Old EPIRB beacons phased out
By Willie Howard | Monday, February 2, 2009, 07:55 PM

For boaters who run across the Atlantic to the Bahamas or regularly venture more than 10 miles offshore, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) should be standard safety equipment along with a life raft.

Old EPIRBs using the 121 MHz radio frequency, however, are no longer useful.

The Coast Guard stopped monitoring the old-frequency EPIRBs on Feb. 1.

Newer 406 MHz are the standard for offshore distress calling, according to BoatU.S.

“They have better accuracy, fewer false alerts and greater reliability,” said David Carter, Boat.U.S. EPIRP program manager.

The starting price for a 406 MHz EPIRB is about $500, according to BoatU.S. The boating organization also rents EPIRBs for about $40 a week.

For more information on the BoatU.S. EPIRB rental program, call (888) 663-7472 or go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb.