The EPIRB on your boat is the user element of an international system called Cospas-Sarsat. This system — developed by the U.S., the USSR (after the breakup of the USSR, Russia continued to participate), France and Canada — began in 1979 as an agreement between the four nations for a satellite-based system for aiding downed aircraft and mariners in distress. Transceivers were first included onboard low Earth orbit (LEO) polar-orbiting weather satellites. These transceivers pick up the signals from EPIRBs and emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) on aircraft and retransmit them down to Earth stations. Later, similar Sarsat transceivers were added to geostationary satellites and to GPS, GLONASS and Galileo medium Earth orbit (MEO) navigation satellites. The result is that 54 satellites are listening for EPIRB and ELT signals, and together provide coverage for the entire globe.
The Earth stations, called local user terminals (LUTs), send the distress signals to 34 mission control centers (MCCs) around the world. The MCCs evaluate the case and then send the info to the appropriate Rescue Coordination Center (RCC). These are the facilities that actually dispatch search and rescue (SAR) vessels and aircraft to find and assist the boat in distress or downed aircraft.
In general, the system works very well and has a long history of successful rescues. With the advent of 406-MHz EPIRBs that can broadcast their GPS-derived positions, the system has gotten even better and more precise.
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Satellite phones have evolved a full ecosystem of gear and services
Thoughts on voyaging responsibly
Yankee sails on
The steel ketch Yankee in the Connecticut River.
TRANSPAC RACE PREP
How a group of determined mostly military veterans built a race team
NOAA upgrades its global weather model
More data and a better global weather model should make for improved weather distributed to users, like this temperature gradient map.
From North Sea fishing to Sea of Cortez voyaging
The former Dutch fishing vessel turned power voyaging yacht Varnebank in Mexican waters.
IN 2019, MY HUSBAND, DOUG PASNIK, AND I RACED OUR first Transpac together with a team of 10 on our Andrews 70, Trader, comprised primarily of military veterans (see story on page 22). This year we are doing the race again and inviting four mentees from The Magenta Project to race with us.
Doing it all with one screen
The steering station on this Gunboat cat is equipped with large-screen B&G Zeus MFDs.
Don't scrimp when it comes to the crimp
Solid crimp connections make your power voyager’s electrical system more reliable.
Maritime Publishing acquires Ocean Navigator
FROM BELARUS WITH LOVE
A Survivor of Nuclear Meltdown and Government Collapse Shares His Insight on Preparedness
KIRBY'S DREAM WORLD
George Kirby has as much helium as any prospect in baseball. Along with Emerson Hancock, he headlines a wave of power pitchers making their way to Seattle.
New year in a new world: Navigating COVID's maritime realities
In a matter of days, the decorative time balls will drop, “Auld Lang Syne” will fill the air, and ships at anchor will sound their horns as the world welcomes in the new year.
BIGGER THAN SPORTS
Players taking a stand is part of baseball’s history
Alternative Rigs for Multihulls
I’ve posted some brief notes about multihull rigs on the “Useful Articles” pages of my website, www.sailingcatamarans. com. There, in the “Different Design Features” section, I explain why the sensible choice for multihulls is the single-mast Bermudian rig, either masthead or fractional rig.
Garden Club maintains ‘secluded gem'
Mariners Park in its 59th year
Three dead after collision sinks towboat on Lower Mississippi
34TH ANNUAL LONDON BRIDGE SEAPLANE CLASSIC
A premier floatplane event
FILL 'EM UP
The Mariners’ gas camp gets big results for a plethora of pitchers
Eagles, Mariners rock GSA gym in overtime game
Both teams headed to playoffs