First four frequency EPIRBS launched
SMM is always a hotbed for marine safety and survival launches, and one of the highlights this year has to be McMurdo’s announcement of a new family of EPIRBs that will accelerate the search and rescue process by combining multiple frequencies into a single EPIRB product.
The McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro EPIRBs are claimed be the world’s first distress beacons that can support each of the four frequencies used in the search and rescue process: 406MHz and 121.5MHz for beacon transmission, GNSS for location positioning, and AIS for localized connectivity. This multiple-frequency capability is intended to ensure faster detection, superior positioning accuracy, greater signal reliability and, ultimately, accelerated rescue of people or vessels in distress.
“With this announcement, we continue our long tradition of market leadership and product innovation in the maritime industry,” said Justine Heeley of McMurdo UK. “From GMDSS shipsets to AIS man overboard devices to personal locator beacons, and now with these latest EPIRB advancements, we are dedicated to developing state-of-the-art technologies that keep people safe while navigating our world’s waterways.”
The majority of today’s EPIRBs use 406MHz and 121.5MHz frequencies via satellite communication to provide location and positioning data to global search and rescue personnel who may be several hundred miles away. The additional AIS channels on the new McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS and Kannad SafePro AIS EPIRBs will send position signal information to standard AIS electronic equipment on nearby vessels for complementary, local tracking and rescue capabilities. This global and local rescue capability will result in quicker signal detection and faster response times.
McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro EPIRBs have a multiple GNSS satellite constellation receiver supporting Galileo, GPS and GLONASS – from a single beacon. Advanced GNSS data processing results in faster detection of positioning coordinates and enhances the accuracy of the emergency location.
As the world’s only provider of an end-to-end search and rescue ecosystem – including distress beacons, satellite ground stations, mission control and rescue coordination systems, and rescue response products – McMurdo uniquely builds, integrates and tests products as part of a live search and rescue system. The company claims that this ensures greater cohesion between distress signal transmission and reception so that beacon owners can feel confident that their signals will get to search and rescue authorities quickly.
The EPIRBs are also designed to be fully compatible with MEOSAR, the next generation of the Cospas-Sarsat international search and rescue satellite.
By Jake Frith
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