I have finally realized that I am no longer the spring chicken I used to be, scampering up 14,000+ peaks, hiking many miles into the Everglades or fishing 20 miles offshore of my home in South Florida by myself may not be the smartest thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my adventures and they will have to pry the throttle or walking stick out of my cold dead hands before I am relegated to a rocker on some front porch. It is for these reasons that I have decided to purchase some sort of Personal locator beacon that will not only give me the peace of mind that I can be found and rescued in the event of an emergency, but will also ease the fears of those that care about me and have concerns over my adventure lifestyle.
I spent quite a bit of time researching various products, asking many questions at the local Bass Pro Shops in Fort Lauderdale and Gander Mountain in West palm Beach and comparing the answers of the sales staff with my own personal needs. They were all very informative and were all also in agreement that for my needs I needed something that was extremely reliable and hopefully would never need to be used. There were several models that were reviewed, some that allowed friends to track your progress and send text messages and others that were geared strictly for imminent danger and life threatening situations.
After weighing all my options and needs, and deciding that reliability in such a device outweighed price and occasionally used features, I had narrowed my decision down to a select few, all made by the company ACR which deals primarily in Epirbs, PLB’s and other life support devices. The several models I looked at from this company confused me for a while as they all seemed quite similar. I visited their website and then sent an email to their customer service manger detailing my intended uses for a Personal Locator Beacon and how my journeys are quite often water related. I was very pleased with his response and have copied here in hopes it helps others contemplating purchasing one of these units.
Look no further than one of the two units below.
• SARLink 406 GPS PLB
• AquaLink 406 GPS PLB
The SARLink is sold by the Outdoor Industry because the voice of the Outdoor customer tells us that they want smaller and lighter. So we responded by taking all of the air out of it to make it as small as possible, and because of this it doesn’t float. However, because a small portion of the Outdoor consumers also recreate around water, we do offer a floatation pouch accessory.
The AquaLink is sold by the Marine Industry because they need a product that will float. This product has a larger back making it inherently buoyant, as size is not as important to the boater.
The following is the physical differences.
AQUALINK P/N 2882 9.2 oz OR 260g 2.3 x 5.8 x 1.45″ 5.9 x 14.8 x 3.7 cm
SARLINK P/N 2883 8.9 oz OR 252g 2.3 x 5.8 x 1.25″ 5.9 x 14.8 x 3.2 cm
Because it floats and you have no problems with a unit a little bigger than the Sarlink, the Aqualink would be your best bet.
You can then also use it for any overland excursions you may want to add to your travelling itinerary.
I am now planning to purchase the AquaLink 406 GPS PLB this week and regain my confidence that if I Journey into the great outdoors I will also be coming home with more great stories to share. Remember that when purchasing such units, they should be considered a method of last resort and not because you ran out of gas but because your survival is seriously in question.