Saved by the Beacon

Imagine you’re away from the coast, you don’t even see land anymore. Even worse, imagine that your boat is now taking on water and you don’t have cell phone reception. What do you do?

The NSBC’s Saved by the Beacon national campaign educates recreational boaters about the importance of 406 MHz beacons and how to use them correctly in the case of a boating emergency. 

  • An emergency locator beacon is used to alert Search and Rescue assets by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite to the nearest Rescue Coordination Center.
  • Boaters mount an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) which is registered to the vessel, waterproof and may be manually or automatically activated.
  • Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) are registered to the person, may be operated on land or water, and must be manually activated with the antennae out of the water with a clear view of the sky to properly function.
  • All emergency locator beacons must be registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prior to use.


Carrying an emergency communication device can aid in an efficient and effective rescue, but don't forget about the distress signaling device that can bring rescuers in the final mile. Watch Sgt Sean Mitchell explain just how important it is to carry distress technology so search and rescue teams find you as soon as possible.


Thank you, ACR Electronics, for your partnership to raise awareness about emergency locator beacon purchases and registration.


Here are just a few highlights of lives that were "Saved by the Beacon."