406 Day is a national campaign run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a day to celebrate the over 50,000 lives that have been saved through the use of 406 MHz beacons and the Cospas-Sarsat Satellite system. 406 Day also serves to raise awareness about the benefits and responsibilities of owning Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) while boating.
Every year, thousands of people take to the water for recreation and adventure. However, with the excitement of boating comes the risk of accidents and emergencies. Being prepared for such scenarios is crucial. That’s where EPIRBs and PLBs come into play. These devices are lifesaving tools that can help ensure boaters and their families stay safe while enjoying the water.
EPIRBs are devices that are mounted on boats and are used to alert rescue authorities of a distress situation. When activated, an EPIRB sends a signal to the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system, which then relays the information to local search and rescue organizations. This provides rescuers with the exact location of the distressed boat and its occupants, allowing them to respond quickly and efficiently.
PLBs are similar to EPIRBs but are designed to be carried by individuals, such as hikers, campers, and boaters. PLBs are smaller and more compact than EPIRBs, making them easy to carry in a backpack or attach to a life jacket. When activated, PLBs also send a distress signal to the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system, which alerts rescuers of the location and nature of the emergency.
In partnership with the United States Coast Guard, the National Safe Boating Council encourages boaters to register, test, and maintain their devices. Owning and using an EPIRB or PLB is the best way to increase the likeliness a boater is found in an emergency situation. By being prepared and having at least two reliable forms of communication, boaters can help ensure they and their families stay safe while enjoying the water.