Electronic Emergency Communications Devices for Boaters

Carrying multiple electronic emergency communications devices on board is prudent seamanship.
Courtesy SpotX, ACR, Ocean Signal SpotX, ACR and Ocean Signal all make electronic emergency communications devices for boaters.

This article originally appeared on BoatingMag.com

No one wants to use a satellite distress beacon or other electronic emergency communications device, but prudent seamanship dictates having one or more on board in the event of a worst-case scenario. Here are three types to consider.

Sat Messenger: SpotX with Bluetooth

The Uplink: With a SpotX two-way satellite messenger, a keyboard lets you transmit an international SOS via the GEOS satellite network, along with your position using built-in GPS. Private monitoring bases coordinate a response. You can also send and receive messages with a Bluetooth connection to your cellphone. Operational battery life is 240 hours for this compact device.

The Disconnect: Unlike an EPIRB or PLB, SpotX requires a subscription plan, starting at $11.95 per month.

Price: $249.96 (plus service plan); findmespot.com

EPIRB: ACR GlobalFix V4

The Uplink: This EPIRB has GPS, auto water activation, a 10-year battery, 48-hour broadcast time, self-test functions, LED strobe and upright flotation. It operates on COSPAR-SARSAT and MEOSAR satellite networks for global coverage with no subscription fee. The battery is user-replaceable. ACR’s optional 406Link.com portal sends confirmation test messages via cellphone or email.

The Disconnect: Needs to be registered for effective rescue response. Auto-release bracket is optional.

Price: $469.95; acrartex.com

PLB: Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1

The Uplink: At about 2 inches wide by 3 inches tall, you can put this waterproof device in your pocket or clip it to a life jacket or belt. It requires manual activation and operates on the global COSPAR-SARSAT and MEOSAR satellite systems. It includes a GPS, seven-year battery life, 24-hour broadcast time, LED strobe, test function and retractable antenna.

The Disconnect: Needs to be registered. The PLB must be attached to its pouch in order to float.

Price: $299.95; thegpsstore.com


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