The game of life is a game of boomerangs.

Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us

sooner or later with astounding accuracy. Florence Scovel Shinn

Why purchase a PLB and how does it work?

With the purchase of the personal location beacon, PLB you have invested in your own security. The personal location beacon is the last resort safeguard against any life threatening incidents that may occur anywhere in the world. A PLB will transmit your emergency alert message to search and rescue services even in remote areas without any other form of emergency communication. 

The same importance that emergency locator transmitters ELTs hold in the aviation market and EPIRBs in maritime transport, PLBs hold for the person, they are personal location beacons used in the event of an emergency on land, sea or air.  While ELTs and EPIRBs identification code contains information about the aircraft or respectively vessel, a PLB carries personal registration details about the owner as well as emergency contact information.  This means that, once a PLB has been activated, the search and rescue services receive not only the accurate coordinates of the distress location but also the owner’s personal registration data and they are also able to contact his closest emergency contacts.  

The distress signal that a PLB transmits when activated, on 406MHz, is detected by COSPAS-SARSAT (international satellite-based search and rescue distress alert detection  and information distribution system) satellites in polar orbiting. In most cases the emergency alert is received within 5 minutes of activation but depending on satellite coverage at the time this can sometimes extend to 45 minutes. Once activated a PLB will continue to transmit emergency alerts for a minimum of 24 hours. The signal is than relayed via the Local User Terminal (LUT), that detects the signal and determines the locator’s position. The satellite can determine the position of the PLB within 5km. The signal with information about the location and other owner’s personal identification details is being transmitted via the Mission Control Centre (MCC) to the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) or appropriate Search and Rescue services (SAR) that ensure a quick search and rescue response. The PLB is capable of providing typical positional accuracy of +/- 50m and position updates every 20 minutes. In general, a PLB with an incorporated GPS function will typically alert the rescue services within 3 minutes. The PLB has a secondary distress transmitter that is used for “homing” purposes. When the rescue services get close, this allows them to direction find or “home” on it once they arrive on the scene.   

Since its inception in 1982 the Cospas-Sarsat System has provided distress alert information which has assisted in rescue of over 20.531 persons in 5.752 distress situations.