Ocean Signal: Ocean Signal Backs Florida Boating Safety Bill and Calls for Similar Initiatives Worldwide to Encourage Beacon Use

Ocean Signal rescueME EPIRB1 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

Floridian boaters with a 406 MHz locator beacon in their vessel will receive a 25% discount in registration fees as of July 1st
Leader in safety and communication Ocean Signal has backed the new Florida boating safety bill which has been introduced to encourage boaters to buy life-saving beacons.
Effective from July 1 2017, the new law offers boaters with a 406 MHz locator beacon in their vessel a 25% discount on their annual Florida boat registration fee.
The significant discount, which was made permanent in a bill passed out of the Legislature and signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott, is expected to save lives and reduce demands on Coast Guard search and rescue missions by ensuring more boaters invest in an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or a PLB (Personal Locating Beacon).
Currently, the beacon discount is only available for Floridians, so Ocean Signal is encouraging boat owners in other U.S. states and across the world to contact their House Representative or appropriate government representative to push for similar legislation.
ACR Electronics, which acquired Ocean Signal in 2015, is the founding sponsor of the AustinBlu Foundation, the driving force behind the approval of the discount for boaters. Mother Carly Black and father Blu Stephanos are committed to remembering their son Austin by promoting safe boating through education and by making maritime emergency technology as accessible as possible.
Ocean Signal U.S. Sales Manager, Rich Galasso said: “This new and permanent discount for boaters in Florida is fantastic news and is a great start in improving safety standards to save lives. This is the first step and we really hope more U.S. states and other countries will introduce similar discounts or revisit their vessel requirements in the near future to ensure that all boaters are equipped with these life-saving devices whenever they go out on the water.”
EPIRBs, for the vessel, and PLBs, which are registered to a person, are a fast and effective way to send an alert. They greatly assist the Coast Guard and search and rescue authorities across the world to identify and locate a casualty. Now 406 MHz emergency beacons, such as EPIRBs, are priced as low as $399 and PLBs can be priced as low as $269 (USA pricing). Both types of beacons offer users the security of a direct link to search and rescue personnel by providing their exact coordinates for the most efficient rescue possible.
A recent study demonstrates why the new initiative could be so significant for improving boating safety in the state. With more than 11,000 miles of rivers, coastlines and waterways, new U.S. Coast Guard data shows Florida leads the nation in boating accidents and boating deaths, a trend that has been growing in Florida and nationwide since 2013. There were 684 boating accidents in Florida alone in 2016, up from 671 the year before, and 581 in 2014, according to the report.
To qualify for the discount on their annual registration, boat owners must properly register a beacon by going to NOAA’s beacon registration site and filling out all the requested fields in relation to the owner’s beacon, boat and emergency contacts. Claiming the discount can only be done in person at one’s local tag agency.
Registration fees vary depending on boat length, from the smallest 12-foot-and-under category to the largest, 110-foot-and-over. The normal fees range from $5.50 to $189.75, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Important advice from Ocean Signal for boaters about the most effective survival devices to include in their safety kit has been highlighted in the latest Ship Shape TV video.
Informing boat owners about staying safe on the water as they prepare for the summer season, the episode of the specialist online show includes Galasso highlighting the benefits of carrying a compact PLB or an AIS Man Overboard (MOB) device attached to their life jacket, and mounting an EPIRB inside the boat.
Galasso said: “It is important people are aware that investing in a PLB or an MOB device could save lives in an emergency when every second counts. For those sailing offshore, it is vital that fellow crew or surrounding boats are alerted as soon as possible when a person falls overboard. A product such as our rescueME MOB1 automatically alerts all AIS receivers in the vicinity and activates the DSC alarm on the boat’s VHF radio, as soon as the life jacket is inflated. Meanwhile, a 406 MHz beacon, such as our rescueME PLB1, communicates the location of a survivor to emergency services at the press of a button.”
Ocean Signal is also urging all boaters to maintain and register their safety beacons, as well as check battery expiration dates, to ensure they function correctly in an emergency.
In the USA only, Ocean Signal is running a $50 mail in rebate  on all EPIRBs and PLBs through July 5th.
For more information on Ocean Signal’s beacons and other safety equipment, go to www.oceansignal.com. For more information on ACR Electronics’ beacons and other safety equipment, go to https://www.acrartex.com/
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For further information, please contact:
James Hewitt
Ocean Signal
Tel: +44 (0)1843 282930
E-mail: james.hewitt@oceansignal.com

Rich Galasso
Ocean Signal (USA)
E-mail: rich.galasso@oceansignal.com