US law to en­cour­age EPIRBs on all boats

Yachting Monthly - - NEWS -

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.’

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