Ocean Signal’s Award-Winning rescueME PLB3 Beacon Saves Lives in Harrowing Catamaran Rescue

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In a gripping testament to Ocean Signal’s ground-breaking rescueME PLB3 beacon, seasoned catamaran competitors Theodore Gijsbers and Maud Van Toorenburg share their harrowing experience during an open catamaran competition on the Haringvliet, Saturday, October 14, 2023. Battling treacherous weather conditions and a capsized catamaran, their survival story underscores the pivotal role the PLB3 played in their rescue.

“The waves were so unpredictable; we lost our balance and found ourselves suspended in the trapeze behind the boat”, recalls Theodore. “The catamaran capsized, and although Maud was able to put it upright again, the wind was relentless and propelled the vessel forward. Despite multiple attempts, we found ourselves clinging beneath the catamaran, being dragged through the water. To have any chance, we just had to let go.”

The Haringvliet presented Theodore Gijsbers and Maud Toorenburg with a formidable challenge, testing their skill and courage in treacherous weather conditions. The duo encountered relentless wind fluctuations ranging from 23 to 28 knots, gusts exceeding 30 knots, and unusually high waves caused by the wind’s unique 13-degree orientation over the Haringvliet. These conditions made the environment tumultuous and demanding, pushing the participants to their limits. The intensity reached a critical point when The Blue Heron, their F18 Nacra Evolution, capsized, and left the crew isolated in the expansive waters.

After multiple attempts to climb back onto the catamaran proved futile, Theodore Gijsbers and Maud Van Toorenburg were now out of sight of each other and faced the daunting reality of staying afloat and swimming to shore. In a historic turn of events, both survivors independently activated their Ocean Signal rescueME PLB3 beacon, marking the device’s maiden documented rescue.

The rescueME PLB3, recipient of the prestigious 2022 Overall DAME Design Award, proved its mettle as a vital tool for maritime safety. Designed to unite the global response capabilities of the Cospas-Sarsat rescue services with cutting-edge AIS technology, the PLB3 issued an immediate distress alert to rescue authorities while also indicating the exact MOB (Man Overboard) position to nearby vessels.

Floating alone in the northern fairway of the Haringvliet, both survivors fortunately made it back to shore where, within just one hour of beacon activation, they were rescued by a nearby participating catamaran who had been alerted by the AIS MOB signal. Theodore Gijsbers and Maud Van Toorenburg credit the PLB3 as their lifeline in the face of adversity.

Ocean Signal’s unwavering commitment to innovation and safety shines through in the PLB3, offering mariners a reliable and effective tool to navigate unpredictable seas safely. As vocal advocates for maritime safety, Theodore Gijsbers and Maud Van Toorenburg call for the adoption of such life-saving technologies to ensure the well-being of maritime enthusiasts globally.

In further support of maritime safety, Ocean Signals Survivor Club program provides a free replacement beacon for all owners of its EPIRBs and PLBs who activate their beacons in an emergency.

For more information about the rescueME PLB3 and other Ocean Signal products, please visit www.oceansignal.com.