A great blog we only recently became aware of, Robin Storm at Blogspot, brings us the story of the sailing vessel Sean Seamour. After being struck by a large wave at sea the vessel began sinking and the crew quickly activated their ACR EPIRB. The vessel’s log tells the rest of the story:
…immediately after the knockdown, I initiated the EPIRB, an ACR 406 Rapidfix. A half hour later , I realized that the strobe light was no longer functioning and that the intensity of the “on” light had dropped considerably.
I reinitialized the unit, with no further success whereas I had the unit re-certified two weeks before. But far worst yet is the fact that the Coast Guard received the signal but attributed it to another vessel! In their database my ID corresponded to a boat in Alabama. The Coast Guard immediately called the point of contact indicated in the database, having to wake up the owner at three am to be told “no I have not initiated my EPIRB.
They asked him to disconnect the battery… and the signal stop emitting at that approximate moment – about the same time my unit stopped functioning! Considering this, they decided to stop the search on this signal! What saved me, is that I had kept the EPIRB from a preceding boat, Lou PantaÃ¯. This second EPIRB was held in its cradle on the inside of the hard dodger. Upon the first knockdown this structure was sheared off the boat and sank, but luckily, the 11 year old EPIRB went into hydrostatic release and provided the Coast Guard with Lu PantaÃ¯ ID. It is this one that they sought and found – failing that none of us would have survived.
Read the rest of the story including what precautions you need to take in order to avoid this problem at Robin Storm’s blog: LINK