The SafeLink R10 is a new type of man-overboard rescue beacon that communicates with all operating AIS systems, typically within a range of 4 nautical miles, according to the manufacturer. The unit is clipped to or permanently worn on a life jacket or inflatable PFD. Upon immersion a clip is pulled to release the antenna and activate the locator beacon. The device is also designed to be activated upon inflation of a PFD, but the manufacturer recommends that this function should be set up by a professional.
When switched on, the unit broadcasts a line-of-sight signal with a GPS code that causes any operational AIS receiver within range (Class A and B) to identify the target as an “active AIS SART (search and rescue transponder).” The position is given in lat/lon coordinates and the screen image can be used to help steer the vessel to the person in the water.
Battery life is rated at 7 years (if the unit is never used), and the unit can broadcast continually for 24 hours. There’s a built-in flashing LED to help with visual identification in the case of a nighttime rescue. McMurdo also markets the same AIS SART package, but in a different case. For those with an AIS system on board, these products should be of particular interest.