SART, what’s that on my radar?
If you see the distinctive twelve pulse signature above on your radar screen, it means that someone in trouble has activated a Search and Rescue Radar Transponder (SART). You’ll find them at the pulse closest to you. SARTs are a lesser known component of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), and thus are required on many commercial vessels, as well as some offshore races like the Fastnet. They’re designed to be used in addition to DSC or EPIRB distress calls, helping already alerted rescuers zero in from about 10 miles to within about 500 feet. Simrad’s new SA50 model is especially compact at about 10″ tall and 3″ wide. It can be set up to turn on when a life raft is deployed, or manually activated. It retails at $975, and uses a battery pack that does not require ‘hazardous’ handling and has a 5 year shelf life. (Why Simrad distributes highly angled and/or shadowy pictures baffles me, but I do appreciate seeing what a SART actually looks like in use).