NEW ORLEANS – Friday is 406 Day this year. 406 Day is a national campaign run by NOAA to spread awareness of the importance of emergency position indicating radio beacons, or EPIRBS, and personal locator beacons, or PLBs, in boating safety.
In 2017, the Eighth Coast Guard District responded to 344 distress signals from EPIRBS aboard aircraft and boats.
An EPIRB works by transmitting a signal that is picked up by a satellite and then relayed to a rescue coordination center.
All beacon owners are reminded that beacon registration is free, easy, and is required by law. Federal law requires that all EPIRBs be registered in the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database, which is free to all beacon owners.
When beacon owner information changes, it should be updated online at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov or by contacting the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database at 1-888-212-SAVE (7283).
Owners are required to validate their beacon information every two years to ensure their contact information is Up-to-date. Current beacon owner information allows search and rescue responders to work more efficiently and can decrease response time during distress situations.
If your EPIRB is accidentally activated, contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 1-855-406-USCG (8724) and provide them with the beacon’s ID to cancel the false alert.
Search and Rescue personnel begin responding immediately to every activation of a distress beacon. Cancellation of false alerts helps protect SAR personnel who would be utilized during an actual emergency, and ensures valuable resources are available to respond to actual distress cases.
“Registering your 406 MHz EPIRB or PLB is free, it’s easy, and this information will help confirm a distress situation exists as well as arranging for the appropriate search and rescue response,” said Chief Petty Officer Charles Froberg, command center supervisor for the Eighth Coast Guard District.
Note: Coast Guard members in your area may be available to discuss 406 Day and the importance of EPIRBs and PLBs. Contact the Coast Guard 8th District Public Affairs Office at 504-671-2020 to coordinate interviews.