PLB vs. EPIRB – Which beacon is right for you?

PLB vs. EPIRB – Which beacon is right for you?

 

If you’re considering renting an emergency beacon from the Sea Tow Foundation before a boating trip, there are two different types that you can chose from: EPIRB and PLB, but the question is, which beacon is the best one for you?

.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons – or EPRIB for short – are small devices about the size of a large fountain drink that mounts directly onto your boat. An EPIRB is registered to the boat and will float free of the boat if the boat were to be submersed under water. The EPIRB also has a strobe light to help rescuers pinpoint your location in low-light or low-visibility conditions.

.

A Personal Locator Beacon – or PLB – is much smaller and more compact than an EPIRB and it is more limited in its functionality and features. While an EPIRB has a typical battery life of 48 hours, the batteries in PLBs generally last half as long. Additionally, PLBs do not float and they don’t have a strobe light. However, because of their small size, PLBs are meant to be worn on a life jacket strap or belt loop or even stuffed into a pocket.  PLBs are commonly used for small boats as well as hikers, campers, rock climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

.

So, which beacon should you rent from the Sea Tow Foundation? Well, that all depends on what type of boating activity you plan to be doing.

.

If you use a powerboat greater than 20 feet in length and often boat offshore, in remote areas or in waters that are unfamiliar to you, an EPIRB would be the best option for your next boating trip.

.

If you operate a PWC or paddle a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or other small boat, then a PLB is a better option for you. And, if you boat alone, a PLB should be a must-have item on your safety checklist.

.

We hope we’ve helped take the guesswork out of which emergency beacon to rent for your next boating trip, but if you still have questions, let us know in the comment section. If you’re ready to rent your PLB or EPIRB from the Sea Tow Foundation and get out on the water, click here.

 

Written by  Gail Kulp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *