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CDR Erin MacDonald U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534) 22 Feb 2008 EPIRB & PLB Alert Issues.

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Presentation on theme: "CDR Erin MacDonald U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534) 22 Feb 2008 EPIRB & PLB Alert Issues."— Presentation transcript:

1 CDR Erin MacDonald U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534) 22 Feb 2008 EPIRB & PLB Alert Issues

2 5/2/ :45 AM2 Rescue 21 Fielded Capability – to date

3 5/2/ :45 AM3Mid-Atlantic Atlantic City, NJ………….2005 Eastern Shore, VA……….2005 Delaware Bay Sep’07 Baltimore, MD May’08* Hampton Roads, VA......Feb’08 OCONUS Islands Honolulu, HI……… Guam…………… San Juan, PR….… Great Lakes Buffalo, NY…………… Detroit, MI…………… Lake Michigan……… Sault Ste. Marie, MI… Western Rivers (Recapitalize current coverage/capability) Ohio River Valley………TBD Upper Mississippi……..TBD Lower Mississippi………TBDAlaska Juneau, AK………TBD Anchorage, AK…..TBD Northeast Northern New England… Boston, MA……………… SE New England………… New York, NY…………….Nov’07 Long Is Sound, NY/CT….Oct’07 Southeast North Carolina……… Charleston, SC……… Jacksonville, FL……...Jan’08 Miami, FL………………Mar’08 * Key West, FL…...……..Sep’08 West Coast Seattle, WA………… Port Angeles, WA… Astoria, OR…………..Apr’08 North Bend, OR……..Jun’08* Portland, OR…………Jul’08 Humboldt Bay, CA…… San Francisco, CA…… LA/Long Beach, CA… San Diego, CA……… Gulf Coast Mobile, AL………………………2006 St Petersburg, FL…………… New Orleans, LA (Coastal)….Feb’07 New Orleans, LA………………Nov’08 Houston/Galveston, TX………Oct’08 Corpus Christi, TX…………….Aug’08* Sector accepted by USCG Scheduled for acceptance through 2008 * Tower coverage issues outstanding; acceptance date subject to change USCG Rescue 21 Acceptance Schedule

4 CDR Erin MacDonald U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534) 22 Feb 2008 EPIRB & PLB Alert Issues

5  The SARSAT System  Termination of MHz beacon alerts  EPIRB False Alert Study  New Direction Finding Capability  Outreach and Education Efforts

6 Cospas-Sarsat System Overview

7 These dots represent 6965 SARSAT alerts between for distress, non-distress, undetermined, ceased/ undetermined. 90% of EPIRB SAR Cases are within 20 NM of shoreline. SARSAT Alerts in the US SAR Region

8  SAR Satellite-aided Tracking (SARSAT) contributes to saving an average of 300 persons in the US and 1,300 persons around the world every year In 2007, SARSAT helped save 353 lives in the U.S.  Over 22,000 lives have been saved worldwide since 1982 Need for Satellite-Aided SAR

9 121.5 MHz Phase-Out International Termination of 121.5/243 MHz Satellite Alerting Occurs On: February 1, 2009! U.S. Termination of MHz EPIRBs = 3 Phases  Certification of new EPIRBs ceased  Sales and manufacture ceased in 2003  Operation/Use of MHz EPIRBs became prohibited on Jan 1, 2007

10 406 MHz Beacons At the end of 2007, there were approx 191,000 registered 406 MHz beacons in the U.S.:  143,000 EPIRBs carried on comm & rec vsls;  18,000 Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) carried on aircraft;  30,000 Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) carried by individuals in harsh environments;  175 Ship Security Alert System beacons. EPIRB PLB ELT SSAS

11 121.5 MHz Phase Out  FCC regulations state that the operation of A, B, AND S EPIRBs (121.5 MHz) are prohibited after 31DEC06 …this does not apply to ELTs or to Man Overboard Devices that operate locally on MHz.  The FCC reg is part of the U.S. phased plan to remove all EPIRBs operating on 121.5/243MHz frequencies prior to 01FEB09, when satellite processing of these distress signals by the International Cospas-Sarsat Program will be terminated worldwide.  Note that authorized 406MHz EPIRBs, ELTs, and PLBs do contain an internal 121.5MHz homing signal, which will continue to be used for close range direction finding.  The phase out means that the all vessels will switch to 406 MHz beacons if they haven’t already.

