EPIRBS – Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

Hello, I’m Petty Officer James Harless with the Seventh Coast Guard District. Boating safety is always important to the Coast Guard. Today we have Petty Officer Nick Amin on location at Coast Guard Station Miami Beach to show us how one little device can make a huge difference this boating season.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, also known as an EPIRB. This handy signaling device offers search and rescue assistance from the Coast Guard to take the “search” out of Search and Rescue.

It’s a very simple process. When a boater is in distress, they can activate their EPIRB, which transmits a signal to the satellite, which is then relayed to the Coast Guard. From there, we evaluate the signal and launch the appropriate asset. Although having an EPIRB can greatly increase your chances of survival in a distress situation, failing to register your EPIRB and keep your information up to date can significantly increase Coast Guard response time.

Absolutely. The Coast Guard cannot stress enough the importance of registering your EPIRB. Thank you, Petty Officer Bannon.

Petty Officer Amin, I understand you were actually able to witness an EPIRB demonstration today at the station.

I spoke with the commanding officer of station Miami Beach, Lt. John Corbitt and he ran us through the days events. Today we’re going over a new piece of equipment, which is the DF Backpack. It’s basically a portable way of finding a signal which is emitted either from a VHF radio or an EPIRB. The huge benefit to this is to be able to cut down the time we spend searching for either a vessel or a vessel that’s equipped with a 406 EPIRB. It cuts down a lot of time we’ve been spending searching around areas with our small boats, and it just basically lets us find the person in distress a lot quicker.

Additionally, we are told that these EPIRBS can be purchase online or in boating stores ranging from about $400 to $1400 dollars. And the Coast Guard stresses that you cannot place a price tag on a human life.

Also, the Coast Guard encourages boaters to wear a life jacket, file a float plan, and have a working VHF radio on board their vessel.

For more information on boater’s safety, visit USCGboating.org.

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