The world's smallest personal locator beacon

September 20, 2016 | Kiteboarding
Gina Hewson and the RescueMe PLB1: kiteboarders should carry a personal locator beacon | Photo: Ocean Signal

Ocean Signal believe they have developed the world's smallest personal locator beacon (PLB).

The RescueMe PLB1 was specially designed for kiteboarders and windsurfers who train or compete in unpredictable weather conditions, and in remote, offshore areas.

The gadget weighs 116 grams, and it was built to resist the worst marine condition. The RescueMe PLB1 is waterproof 15 meters, and has an autonomy of 30 hours, even at -20C° (-4F°).

"I did have an incident when I was kiting with my sister in Perth when the wind turned as sunset approached. We were in the water for three or four hours," explains Gina Hewson, Australian kiteboarder, and brand ambassadress for Ocean Signal.

"The helicopter was above me, and I found out later they were using thermal imagery, but were unable to locate us. They eventually found us by boat, by which time we were within 80 meters of the shore."

The RescueMe PLB1 can save your life. When you activate it, the device transmits your exact position and your identification to a national rescue center, via satellite link. Kiteboarders don't think about the dangers of unless they have had a problem.

For instance, the ram air kites used for hydrofoil racing do not have an inflatable bladder. If riders travel long distances in a very short time, and suddenly the wind changes, things can go wrong quickly.

"With my experience in kite racing and also having done the Sydney-Hobart and Fastnet, I know how important it is to wear a PLB whenever you are heading offshore," concludes Hewson.

The Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 retails at $262.

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