PER­SONAL LO­CA­TOR BEA­CONS

Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR / BOATINGLAB -

At one time, per­sonal lo­ca­tor bea­cons served only to send a one-way mes­sage via satel­lite to res­cue per­son­nel. The wait for res­cue is al­ways painful, but more so when you don’t know if any­body knows you need it. To­day, how­ever, PLBs have im­proved as­tro­nom­i­cally be­cause they can also use satel­lites for other com­mu­ni­ca­tions, such as texts, fam­ily track­ing and the abil­ity to sum­mon non-emer­gency tow­ing as­sis­tance. Some can even re­ceive a mes­sage, such as “help is on the way.”

We cold-started each de­vice and ini­ti­ated a test mes­sage to see how long it took to link to its satel­lite con­stel­la­tion and re­ceive the mes­sage via Gmail. We as­sume this process should ap­prox­i­mate the time needed to send and re­ceive an SOS.

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