Here at GTC we have been providing our ever popular range of satellite trackers to customers around the globe for almost eight years now. Realising that our customers often use these products in case of emergency only we have recently branched out into the area of PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) and EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). Here we identify the differences of the three products.
What is a Satellite Tracker?
A Satellite Tracker is a device which obtains GPS co-ordinates and sends them out to pre-determined contacts or mapping portals via satellite. Satellite Trackers are stocked by GTC. They feature SOS emergency buttons which report to GEOS Emergency Response Centre when pressed.
Our personal satellite tracker range includes devices from SPOT and DeLorme. Both brands allow you to link your account to social media sites to allow greater exposure to your followers of exactly how your trip is progressing.
Additionally, preset or custom messages (model dependent) can be sent to your contacts email addresses or mobile numbers.
Satellite Trackers from DeLorme and SPOT require either an annual or monthly subscription in order for the device to function so it is important to consider the ongoing costs before purchasing.
GTC stocks personal satellite trackers by SPOT and DeLorme. Prices start from just £95 ex VAT.
What is a PLB?
A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a safety device carried by an individual to alert search and rescue services and allow them to quickly locate you in the event of an emergency.
Unlike satellite trackers a PLB is purely a safety device, only to be used in the case of an extreme emergency. The PLB must be registered before use with the user's details along with details of their emergency contacts.
Once a PLB has been activated for an emergency the device becomes redundant. The good news is that many manufacturers will replace the device free of charge in exchange for information on how the device was used to initiate rescue.
No subscription is required for a PLB making them a cost-effective rescue aid if you do not require message or general tracking functions.
GTC stocks PLBs from ACR and McMurdo. Prices start from just £147.50 ex VAT.
What is an EPIRB?
An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is a safety device carried by a vessel to alert search and rescue services and allow them to quickly locate you in the event of an emergency.
Unlike satellite trackers an EPIRB is purely a safety device, only to be used in the case of an extreme emergency. The EPIRB must be registered before use with the user's details along with details of their emergency contacts.
Manual and automatic models are available. Automatic models are designed to be automatically deployed and activated in the event of a vessel sinking. The beacon may also be manually taken out of the bracket and activated manually or immersed in water to activate automatically.
Manual beacons are designed to be manually deployed from the bracket and then activated manually or placed in the water to activate automatically. Both manual and automatic beacons can also be manually activated while still in their brackets.
Once an EPIRB has been activated for an emergency the device becomes redundant. The good news is that many manufacturers will replace the device free of charge in exchange for information on how the device was used to initiate rescue.
No subscription is required for an EPIRB making them a cost-effective rescue aid if you do not require message or general tracking functions.
GTC stocks EPIRBs from ACR. Prices start from just £240 ex VAT.
Emergency Response Products Comparison
|Flotation||DeLorme with additional Flotation Case||Floats in an upright position to transmit||No|
|Battery Life||Model dependent, up to 13 days||Minimum of 48 hrs||Minimum of 24 hrs|
|Activation||Manually activated||Manually or automatically activated (model dependent)||Manually activated|
|Strobe Light||No||Yes||Available on some models|
|Registration||Registered to individual user||Registered to vessel||Registered to individual user|
|Subscription||Monthly or Annual subscription required at an additional cost||No subscription required||No subscription required|
|Tracking Function||Send track points out up to every 30 seconds||No||No|
|Messaging Function||Send messages to email addresses, phone numbers or mapping portal||No||No|
|Link to Social Media||No||No||No|
If you want a device for emergency purposes only then a PLB or EPIRB is the product for you. These products offer lower costs, quick set-up and installation and are easy to use. However, if you would like to combine your emergency system with a means of communication you can't beat SPOT and DeLorme Personal Satellite Trackers. In this age of being constantly available to communicate SPOT and DeLorme allow you to stay in touch no matter where your travels take you.
if you still have questions on which system is right for you please call us on 01202 801290.