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

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Ben, Great comments. I would encourage anyone interested in this capability to submit comments to NOAA. Obviously its ultimately up to each national administration in the world to decide what types of beacons they will and will not permit in their country. Right now it would seem that the U.S. is undecided on beacons with RLS capability, hence the request for public comments. Regardless of what the U.S. finally decides related to the sale of RLS capable beacons, they will still work here. So if for example you purchased an RLS beacon in France and brought it with you to the U.S. to go hiking in the Rockies and got into trouble and set it off, then the RLS function would work. Chris

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks to Charles Starke for emailing this good idea, which I will incorporate into my NOAA comments:

    “I suggest that as many people as possible request a line in the Beacon Registration form to list your web voyage location position and date information. A sample letter and NOAA response is below. This Beacon information is available to all emergency services worldwide.

    Dear Sir {at NOAA},
    It is now possible to record a continuous position track at sea through AIS class A and B+ (with Marine Tracking), Garmin Inreach, SSB Airmail and Winlink service, Iridium Go and other satellite devices. So it is now easy to immediately confirm a position at sea of a boat at sea sending an emergency EPIRB signal rather than first contacting the emergency contact on an NOAA EPIRB registration form. The NOAA EPIRB registration form should, therefore, have a line to report not only the satellite telephone number but also the position tracking website in use by the vessel or person registering the EPIRB.”

    Charles also pointed out the good work being done at BoatWatch.org and this specific advice:


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