The other day I was out riding my bike with my buddy Ed. He is one of those guys who can (and does) talk with everyone which over the years has made for some interesting rides. It was one of those typical Northwest days, grey and damp and we were climbing a fire road in Capitol Forest looking for an area that had a recent fire. We were passed by a number of four wheel drive trucks and of course Ed had to find out what they were doing. It turned out that one guy was lost the previous day and this group was on a search and rescue mission. We were told to look out for the lost guy and call 911 should we find him.
Once we got to the top of the hill two motorcycles came along, OK they also had riders. They were lost and Ed got them pointed in the right direction and made sure they had gas (afterwards we wondered what we would have done if they didn’t have gas since one hardly carries that on your bicycle) and sent them on their way.
All this got me thinking, what would happen if I was out in the middle of nowhere and got turned around, injured or came across someone in need of help. Would my cell phone be enough to suffice? It has GPS and downloaded maps so I should be able to find my way home but what if I am hurt? After talking with my wife, we decided that I should carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
The Ocean Signal version only weighs 4.1 ounces which is less than many multi-tools that we pack around. This unit provides world-wide coverage, does not have an annual service contract and works using a dedicated government owned an operated satellite system. Best of all it connects directly to search and rescue. Somehow this seems like a reasonable addition to my Camelback.
Of course we sell these units. Full information on the Ocean Signal PLB is on our web site. The unit has a 7 year battery and 7 year warranty so the cost works out to $3.56 per month, about the same as a small latte. Then again if I skip one latte per month I would lose more weight than the 4.1 ounces I have added to my gear.
Past president of the United States Marine Safety Association and retired sailor
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