ACR Sarlink Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

The American Express of my gear loadout is the ACR Sarlink Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB as known on the land, sea and air rescue circuit.  I simply don’t leave home without it.

Unfortunately, they don’t come cheap. (Find an ACR dealer here)  Be prepared to drop several hundred dollars and what’s even more vexing is that if you’re lucky, or superiorly skilled, you will never ever use it.

When else in life does a successful purchase mean never using the product?  I can think of a few in my line of life.  Bear Spray, Flares and Epi-pens are never the sort of expendables one desires to…uh…expend.  The notion can be painful for the conscientious wallet but I assure you that if I were wrestling my leg free from the jowls of a famished grizzly or happen to glissade off an icy ridge and end up dangling like a holiday tree ornament in a fir tree 50 feet above forest floor then I want the E.F. Hutton of locating beacons and want my position to be indicated…and responded too…with haste.

Other beacons found in popular consumer retailers simply don’t cut it.  This is a step above a PLB or Personal Locator Beacon.  Note to self, when it comes to your life, price point takes a back seat. The ACR operates on the 406 MHz frequency and communicates with the Cospas-Sarsat global satellite system and does, in fact, provide global coverage.  Signal delays may run around 45 minutes to an hour so you may have to do a few jumping jacks to stay warm while you wait…just be thankful you are not treading water instead…unless your treading water…in which case, the device is waterproof, so you have that going for you.  You must register annually and apply a ID sticker provided by Cospas-Sarsat.

They don’t bring responders right to your doorstep…but it gets them close…around a 5k radius which could make the difference in being found and …not found. If there can be such a thing as an ideal worst case scenario, I would want to asses my situation, take a deep breath, look for the paddle in said proverbial creek and, if required, press the button and goody gum drops there are my heroes.  This is about as close as your going to get.

Warning, this is not an Uber for choppers.  I once heard of a man triggering his beacon due to a work meeting he might miss while in the backwoods.  They haven’t charged anybody yet for false alarms and if there is ever a time where practice makes perfect, saving my life is it so I don’t mind flipping a tax dollar or two to hone the skills of our brave and capable first responders assisting the nature-loving witless.  Tens of thousands have been saved since the implementation of the satellite system and that’s a lot of lives.

This should be every adventurer’s lifeline should skill, knowledge or ability fail.  It’s all about expecting the unexpected, and being prepared to respond. I highly recommend you pick one of these up sooner than later. You have but one life…live it hard but play it safe!

Ruck Out…


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