Emergency signaling devices are important for people like you who like to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are in an emergency on the water or air and you need help, flares, EPIRBs, PLB, AIS MOB, and other devices can come in handy since distress signals cover a very short range of visibility.
Because being found is mostly your responsibility, we’ve gathered a list of emergency signaling devices you need.
What is Emergency Signaling Devices?
Emergency signaling devices are meant for obtaining help. Distress signals are used by transmitting radio signals, displaying a visually observable item or illumination, or making a sound audible from a distance. If you are in an emergency and need help, these devices can help seek rescue.
They are used by signaling mayday, pan, or SOS in morse codes. You can also display a v-sheet to attract the attention of the boats or overpassing aircraft. If you do not have a device, you can also slowly and repeatedly raise and lower your arms outstretched to each side.
Types of Emergency Signaling Devices
There are several types of signaling devices you need to heave, each designed for a specific purpose. Here are some of them.
Most sailors are familiar with the Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon, aka EPIRB, which is registered to your specific vessel, and when activated, can transmit your vessel’s information to the series of satellites that make up the international Cospas-Sarsat system. The information is then beamed to a Local User Terminal then to a mission control center and to the Coast guard. Rescuers receive details about your boar, location, and if you have an emergency contact number. EPIRBs are mounted to a fixed position on board your boat and are activated when they are submerged or manually if there is an emergency onboard.
If you’re operating a lightweight craft, you may opt for a personal locator beacon or PLB. Remember that it must be GPS-enabled, floats, can be worn by the operator, complies with AS/NZ 4280.20, is registered with AMSA, and is in service.
Another type of emergency signaling device is the AIS MOB which is designed for the person, not the boat. It transmits your location to the AIS receivers on the boats around you, and send out a GS signal to satellites to alert the authorities.
Remember that distress beacons should be disabled before you dispose of them. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for disablement, and contact a local waste management facility to see about disposing of your unwanted beacon in an environmentally friendly way. You can also contact your local battery store to check whether they disconnect and dispose of beacons. A small fee may apply.
Handheld orange smoke signals are also important, and they can be seen for up to 4km. They should be used in daylight to pinpoint your position and must comply with the country’s standards. You may also want to invest in handheld red distress flares. These have a visibility range of 10km and are designed to be used at night, although they also work during the day. Remember to always delay the use of flares until you see an aircraft, or until people on short or in boars are in visual range. Make sure that you carefully follow the activation instruction of all flares.
Another one is the red star parachute distress rocket which is designed to fire a red star to a height of approximately 300m. The star burns while falling for at least 40 seconds and can be seen from the greatest distance due to its intensity and elevation from sea level.