406Day raises awareness about emergency beacons

ACR emergency beacon for boaters

Today safety partners are joining forces again to mark the annual 406Day, raising awareness and promoting the benefits of emergency beacons as interest in outdoor recreational activities continues to surge.

With more people than ever looking for ways to socially distance and head out on the water or try new adventures in the mountains, tracks, trails and other remote areas, the 406Day message highlighting the importance of EPIRBs (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), PLBs (Personal Locator Beacon) and ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitter) takes on even greater significance in 2021.

This 406Day (#406Day21), ACR Electronics and aviation, outdoor and boating safety partners are urging new boaters, outdoor enthusiasts and aviators to understand the life-saving features of 406 MHz beacons, as well as the responsibilities of owning a device, so they can enjoy the outdoors safely this year and help the emergency services to find them quickly when a rescue operation is necessary.

Mikele D’Arcangelo, Vice President of Global Marketing & Product Management, ACR Electronics, said: “It is really important that people are properly prepared and equipped at all times. For the last nine years, 406Day has successfully raised awareness about 406 MHz Emergency Locator Beacons, particularly how to test and register your beacon. This year, our focus is to help new boaters and outdoor adventurers to understand that this technology exists, how it works, and that it is essential gear to have in your backpack, on your boat, or in your ditch bag.”

For new users, ACR is raising awareness about the different types of beacons which operate on the 406 MHz frequency - EPIRBs for boats, PLBs for anyone participating in boating, watersports and outdoor adventures, and ELTs for planes. Carried ready for activation in an emergency to instantly access rescue services via the designated 406 MHz Cospas-Sarsat satellite system, each 406 MHz beacon transmits a unique digital code that identifies the type of beacon and allows registration data to be associated with the device. The registration data provides information such as the beacon owner, the type of vessel and emergency points of contact. All beacon owners should then update their beacon registration, check their battery expiration date, and self-test their beacons to make sure they are working perfectly. 

Here are a few tips for beacon owners to ensure their EPIRB, PLB or ELT will operate effectively in the event of an emergency.

  • Check the battery expiration date – Each beacon is marked with the Month and Year the battery needs to be replaced.
  • Update your beacon registration – Make sure your contact information is correct and your emergency contacts information is accurate to best assist Search and Rescue.
  • Double check your beacon registration number matches your beacon – This is especially important if you hand wrote your registration and mailed it in.
  • Test your beacon – 406Day is about getting beacon owners to be more comfortable with their beacon, so do a self-test and make sure it’s working perfectly.
  • Save a Friend – Take a picture with your EPIRB, PLB, or ELT and share it on your social media accounts using the hashtags #406Day21 and #beaconssavelives and tag some friends that you think might need one.

More than 48,000 lives have been saved worldwide since the mid-1980s by using emergency distress 406 MHz beacon signals and the Cospas-Sarsat system. Check out how the rescue system works here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOnei5vv7Yc

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