ACR Electronics Partners With Sea Tow Foundation To Offer Emergency Beacons To Boaters
It was the kind of day that every boater loves – smooth seas, sunny, and a cool breeze. But what started out as the perfect day turned into one that Luis de la Cruz from Miami, Fla., would never forget.
“In boating, it’s amazing how quickly a good day can turn bad,” Luis said. “That feeling of despair can come over you like a load of bricks. Panic, fear and all sorts of other thoughts can set in. Luckily, I had a back-up plan.”
Luis and his family were more than 25 miles off the coast of Miami when the steering on their boat went out leaving them stranded in the ocean. He tried to call the Coast Guard through his VHF radio, but quickly realized no one was hearing him.
Hour after hour went by and it started to get dark. Luis attempted to set the boat in the right course for home, but without steering it was impossible to navigate 25 miles back to shore. Finally, as despair started to set in, he remembered a tool that he had on his boat and dug out his ACR Electronics EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) – a locator beacon device he had on his boat since 2005.
Within 15 minutes, a Coast Guard helicopter was flying overhead, made contact with Luis, and then contacted Sea Tow on his behalf. He and his family were safe and sound within the hour as Sea Tow Key Biscayne came to their rescue.
Statistically, more than 40,000 people worldwide have been saved by a beacon, including people on land, in airplanes, or on boats. According to ACR Electronics, the ages for survivors range from 11 to 80. Survivors like Luis are part of the reason beacons are so crucial to boating safety and during July, he was officially inducted into the ACR’s SurvivorClub.
ACR is the United States’ primary provider of beacons with a program that recognizes those who have used their beacon to be saved. As part of the club, survivors like Luis who use their beacons receive a replacement for free.
Today, the Sea Tow Foundation has partnered with ACR Electronics to launch an emergency beacon rental program, allowing boaters across the nation access to Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) for rent.
The launch of this program is supported by a donation of eight beacons from ACR Electronics, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, the company made a commitment to participate in more philanthropic projects like sponsoring Sea Tow Foundation’s new beacon rental program.
Boaters will have access to rent either a PLB or an EPIRB through boatingsafety.com for $45 to $65 a week. An EPIRB is registered to a vessel, designed to be mounted on a boat, and will emit a distress signal for an extended period of time. A PLB is smaller in size and intended to be worn by the boater.
All proceeds earned from the beacon rentals will be reinvested into Sea Tow Foundation’s other lifesaving programs, such as the Designated Skipper Campaign and Life Jacket Loaner Program, and then further invested to extend the emergency beacon rental program.
“Sea Tow Foundation’s beacon rental program is an all around win,” shared Nichole Kalil, Media Specialist for ACR Electronics. “Boaters get to trial what it’s like to have an emergency beacon on board without committing to the full expense of buying one. Sea Tow is able to provide an added benefit to their already excellent customer service, but most impressive is that the money made from the beacon rental program goes right back to the foundation so they can further invest in boating safety programs.”