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- Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 16:48
Fast Find has saved the life of a British adventurer, who was successfully rescued in the North Pacific, after activating her McMurdo Fast Find Personal Locater Beacon (PLB) on the 7th June. 27 year old Oxford Graduate, Sarah Outen was attempting to become the first woman to row solo from Japan to Canada, as part of a two and a half year expedition to complete a loop of the planet using only human power. Sarah was 560 miles from the coast of Japan when her 23ft ocean rowing boat, Gullivar, was hit by tropical storm, Mawar. High winds and rough seas caused Gulliver to capsize.With the boat damaged and water seeping in, Sarah took the decision to activate her PLB.
Coastguards in Falmouth, Cornwall received the distress signal from the PLB, and helped to co-ordinate the rescue by passing information to the Japenese Coastguards within minutes of the device being activated. Having fast access to this information is vital in the early stages of any search and rescue mission in order to identify the exact position the signal is coming from, the owner of the distress beacon, their vessel type (if applicable), and their emergency contact information. The Japanese Coastguards were able to pinpoint Sarah’s location, before implementing a fast and successful rescue.
Sarah Outen says: “I carried two McMurdo emergency beacons on board my rowing boat - the EPIRB mounted outside, was lost during the storm, but the PLB kept in my cabin proved instrumental in my safe pick up from the ocean by the Japan Coast Guard. I carry a PLB on all my expedition legs - it is small and light and so easy to carry along whether I am on my bike or kayak or in the rowing boat. Out solo in remote places and challenging conditions, it is essential in my mind to carry a PLB or EPIRB. I am grateful to McMurdo for their support of my expedition”. <p >The Fast Find 220 is a powerful distress beacon, which provides a direct method of alerting the search and rescue authorities where no other forms of communication are available, using the 406 MHz search and rescue satellite communication system, COSPAS SARSAT*. As well as sending out a distress signal by satellite, the 220 also transmits a 121.5MHz homing signal.
Waterproof to 10 metres and able to operate in temperatures as low as -20˚,once activated using a simple three-stage activation function the 220 will transmit continuously for a minimum of 24 hours at a powerful 5 watt output. The beacon is also small in size weighing just 150g and measuring D34mm x W47mm x L106mm, and features an LED flash light to assist with rescues at night or during limited visibility.