To some this Friday is just April 6th, but NOAA and the USCG want April 6th to be a more memorable date. They would like you to remember April 6th as 406 Day to raise awareness around the use of 406 MHz distress signals from devices like EPRIBs and PLBs. The Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking System (SARSAT) is a collection of satellites that are used to track and locate 406 MHz signals worldwide. If you are a frequent reader of PassageMaker you will know we encourage the ownership and use of 406 MHz devices lie EPIRBs, PLBs, AIS MOBs, and DSC devices.
NOAA operates a plethora of satellites used for Search and Rescue and 406MHz location and triangulation. They make up a portion of the worldwide international Search and Rescue Tracking System. In 2017 in the US alone, 275 rescues were activated and performed by 406MHz devices, a vast majority of them being rescues at sea.
These types of emergency communication devices greatly increase the likelihood of rescue due to the precision of satellite triangulation. Especially if emergency strikes when you are at sea, the ability to more precisely locate victims increases the chance of survival in an environment where rescue is measured in terms of hours not minutes.
Registration of EPIRB, PLB, and other 406 MHz devices is free and is required by law (plus it won't do you much good if it isn't registered). You can register your beacon here for free and should remember to update your beacon every two years (as required by law).
Wondering how an EPIRB or other 406 MHz devices work? check out this quick animation from the USCG: