Safety equipment must be kept up to date
The RYA are advising all yachtsmen to ensure their EPIRBs or Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) are up to date, as with all safety equipment.
From 1 February 2009, the 121.5/243 MHz satellite processing service will be terminated. All EPIRBs and PLBs that transmit on 121.5/243 MHz will cease to be monitored, after which, beacons transmitting on this frequency can only be used for localised homing, so for the most part they are redundant.
RYA Cruising Manager Stuart Carruthers said: “All modern beacons transmitting on 406 MHz, will not be affected by the change.
“However some of the older ones transmit on 121.5/243 MHz and following a number of issues and the negative impact caused by large numbers of false alerts on SAR Services, the decision was taken to discontinue monitoring this frequency.
“The important thing is that people check their beacons and make sure that they are not redundant. From a safety point of view, this is paramount.”
However, 121.5/243 will continue to provide a short range homing signal once an initial call for assistance has been made.