April 2007

Rental EPIRBS Have Saved Many Lives

The BoatU.S. Foundation's EPIRB Rental Program — which gives offshore boaters an affordable and reliable way to get emergency assistance — was honored by Motor Boating magazine with a "Best of the Year" award.

"Motor Boating magazine editors select the absolute best, the top, the true innovations of the year," said Editorial Director Peter Janssen. "The awards celebrate all of the elements of the boating life, and it's my pleasure to congratulate the BoatU.S. Foundation," he added. EPIRB Program Manager David Carter accepted the award on behalf of the foundation at a ceremony in conjunction with Miami International Boat Show.

As a public service, the BoatU.S. Foundation rents the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons for a nominal weekly rate to boaters who may have an occasional need for the expensive device which can cost up to $1,000. Once activated —either automatically when entering the water or by pulling a lanyard manually — the beacon gives rescuers an exact location of a vessel in distress.
"Since 1997, our EPIRBs have played a role in saving 49 people during 21 activations," said Carter. "This service enables boaters to inexpensively increase their margin of safety without making a big financial commitment and is something no offshore boater can afford to be without."

Reservations for the 406MHz EPIRBs can be requested through an online form at http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation/EPIRB or boaters can also call 888-66-EPIRB between noon and 5 p.m. EST. During the peak season — May through August — EPIRBs may not be available on short notice so reservations (taken up to six months in advance) are recommended.

The 2007 rental fee is $40 per week, plus shipping. EPIRBs are not available at BoatU.S. or West Marine stores, but are shipped directly to the renter anywhere within the Continental U.S. The Program is funded by the voluntary contributions of 670,000 BoatU.S. members.