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Author Topic:   Search and Rescue Website
jimh posted 12-08-2010 08:50 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
I just came across an interesting website or blog run by U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue and focused on actual search and rescue incidents, particularly ones involving the SARSAT (Search and Rescue Satellite) technology. The URI is

[This link has gone dead. Try this resource instead.--jimh]

There have been several prior discussions here in SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL about various emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB) and other locator devices. The USCG SAR blog gives a monthly accounting of rescue cases, especially ones involving this sort of technology, and there are typically quite a few each month.

Currently on the top page is an interesting account of a SARSAT assisted rescue of a teenaged solo-sailor whose 40-foot sailboat was dismasted in the middle of the Indian Ocean. See the article under the heading Teen Sailor Meets with NASA Team that Helped Save Her Life. Not long after setting off her EPIRB device, an AIRBUS plane was apparently diverted and flew directly over her disabled boat, much to her surprise.

cban posted 12-13-2010 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for cban  Send Email to cban     
Thanks for the info Jim. I just purchased an ACR EPIRB after someone mentioned a price drop on the devices. I have mine registered and will carry it with me more often after reading the different scenarios where it was used.
SJUAE posted 12-13-2010 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Still got to register my one ( bought before the price drop) this was a good reminder why


jimh posted 02-16-2011 04:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The SAR Blog reports an interesting rescue at sea of the French sailing vessel NACOUDA in early February 2011.

After being struck by a whale the hull of the French sailing vessel NACOUDA was damaged and began to take on water in a position about 1,200 nautical miles East of Puerto Rico. The skipper (who was sailing alone) was forced to abandon ship and launched a life raft in strong winds and 10-foot seas. He also activated his 406-MHz emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). The distress signal was received by the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System and U.S. Coast Guard.

The cargo ship SEBRING EXPRESS was alerted at about 2:50 p.m. that there was a distress situation in their vicinity, her captain diverted course to the location of the distress vessel, and at about 8:45 p.m. the SEBRING EXPRESS rescued the skipper of the NACOUDA. See html?show=position

for some more information on the SEBRING EXPRESS.

There is more information about this rescue at html

including an audio recording of some radio transmissions between the SEBRING EXPRESS and USCG radio.

The rescue was coordinated using INMARSAT's FleetBroadband 505 emergency calling service. Find more information at textonly=False

Boy--there is a lot of modern technology in place these days on the high seas!

Here is a press release, I presume from the USCG, on the incident:

Emergency beacon saves French sailor

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A French national was rescued from the ocean 1,381 miles east of San Juan Thursday when the merchant vessel Sebring Express was diverted to the area at the request of the Coast Guard 5th District watchstanders.

The watchstanders received notification of an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon broadcast, assigned to the sailing vessel Nacouda at 2:51 p.m. Thursday.

Using Amver, the Automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue system, the Coast Guard directed the Filipino flagged vessel Sebring Express to the location of the EPIRB broadcast.

The Sebring Express arrived in the vicinity and crewmen spotted a strobe light. As the vessel approached the light, a flare was seen and the sailor was heard calling out for help. The sailor was rescued from a floating life raft at 8:47 p.m. and was reported to be in good health and spirits.

"This man's EPIRB saved his life," said Rear Adm. Dean Lee, commander of the Coast Guard's 5th District. "His preparedness and use of a properly registered distress beacon allowed rescuers to quickly respond to his exact location, which is in large part why he was found, and found alive."

"This case demonstrates there are few places we can't find an Amver ship to rescue you," said Benjamin Strong, Amver's director of maritime relations. "Hope is the last thing to die. Amver ships give that hope to those in distress."

The French national was sailing from the Canary Islands to Guadeloupe but was forced to abandon the Nacouda when it started taking on water in sea conditions consisting of 25 - 30 mph winds and approximately 10-foot waves

jimh posted 02-16-2011 11:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The USCG has made available some additional audio recordings. Based on the duplex nature of these communications and the 2,300-mile distance between the USCG and the vessel, it is likely the recording is from a call made using the INMARSAT FleetBroadband 505 emergency telephone system (mentioned above) or some similar satellite-based communication system.

The vessel position is given in the call as

18 04.5 N
44 48.9 W

The SEBRING EXPRESS was headed for Jacksonville, Florida, and took the rescued sailor there.

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