and thorough ResQLink/Fast Find comparison here — and note that the FCC disclaimer still applies, probably until late February — but do come back to hear about what ACR is up to with Iridium…