A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a small electronic unit that, once triggered emits a distress signal to satellites that are tracked by AMSA – The Australian Maritime Safety Authority. There are two styles of unit available. One provides GPS coordinates to the rescue authority making this unit most efficient. The other does not provide the GPS signal, but can be tracked and located via the satellite information received. Some people refer to a PLB as an EPIRB, which technically is different, as EPIRBs are specific to marine vessels only.
Please refer to www.amsa.gov.au/Search_and_Rescue/ for more information on the system.
Your PLB has to be registered with AMSA before you intend to use it on your first trip, this service is provided at no cost. All models of PLB will provide instructions on registration and of course how to trigger if necessary.
A PLB can even be used internationally. The distress signal will be picked up by relevant authorities of the country you are in. Making it some of the cheapest insurance around.
At Alpsport we stock PLBs from Australian Manufacturer, GME, and also from Kannad. GME offer two models, one with GPS encoding and the other without. Kannad offer a GPS tracked version. Both brands emit the new 406 MHz frequency. All PLBs must be able to send an emergency signal for minimum 24 hours and have a battery life of minimum 7 years. The batteries are replaceable. Please refer to your manufacturers instructions.
People that may benefit by carrying a PLB are outdoors types that may venture into remote areas where phone reception or distance from help may impede a self-rescue. PLBs should only be triggered in an emergency situation at the user’s discretion, there are severe penalties if they are used incorrectly.