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My 19 year old son and five friends (ages 19 to 21) went offshore fishing about 30 miles from Daytona Beach Florida. I received a phone call from the Coast Guard at 4:15pm telling me they had received an emergency signal from our ACR EPIRB. My heart sank. I knew the kids were in some kind of trouble and my immediate thought went to all the safety devices I had put on the 22 foot Grady white boat. I prayed that they were OK.
When I was shopping for EPIRB's I remember reading all the features of each type and deciding that I did NOT want to be that person at home worrying for days on end about where my family might be while the Coastguard searched for them (a needle in a haystack). I wanted to make sure that if that day ever came, I would not think "why did I not buy the better EPIRB"? Well that day came. Those EPIRB's are PRICELESS to me now. The entire situation could have turned bad fast had the Coastguard not found them as quickly as they did. I had gone through all the possible things that could happen at sea while deciding which devices to buy. The boat capsizing before anyone could call for help. This is why I bought the Global Fix Pro with Manual Release which would call for help when it got wet. And what if someone falls overboard but the boat does not sink? I bought the ACR ResQLink+ which you wear around your waist. I had also placed a survival raft on board and remember asking my son as he was walking out the door, "you know where the survival raft is?" As it turns out when they deployed the raft it too had an ACR EPIRB in it. WOW!!!
For over an hour, until the kids were found I was a mess. But when the Coastguard told me they were on site and all the kids were fine I cried. What a relief. And when I picked the kids up from the Coastguard station the duty officer said that by having those EPIRB's I had done a really good thing because they located the boat so quickly. I have to tell you that when I originally got all these EPIRB's my son (being 18 years old) told me that I had probably wasted my money. I told him at the time that I hoped I had wasted my money and that I hoped he never needed to use them. He thanked me when I picked him up from the Coastguard station that night. I also would like to add that I received a call from the U.S. Air Force and Bermuda saying they had received emergency signals off their satellites. That was impressive.
So now to what happened to the boat. The transom broke and the Armstrong bracket that was holding the motor punched a hole in the back of the boat near the bottom. They took on a lot of water fast. I'm proud of how my son and his friends handled the situation. My son had taken the time to show and explain the EPIRB's to all his friends prior to leaving shore.
On a lighter note, one of the kids was trying to figure out how to toss the ACR GLOBALFIX PRO 2846 overboard into the water to activate it and my son told him, "Hey dude just throw it at your feet, the whole inside of the boat is full of water". They got a good laugh out of that during a bad situation. All six of those guys told me they will NEVER go offshore fishing again without an EPIRB. The boys were very happy that I had been so proactive about safety. Thanks to ACR Electronics and the U.S. Coastguard for all you do.
I wanted to make sure that if that day ever, came I would not think "why did I not buy the better EPIRB"? Well that day came.
Thank you ACR!
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