NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
121 MHz Emergency Radio Beacon Coverage Ends February 1
BoatUS Rents Newest 406 MHz Beacons for Offshore Passages
ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 27, 2009 – For boaters cruising offshore, having a way to summon help in an emergency is critical. For years cruisers and racers making offshore passages relied upon EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) utilizing the 121 MHz radio frequency. However, with better technology available in the newer 406 MHz EPIRBs, the US Coast Guard will cease monitoring the old frequency on February 1.
“406 MHz EPIRBs are now the standard for offshore distress signaling,” said BoatUS Foundation Rental EPIRB Program Manager David Carter. “They have better accuracy, fewer false alerts and greater reliability. Search and rescue agencies are able to respond quicker and pinpoint offshore boaters in trouble.”
The BoatUS Foundation highly recommends that boaters who make frequent offshore passages — generally considered to be at least 20 miles out from shore and too far for VHF radio or cell phone coverage — purchase and install a new 406 MHz EPIRB. Current retail pricing starts around $500. The Foundation also rents the 406 MHz EPIRBs for only $40 a week for those with a temporary need who only go offshore occasionally.
“Our BoatUS EPIRB Rental Program is perfect for someone entering an occasional offshore race, or making that once or twice a year passage to a new cruising ground such as Mexico or the Bahamas,” said Carter.
The decision to no longer monitor the 121 MHz radio frequency was made by the international satellite-based search and rescue organization, COSPAS/SARSAT, nearly nine years ago, giving time for mariners to transition to the newer technology.
For more information on the BoatUS EPIRB rental program, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb or call 888-66-EPIRB (888-663-7472).
About BoatUS Foundation:
Founded in 1981, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research organization primarily funded by the voluntary contributions of the 600,000 members of BoatU.S. It excels in providing safe, smart and clean boating resources for boat owners nationwide.