iPIRB: Accuracy in Locating Casualties at Sea

Press Release
Friday, November 16, 2012

Scottish company develops vital new level of accuracy for locating casualties at sea.

The new iPIRB, launched by MarineMTS and Telemar UK Limited locates and identifies marine casualties fast so that every effort can be concentrated on rescue and saving life.  The technology was showcased  (Friday 16 November) at a launch hosted by the Maritime Rescue Institute at Stonehaven, and attended by marine industry operators including Taqa Bratani, Shell, Nexen, Marathon and Total, as well as Grampian Police.

iPIRB (Individual Position Indicating Rescue Beacon) is a neat, portable and most of all – reliable, personal locator beacon system, which completes the search and rescue circle by providing a hitherto unavailable layer of pinpoint rescue accuracy for maritime or helicopter operators – whether leisure or commercial.  

Over the years, search and rescue technology has developed to the point where the location of an incident at sea can be determined by on-board communications technology with reasonable accuracy.  However, available technology does not allow pinpoint accuracy – crucial when searching for an individual in the water, often in treacherous conditions.  Or, multiple individuals – hundreds even.

Wynne Edwards is managing director of Marine MTS, who developed the new iPIRB system.  He commented: “If you know exactly where everyone is in a mass casualty situation, vital time can be saved and every effort is immediately concentrated on their rescue.  Fast arrival and action gives victims a far greater chance of survival.  We developed iPIRB to deliver this level of accuracy in any situation where there are casualties in the water, whether having come from a helicopter or a boat.  Working with satellite technology, we’ve made rescue at sea more precise, and therefore, survival more likely.”

Dave Pressley is General Manager of Telemar Scotland, a business unit of Telemar UK, who will be the distributor of the iPIRB  in the UK.  He added:  “Any organization that has employees crossing sea either on the water or by air needs the best equipment possible for locating people in the event of a disaster.  In that unfortunate situation, and often against the elements, iPIRB will allow these organisations to pinpoint individuals and better coordinate a successful rescue.”

Where help has been be summoned to the rough location of an incident, iPIRB identifies the precise location of casualties within a search area, either on board a craft or crucially, in the water.  Even unconscious casualties can be located, as the beacon is automatically activated on impact with the water.  In the case when an incident results in multiple casualties, each can be located with absolute accuracy – reducing time in the water, and thereby increasing the chances of survival.  


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