There's a very nice person called Jacqui who works for the EPIRB Registry in Falmouth.
She has asked me to e-mail to the Registry details of our forthcoming trip to Arctic Norway. She wants to know when we're going, where we're going and when we'll get back. Anyone taking a PLB out of home waters, they'd like to know please.
"Oh we have a lot of kayakers on the registry now", she told me. How many, I wondered? "Too many for me to count right now", was the reply.
I submitted my registration details two weeks ago and while they try to input the details on the day they're received, there's a backlog for sending out the confirmations and stickers which are supposed to go on the unit. She e-mailed me my registration so I know it's in the system.
Registration is a legal requirement and one of the most important parts of buying an EPIRB or PLB (personal locator beacon). If Falmouth receives a signal from this yellow device, it only gets a 15 character Hex ID and a GPS location. Based on that information, the MCGA decides how to respond.
If the signal comes from the middle of Glasgow it's probaby be a false alarm so they'll ring the contact numbers to check. If it's registered in Glasgow but the signal comes from Arctic Norway, they may hesitate, scratch their heads and wonder if there's a glitch. Unless I've told them in advance of our plans.
So EPIRB users, if you're heading away from your usual waters, give the EPIRB Registry a call 01326 211 569 or Fax them on 01326 319 264. They're very nice.