Personal Locator Beacons

Find the best personal locator beacon for you.

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ACR ResQLink
The Find: At only 3.9 inches, it's one of the smallest PLBs. It has 66 GPS channels and broadcasts a 406 MHz signal with a 121.5 MHz homing frequency to relay your position to potential rescuers. It boasts a bright LED strobe and lasts up to 30 hours once it's activated. The Loss: It's manually activated in a two-step process. First, deploy the antenna. Second, power up the unit — so if you're knocked out, you're out of luck. $259.99; acrartex.com
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McMurdo Fast Find 220
The Find: It transmits a unique ID for the user carrying it and his current GPS coordinates via the Cospas-Sarsat global search-and-rescue charts, so his current position would be isolated quickly. The antenna deploys automatically, and a homing beacon and flashing SOS light draw rescue parties to his position quickly. The Loss: Once activated, the battery is good for 24 hours compared with 30 for the ResQLink. The Fast Find 220 comes with a flotation pouch. Lose the pouch and you might not be found. $230; mcmurdomarine.com
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Kannad SafeLink Solo
The Find: It's waterproof to 33 feet and is designed to be carried on your person at all times, thanks to its compact design. The SafeLink Solo is programmed with 50 GPS channels and comes with a lanyard, buoyancy pouch and an additional carry pouch that can be strapped to your belt or directly to your life jacket. The Loss: It takes three steps to activate and needs the extra flotation pouch to remain buoyant, so if you lose the flotation pouch, well, you know. $230; kannadmarine.com

A personal locator beacon (PLB) is a smart choice to add to your onboard equipment if you’re spending time far enough from shore that you can’t see land. The trick is finding one that works for you.