Trial by Error
ACR’s latest personal locator beacon was designed by survivors.
Everything was going fine, until it wasn’t. Mikele D’Arcangelo of ACR Electronics has heard this story dozens of times from people whose boats sank, burned or lost power while underway. They needed help—fast.
D’Arcangelo estimates that beacons have saved tens of thousands of lives. The latest in the company’s line of personal locator beacons (PLBs) is the ResQLink View ($360), a hand-held, buoyant device with 28 hours of battery life.
Unlike other PLBs on the market, the View doesn’t require a monthly subscription. Just register it with NOAA and you’re good to go. When the distress button is activated, a signal goes out every 52 seconds and the screen alerts the user that it was sent successfully. Unlike the Garmin inReach, however, there’s no confirmation that the signal was received. But D’Arcangelo says with access to three global satellite networks, the likelihood of a failed signal is extremely low. Each beacon is tested before it leaves the Ft. Lauderdale factory.
We brought the ResQLink View on recent trips to the Pacific Northwest and Florida. It clipped on tightly to our backpacks and pockets, and the removable plastic piece covering the power button inspired confidence that we weren’t going to accidentally activate a rescue mission—no doubt the fastest way to ensure we’d never be allowed to leave the office again. It also accompanied me on a landlubber rock climbing trip, where I not only avoided an emergency, but came home with a diamond ring. Maybe this little beacon brings good fortune—for those who have to use it, and even those who don’t.