The latest MCA Safety Notice, “Safety Bulletin 16 – PFDs and retrofitting of PLBs”, echoes the message that MRT has been preaching to the commercial marine industry for many years now: “An approved integration method of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and Life jacket (PFD) is essential when seeking the optimum performance from each piece of life-saving apparatus”.
The integration of the PLB to the life jacket is key to ensuring a PLB activates, for true water-activated PLBs such as our range of sMRT and Sea Marshall Personal Locator Beacons, and is positioned above the water without any assistance from the wearer should they, unfortunately, enter the water unconscious or incapacitated by any other means such as suffering from cold-water shock. The positioning of the PLB and its’ anchor point on the PFD is also extremely crucial; for all approved PFDs, for use with sMRT and Sea Marshall PLBs, we have located the optimum fixing position whereby the antenna will be positioned at the highest point to achieve the maximum transmission range.
An approved method of integration is not only for the PLB to experience its full potential, but also to ensure that the activation of the PFD is not impeded in any way. Often, many PFDs are not designed with the intention of having a PLB, or any other similar device, fitted to it. Therefore, many retrofitted integration methods are often a compromise or a “best possible” fit for that particular PLB/PFD combination, but not necessarily the safest way to do so. By using a PFD that is purposely designed to be integrated with a PLB, you are ensuring you and your crew are equipped with a Man Overboard solution that will perform to the best of its ability and the functionality of neither PLB nor PFD is compromised in any way.
If you would like to discuss this further, speak to our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org