I think almost everyone involved in sailing is aware of the fact that registering your EPIRB or PLB is a free service provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in order to rescue those in distress. However despite this reports suggest that there are approximately 15,000 beacons that are not registered.
EPIRBs (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) and PLBs(Personal Locator Beacon)
Should be registered so that the coastguard knows your, name and type of vessel, contact number, maximum number of people on board, what type of communication systems you have on board, etc etc. This information is vital if a rescue mission is launched.
Steve Huxley the MCAs Search and Rescue Communications manager recently told PBOs yachting magazine that:
“If a beacon hasn’t been registered a search and rescue (SAR) would still go on, but the SAR responders ie helicopters or lifeboats would not know what they are going to. What we don’t want to do is arrive on the scene not knowing that it is a tanker with 30/40 people on board or a yacht with 6 people on board. There is concern, internationally and nationally about the registration of beacons. Its a free service and it only costs your time online or the cost of a stamp”.
So come on if you have a beacon, please register it! These guys do a fantastic job and could one day save your life or the life of a loved one, they need all the assistance they can get.
To register a beacon visit www.dft.gov.uk/mca/epirb