• 59°

Video: Coast Guard responds to over 700 false alerts in 2018, urges everyone to register their beacon

After responding to over 700 false alerts in 2018, the Coast Guard is urging anyone with an emergency position indicating radio beacon to properly register their device.

An EPIRB is a device that transmits a distress signal to a satellite system called Cospas-Sarsat. The satellites relay the signal to a network of ground units and ultimately to the Coast Guard and other emergency responders.

Owners of commercial fishing vessels, uninspected passenger vessels that carry six or more people and uninspected commercial vessels are legally required to carry an EPIRB. However, the Coast Guard recommends that every mariner who transits offshore or on long voyages should carry an EPIRB.

The Federal Communications Commission requires all EPIRB owners to register their beacons with NOAA and keep the registration information up-to-date.

If an unregistered beacon activates, the FCC can prosecute the owner based on evidence provided by the Coast Guard, and will issue warning letters or notices of apparent liability for fines up to $10,000.

Coast Guard personnel were only able to contact 163 of the more than 700 EPIRB owners to determine the cause of the false alerts. The other individuals had not registered their beacons, not updated their registration information or had disposed of them improperly.

beacon

Emergency position indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB. Capture taken from USCG video.

“We handle EPIRB alerts with a bias for action,” said Lt. Daniel Dunn, a command duty officer in the Fifth Coast Guard District’s command center. “We have to treat them as actual distress calls until we can prove otherwise.”

When Coast Guard watchstanders receive an EPIRB alert and cannot trace it to the owner due to missing or outdated registration information, they launch aircraft and boat crews to search the area for signs of distress.

It costs approximately $15,000 per hour to fly an HC-130 Hercules airplane, $10,000 per hour to fly an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and $5,000 per hour to operate a Coast Guard small boat.

“If people used this system appropriately, it would take a lot of the guesswork out of search and rescue,” said Dunn. “Unregistered EPIRBs result in lost time, money and the misuse of resources that could be used to save someone’s life.”

To register your beacon with NOAA, click here.

READ MORE OUTER BANKS NEWS, CLICK HERE.

News

Cooper and Cohen tour Kill Devil Hills vaccine clinic

Lifestyles

High school seniors honored with NCCF Coastal Stewardship Awards announced

News

Mega Millions ticket sold online in North Carolina wins $1 million prize

News

NC State researchers predict 2021 hurricane season will be active

Crime

FBI increases reward for information on deaths of three women in North Carolina

Crime

Former Ft. Bragg private sentenced to over 12 years in prison after taking minor across state lines in fake kidnapping

News

Construction accident at old Bonner Bridge demolition site results in death

News

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

News

Nags Head commissioners approve text amendments to UDO

News

State and local COVID-19 update

News

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City hoists two people stranded in marsh near Mockhorn Island, Virginia

News

Interstate 85 Welcome Center, rest area near Virginia state line closed for renovations

Crime

Driver faces multiple charges after child struck, killed in North Carolina

News

Dare commissioners take next step in Home Health and Hospice process

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 18 years in prison for drug, firearm charges

Hyde

Ferry routes between Swan Quarter, Cedar Island and Ocracoke resume service, dredging continues

News

NCDOT to install temporary zipper merge in Carteret County

News

Court rules Duck beach access is private

News

Wake County won’t pursue criminal complaint of Louis DeJoy

Lifestyles

Lineman Appreciation Day recognizes critical role

News

Halifax County man becomes latest Millionaire Maker top prize winner

Crime

North Carolina sheriff’s office identifies two found dead; foul play suspected

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to prison, ordered to pay over $6 million in restitution for wire fraud

News

Corridor in place to access Cape Point due to oystercatcher breeding