12 EPIRB False Alert Abatement Project  Approx 92% of alerts rcvd fm 406 MHz beacons are false  17:1 false to real distress  CG spent ~$3.6M on non-distress alerts in FY2007 (that we know of)  Intangible costs Risk to the lives of SAR crews SAR resources not available when needed  Approx 82% of EPIRBs are registered. Valuable time is lost on detective work when an unregistered beacon is activated

13 Funds Spent on EPIRB False Alerts

14 Reasons For False Alerts User Error  Testing  Installation  Improper disposal Manufacturing/Design  Compromised magnetic reed switch  Weathering/corrosion  Bracket failure  Electronic malfunctions EPIRB placed backwards in housing Broken antenna ELTs in recycling bin Broken tab on activation button

15 EPIRB False Alert Abatement Project What needs to be done? 1.Improve detection capabilities 2.Identify faulty EPIRBs 3.Educate mariners 4.Additional standards for designing EPIRBs and their brackets by RTCM

16 USCG 406 MHz DF Capabilities The Problem  Legacy CG aircraft homing equipment could not DF on the 406 MHz signal and would typically lock on to the MHz signal only in close proximity (less than 5 NM). The Solution  The CG is in the process of equipping aircraft with 406 MHz DFs.  This is a huge advantage since a beacon’s 121.5MHz signal is only 25 milliwatts, but a 406MHz data burst is transmitted at 5 watts every 52 seconds! Also, the 406MHz burst is not easily degraded by environmental obstacles like the weaker signal.

17 USCG 406 MHz DF Capabilities 1 st Operational Success with 406MHz DF Equipment 12 Jun a/c, 18 sorties, 19 search areas, 13,118 sq. nm searched to locate the 34’ P/C Extractor 26 nm off the FL coast. After thousands of miles of search effort, a C-130H was launched fm E City, NC w/ a 406MHz DF prototype on board. While en-route to the assigned datum, but still 90 NM from scene, the DF locked on to the EPIRB signal. The C-130H flew directly to the new intercept solution and located 2 hypothermic survivors clinging to the bottom of an overturned craft, thus ending a 20+ hr search. An HH-65 helo was vectored to the position & hoisted the 2 survivors to safety. They had been holding onto the bottom of the boat for over 24 hrs.

18 USCG 406 MHz DF Capabilities S/V Paradox Voyage from Honduras to Florida HU-25 unable to locate C-130 w/ new 406 DF located 220nm SW of Tampa, FL

19 USCG 406 MHz DF Capabilities

20 Shore-Side Direction Finding--Rescue 21  On 18 Dec 2007, approval was given to add 406MHz detection & homing capability to all coastal VHF comms towers (the Rescue 21 system).  This capability is essential since the majority of maritime SAR cases occur within 20 NM of the shore 406MHz DF on Cutters and Boats  The USCG is currently considering adding 406 MHz DF capability to small boats and cutters due to the proven superiority of this direction finding technology.  This upgrade will directly contribute to the saving of lives as well as significant search / cost savings when the CG can quickly isolate activated beacons in harbors and marinas.

21 The Way Ahead Education and Outreach on Beacon Issues  CG Boarding Officers, Inspectors, Examiners  Boating organizations  Maritime Community Beacon Registration  Work w/ NOAA to monitor registration rates  Public education on importance of beacon registration Improvements to Beacon Standards  Work w/ RTCM (manufacturers and govt agencies) to improve beacon and bracket standards

22 How the US Power Squadron Can Help the CG SAR Program EDUCATION and OBSERVATION: Does boat owner/operator have a 406MHz EPIRB or PLB?  If a 121.5MHz EPIRB is found, educate on reasons to replace (signal from will not alert rescue personnel after 1Feb09 and EPIRBs are prohibited by U.S. law). Does the EPIRB or PLB have a current registration?  Assist owner with beacon registration by providing registration form or website address. Is EPIRB properly mounted and in good condition?  Ensure bracket will prevent false activation Report any significant beacon issues to CG Office of SAR.

23 It’s Not Just About Boaters!  16 FEB 2008  PLB Rescue  British National  75 mi NW of Puerto Plata, DR  HH-60 Recovery  PLB Registered in New Zealand

24 Visit Our Website! Any Questions??? EPIRB & PLB Alert Issues U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534) CDR Erin MacDonald LCDR Kathy Niles or (202) (202)

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