National Boating Federation

Educational & Training Materials

Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Fund
(Download these brochures in a printable format)

EPIRB/PLB - The Life You Save Could Be Your Own

(Downloadable in a printable format or a PowerPoint file)

Recreational Boaters...

If you plan to GO OFFSHORE – (Great Lakes, Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico) – consider taking an EPIRB and PLB. It could save your life!

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency. It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency to a satellite that is then relayed by earth stations to the nearest rescue coordination center within moments of activation. EPIRBs that are equipped with a built-in GPS enables the rescue sources to more accurately identify your position and respond to the emergency.

Personal Location Beacons (PLB) are another type of 406 MHz emergency signaling devise. Usually smaller than an EPIRB, these devices are designed for individual personal use. There are many models available and functions can vary. These are not recommended for maritime use unless they are fully waterproof and can be submerged.

Choose the device that suites your needs and is right for your boating situation. Proper registration of your EPIRB or PLB is essential. This should be done at the time of purchase. You must provide the correct information to:

NBF Developed Safety Brochures Now Available Online...

The U.S. Coast Guard disseminated a Marine Safety Bulletin on 9-1-11 regarding recreational boaters and commercial mariners obtaining a MMSI number to go along with their Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radios. In response to their urgent safety warning the National Boating Federation in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard developed a new brochure, "DSC – Digital Selective Calling – Today’s SOS”. This brochure provides simple instructions on the requirements to enable boaters and mariners to be compliant with the new Rescue 21 program. Most importantly, it enhances the Coast Guard’s capability to more effectively respond to a DSC distress call.

9-1-2011 Marine Safety Bulletin:
'As the Coast Guard’s new marine radio network Rescue 21 becomes operational throughout the U.S., rescue centers can now receive instant distress alerts from commonly used DSC-capable VHF marine radios. However, approximately 90% of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60% do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio.'

NBF has also authored another brochure which points out the advantages of having a VHF radio on your vessel, however, if a cell phone is your only means of communication, there are specific instructions that should be followed.

The National Boating Federation is requesting that you download our "DSC - Digital Selective Calling - Today's SOS" brochure and our "Cell Phone Brochure - Only You Can Take the Search out of Search and Rescue!' and invites your use and dissemination of the information in our brochures for purposes of promoting marine safety in classes, public affairs and group presentations.

DSC - Digital Selective Calling - Today's S.O.S.

Cell Phone Brochure
"Only You Can Take the Search out of Search & Rescue"

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