Tramping Club Secretary’s Decision to Require Beacons Proves to be Wise

ACR Electronics shares another SurvivorClub story out of New Zealand. Dorothy Symes, manager of the Wanganaui Tramping Club, reporting two debilitating leg injuries, has entered SurvivorClub for the second time in just the past six months. Dorothy manages a tramping club in New Zealand where she requires her walking groups to have Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). If they don’t have their own PLB Dorothy has one they can use.

The first story Dorothy shared with ACR Electronics’ SurvivorClub took place this past February. It was regarding a tramping trip in Whirinaki Forest in New Zealand when a party of seven trampers on a multiday trip was approached by two children not knowing what to do with their father who broke his leg. The Wanganaui Tramping Club members checked out the injured man named Bernard and saw he could not move. The trampers of Wanganaui did what any compassionate prepared tramper would do – they set off their ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Taupo's Greenlea Rescue helicopter appeared shortly after the beacon was set off and Bernard was rescued. He and his children were grateful that someone nearby had a PLB.

Just six months later, the Wanganaui Tramping Club’s stern policy of requiring PLBs was responsible for saving another life. Similar to the first story, someone injured their leg. This time the injured tramper was a female named Tracey and one of their own. Tracey broke her ankle in the Ruahine Range. After realizing Tracey was immobile, fellow trampers attempted to call Search and Rescue (SAR) with their cell phones but the line was only good enough for them to hear the SAR operator tell them  “if they had a PLB they should deploy it” so they did. Not too long after setting off their ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon, Tracey was airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital.

Dorothy shared with ACR that, “with two activations in the past year personal locator beacons have become paramount pieces of equipment to be included by leaders on all trips with the Wanganui Tramping Club. She added, “the club has also purchased a couple more in addition to the SurvivorClub beacons we already received from ACR.”

ACR Electronics commends Dorothy Symes of the Wanganaui Tramping Club for requiring personal locator beacons while tramping. PLB carriage is becoming increasingly more common in New Zealand but there are still lessons to be learned. Dorothy’s club has been promoting PLB use for over 10 years now.

An article in Wilderness Magazine emphasized the importance of having a PLB while venturing out and noted that there are just over 20,000 registered in New Zealand alone, also stating the number is increasing but there are still too many people venturing into the bush without one.  

To read both of Dorothy’s tramping club’s survival stories and other survival stories in New Zealand visit To support your local ACR PLB dealer; here is a link to a dealer near you: