Personal locator beacons
Cutting the Fat
Personal locator beacons get slim and trim
There seems to be something of an arms race going on between rival manufacturers to produce the smallest and lightest PLB on the market: Kannad’s Safelink Solo is already narrowly beaten by the FastFind models (with or without GPS) from sister company McMurdo, but ACR reps at Miami were already giving sneak previews of their ResQlink, which is half an inch shorter and an ounce lighter. With FCC approval still in the pipeline, it's not yet available in the United States, but look out for it in a the next few weeks—and expect dealer discounts of about $40 to $50 to knock its list price of $325 down to head-on competition with the Kannad.
Meanwhile, Kannad is also awaiting FCC approval for their Safelink R10 “Survivor Recovery System.” The concept isn't entirely new, but so far as I know, it’s scored a world-first by getting a personal AIS man-overboard recovery system into production.
Slightly smaller and lighter than a PLB, at 4.7 inches long and 4.23 ounces, the R10SRS is designed to be packed into a PFD. When triggered—either manually or by the inflation of the PFD, it uses its integral GPS to locate itself, and AIS technology to broadcast its position to anyone with an AIS receiver within a radius of about four miles. It’s expected to receive FCC approval in the early summer, and to retail at about $350.
This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.