Ocean Signal: Marine Safety Specialists Join Forces to Raise Beacon Awareness on ‘406Day’

Ocean Signal and distributor Ocean Safety team up to remind boaters of the importance of life-saving 406 MHz technology on #406Day17

Two UK marine safety specialists are issuing important advice to boat owners about the benefits and responsibilities of owning a 406 MHz beacon on ‘406Day’ this April 6th.
Using #406Day17, the leading suppliers of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Ocean Signal and Ocean Safety, have joined forces to raise awareness about the life-saving technology and to highlight safety checks and procedures for beacons as boaters prepare for the season.
The annual awareness day was initiated by Ocean Signal’s sister company, Florida-based ACR Electronics, and was this year officially recognised as a state-wide day in its home state for the first time. Informing boaters about the life-saving technology used by EPIRBs and PLBs, and helping people understand how to register, use and maintain their beacons correctly, the day is also a celebration of the over 40,000 lives saved by using 406 MHz beacons and the COSPAS-SARSAT Satellite system.
Alistair Hackett, General Manager at Ocean Safety, comments: “Awareness days like this are always great to get people thinking about the kit that they have and the ways in which it can help save lives. The COSPAS-SARSAT EPIRB system and its use of 406 MHz has saved countless lives since its inception, however it is critical that modern beacons and their use are fully understood by owners and operators. Ensuring you understand how to use your EPIRB, when to use your EPIRB and that your EPIRB is serviced correctly is extremely important.”
James Hewitt, Sales and Marketing Manager, Ocean Signal, added: “406Day is a really good opportunity to highlight some important safety checks and procedures for beacon owners. EPIRBs, for the vessel, and PLBs, which are registered to a person, are a fast and effective way to send an alert and enable the search and rescue authorities to identify and locate a casualty. However, it is vital that these essential safety devices are properly registered and maintained so that the beacons can be relied upon to function correctly when activated. 406 MHz signals save lives, but it is a technology that requires responsibility.”
Jointly committed to improving the safety of those out in the water, Ocean Signal, its UK distributor Ocean Safety and ACR Electronics offer the following checklist to serve as a reminder to check expiration dates and ensuring correct registry:

  • Is your EPIRB registered?
  • When was your EPIRB last tested/serviced?
  • Is your EPIRB programmed?
  • What is the battery life of your EPIRB and when does it need to be replaced?
  • Do you know how to self-test your EPIRB to ensure it is working correctly?

To help answer the questions, the following advice is provided to ensure best practice for beacon ownership:
Register and update your 406 MHz beacon registration
All beacon owners should register their device with the appropriate authorities. UK users of EPIRBS and PLBs should register their details on the UK Beacon Registry at www.gov.uk/406beacon. This free and simple registration will speed up a rescue and provide Search and Rescue with information about you and your vessel which is vital in an emergency. In other countries contact your local authority. Details can be found at www.406registration.com/countriessupported.aspx.
Check your 406 MHz beacon battery expiration dates
Users must check the expiry dates to ensure the EPIRB or PLB will function correctly when required in an emergency. When selecting your beacon, key considerations include the added convenience of user replaceable batteries and the reassurance of a long battery operating life. Ocean Signal leads the industry in these areas of innovation. The SafeSea E100G EPIRB features user replaceable batteries with a five-year replacement interval. The rescueME PLB1, meanwhile, has a seven-year battery life. The rescueME EPIRB1 has even longer battery life at a massive ten years between routine replacements.
Test your 406 MHz beacon
You should test your EPIRB using the ‘self-test mode’ once a month to monitor the 406 MHz RF power, as well as the 121.5MHz homer RF power, synthesiser lock and battery voltage under load. Ocean Signal also recommends regular inspection to ensure: no obvious signs of damage, including the state of the antenna; secure mounting on the bracket or float free housing; the lanyard is not attached to any structures; the HRU (Hydrostatic Release Unit) in the case of a float free housing is within the specified expiry date; the EPIRB and mounting is cleaned, only using a damp cloth. It is also recommended to carry out routine testing of your PLB to ensure it is in good working order, using the specified ‘Test’ key. Ocean Signal suggests you do not test the GPS receiver more than once a year as it expends significant amounts of battery energy.
EPIRBs and PLBs operate on the 406 MHz frequency. Each 406 MHz beacon transmits a unique digital code that identifies the type of beacon and allows registration data to be associated with the beacon. The registration data provides information such as the beacon owner, the type of vessel and emergency points of contact.
“406Day has not only created social media buzz but has also created useful content and has opened meaningful dialogue regarding safety precautions in the boating industry,” said Nichole Kalil, ACR Media Specialist. “406Day occurs during spring when people are gearing up for summer boating, so the timing to share boating safety messages is perfect.”
Ocean Safety offers visual inspection and test sequence check of all leisure beacons at their four UK branches. For information about the full range of products available from Ocean Signal, please go to www.oceansignal.com.

Social media notes:

  • When sharing messages online regarding 406Day, use #406Day17 and #savedbythebeacon and tag the ACR Electronics accounts on Twitter @acrartex
  • Celebrate the story of a life saved by a 406Beacon, like Clive Cresswell who was rescued recently after activating his Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1 –