Picture this. You’re out on a fishing boat miles and miles from the shore. When all of a sudden, out of no where, a storm hits. You haven’t kept up on the maintenance of the boat and with all the thrashing around, your hull springs a leak. Your boat is sinking with you on it. Do you know what you would do?
Luckily for you, one of the things you made sure that you had when you bought the boat was an EPIRB, otherwise known as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. You know they come in handy but you don’t know what the true purpose of this device is.
An EPRIB device contains: 5 watt radio transmitter operating at 406 MHz, a 0.25 Watt radio transmitter operating at 121.5 MHz, and a GPS receiver. Once the device has been activated, the EPIRB transmits the serial number on multiple frequencies to a GOES satellite, more then 24,000 miles up in space. The EPIRB signal transmits continuously for 48 hours. A properly registered EPIRB allows the U.S. Coast Guard to quickly establish the identity of the vessel in distress and the coordinates of that vessel.
Now there are three types of positioning beacons out there, you just have to be certain you get the correct one. EPIRBS are a used for Maritime distress signals, where as an ELT’s are for aircraft’s and PLB’s are for personal use, like when your hiking. The EPIRB has different categories. Category I is a float free, automatically activated EPIRB, which activates once underwater. Category II is manually activated EPIRB, which has to be turned on my someone.
So the steps of how the EPIRB works are as follows:
EPIRB is activated, either manually or automatically.
The signal of the distressed vessel is transmitted to a satellite system by a GPS frequency.
The signal is forwarded to a Ground station terminal.
Distress signal is forwarded to a Mission Control station.
It is then forwarded to a Rescue Coordination Center.
The distress signal coordinates are forwarded to the Local Search and Rescue.