US law to encourage EPIRBs on all boats
Electronic distress beacons as a primary method of signaling distress at sea have been boosted by a new law in Florida. The law offers any boat carrying a 406 MHz locator beacon a 25 per cent discount from their boat registration fees.
Whilst the law does not affect British sailors, Ocean Signal, which manufactures the beacons, including EPIRBs and PLBs, is calling on other states and countries to introduce similar legislation.
The law reflects a move away from flares, according to sailing author Alastair Buchan: ‘Flares are now a last resort when it comes to calling for help, but if they might assist in a rescue, then light them up.’
The law won't be copied in the UK, though, according to RYA cruising manager Stuart Carruthers: ‘Registration in the UK is cheap and voluntary, unlike Florida, but PLBs and EPIRBs are valuable bits of kit.’