Personal Locator Beacons (PLB's)


Published: July - 1998

Continuing subscribers may remember our report in last month's issue (see pages 9-10) on the use of Personal Locator Beacons (PLB's) in Alaska. In brief, these devices serve as sophisticated satellite beacons to assist search-and-rescue teams in finding people who are in life-threatening emergencies. The place to get one for a trip to Alaska is Eagle Enterprises in Anchorage. At this time, Alaska is the only state in the US where these devices are approved for use, but they are also approved and widely distributed throughout Canada.

We promised a followup report on their use in Canada, because a PLB would obviously be a good safety aide on many different kinds of hunts in Canada, particularly polar bear hunts. The best way to get a PLB for your next hunt in Canada is to get in touch with Northern Airborne Technology, whose main distribution office is in Massachusetts (c/o George La Riviere). The most popular PLB seems to be the Satfind-406 Pocket PLB, which we mentioned in the June article. This office handles sales and rentals of the Satfind-406 in most of eastern North America, and can refer potential PLB users to distributors in other parts of the world, such as Shane Landland of Eagle Enterprises, mentioned above. The Massachusetts office sells PLB's for $1,540 (US), and they also rent them, with prices starting at $200 for one week, and discounts available for longer-term rentals. Just be aware that they are not allowed to ship the units to addresses within the Lower 48 states and Hawaii, as they are not authorized for use in states other than Alaska. Therefore, you must provide a Canadian shipping address to receive your PLB. The address of a hotel in Canada where you plan to stay before your next hunt would be acceptable, as would the Canadian address of your outfitter. You can get more information on the Canadian PLB program - who monitors the satellite signals, who relays them, etc. - by contacting the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.

In closing, it is worth reiterating what we said in last month's........(continued)

 
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