By Ben Ellison
McMurdo Pains Wessex Fastfind PLBs
A year and a half ago, some of us civilian boaters were a little jealous when thousands of Coast Guard personnel were equipped with these Personal Locator Beacons capable of 406-MHz satellite calling and 121.5-MHz homing. Last July the FCC decided that all Americans, even landlubbers, could have PLBs. The $750 Fastfind is particularly petite at nine ounces and 6"x3"x2" and features a five-year, user-replaceable battery. And the $1,200 Fastfind Plus is the only PLB currently built with an internal GPS, adding only two ounces to the same case and considerably speeding up search and rescue—at least potentially. Some experts are beginning to wonder if all this technology, particularly the GPS part, can be squeezed into such a convenient package and still perform optimally. Read my column for further information.
McMurdo Pains Wessex Phone: (800) 576-2605. www.mcmpw.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.