I purchased an EPIRB last year when I got an Achilles raft primarily for ocean use. I have wondered since that time if this was a good purchase or not. I read this article about the bear attack last year which they used a 'locator beacon.' I know there are different types of beacons, but it sounds like this was probably an EPIRB. I was kind of shocked that it took about five+ hours to rescue these young people who were only 100-150 north of Anchorage.
First, I want to say that in no way whatsoever is this post aimed at demeaning search and rescue personnel or their methods. I appreciate each and everyone's efforts and they do a fine job. I am just wondering how much verification is needed before they launch a rescue? I realize that EPIRBs get inadvertently activated frequently and this is one of the problems. I also realize that there is not a helicopter or aircraft standing by at every airport in the state awaiting an EPIRB ping. Additionally , a lot of times when rescues are needed, the weather hampers efforts.
The main thing I am wondering is if my EPIRB starts to send a signal, which I realize the sending can take up to 90 minutes depending on satellite activity, how long would it be until I saw someone in lower Cook Inlet (in relatively good weather) before a rescue effort is initiated? I have really concluded for ocean use in cold water, it would just be a locator for a corpse. If anybody has any experience working at the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC), I would be interested to hear how the process works.
Thanks again to everyone that works to rescue us when a perilous situation strikes. I am thanking you now, because I hope to never meet you while you're on the job.