Beacon rentals come in handy in an emergency

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2004

Special to the News-Herald

One of the great things about writing this column is getting notes on various programs and efforts in the world of boating safety. These e-mails not only provide a great source of ideas for future columns but also allow me to &uot;spread the word&uot; on some very good information.

Earlier this week the Fifth District Commander Rear Admiral Brice O’Hara sent me an e-mail which discussed BoatU.S.’s Emergency Beacon Rental Program. As many snowbirds get ready to head south to Florida, Central South America and the Caribbean, equipping their vessels with an Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) becomes more important than ever!

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Let me tell you all about BoatU.S.’s rental program. How many people were rescued by the Coast Guard because they had a BoatU.S. Rental EPIRB onboard? Answer – 11! Thanks to this innovative program 11 people have their life, including three people rescued 120 east of nearby Cape Hatteras.

An EPRIB is simply a positioning beacon which provides would be rescuers a good idea where the person in trouble is. Having a working EPIRB onboard could be the difference between life and death in rough fall weather.

What makes the BoatU.S. Program so unique? Consider the following: The whole program is funded by contribution from the BoatU.S. membership numbering 575,000 strong.

The cost for rental of an EPIRB is very inexpensive – $50/week for a piece of equipment that would cost upwards of a thousand dollars. Easy to operate, easy to install. The whole program is funded through BoatU.S.’s Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.

The BoatU.S. Press Release goes on to quote Capt. Steve Sawyer, Chief, USCG Office of Search and Rescue (G-OPR) about the program, &uot;We’d like to express our grateful appreciation to BoatU.S. for its dedicated efforts in improving the safety and welfare of recreational boaters throughout the world.

The Coast Guard Search and Rescue Program, in close coordination with the Boating Safety Program and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, continuously seeks improved methods to avert search and rescue cases through education and prevention – the BoatU.S. EPIRB Rental Program is one initiative that directly supports this goal.&uot;

Readers, I cannot emphasize what a good deal this program is not only for its value but for pure piece of mind, as unpredictable as the weather has been off-shore. For more information about renting an EPIRB, call the BoatU.S. Foundation at 888-663-7472 or visit

its Web site at Believe it or not, shipping is also included. Until next week…Boat Safe, and Boat Smart!