rescueME PLB1 Personal Locator Beacon

After a lot of thought, I’ve bought a Personal Locator Beacon. PLB’s are simple devices which alert the rescue services if you need rescue and evacuation. There are no bells and whistles. It simply sends a signal to the relevant SAR centre and they alert rescue teams. There’s a short explanation here.

The rescueME PLB1 is probably the smallest and lightest PLB on the market, weighing 113g on my scales. Battery life is seven years. It has self test functions to make sure it’s working without alerting SAR. To call help, it simply requires extending the aerial and  pressing one button. It sends a signal for about 24hrs and SAR can home in on it. There’s a sturdy flap to prevent you pressing the help button accidentally. More details can be found here.

The beauty of a PLB is that it has no subscription, although it is a one shot use and you have to send it back to the manufacturer for a new battery after use. I looked at SPOT and Delorme, but decided that they were too sophisticated for my purposes. I’m not bothered about tracking and communication when I’m out in the wilds, but like the idea of a safety net if I break a leg and there’s no mobile signal. A PLB is ideal for Scotland, for instance.

The PLB1 comes with a soft case, a lanyard and a clip housing. I’ll probably just put it in a rucksack pocket and hope I never have to use it. If you’re a kayaker, the PLB1 doesn’t float so you’d probably want to consider some alternatives. For backpackers it looks an ideal unit, compact and lightweight.

In the UK, you are obliged to register your beacon with the Epirb Registry, which you can do either on the paper form provided or, as I did, online. It’s a simple and painless process that took a couple of minutes. If you backpack on your own in remote areas with no phone coverage, it’s a no brainer. Mine cost £179.


6 thoughts on “rescueME PLB1 Personal Locator Beacon”

  1. Thanks for the info Robin. Like yourself I found that the ones I looked at had too many features and ones that I didn’t need. Being quite an oldster
    now I can feel a bit vunerable when out and about in Scotland particularly. I shall be getting one for sure.

    1. It has a non-user replaceable battery that lasts for about seven years if not activated. It has a flip guard against accidental activation. There’s also a 50 second delay so it can be deactivated if necessary. The battery can be replaced by the manufacturer.

  2. I think carrying something like this is really wise in remote country, such as that which we cross on the TGO Challenge, Robin. As you know I have the Spot Gen 3 and like to be able to send a beacon location several times a day to my wife – it’s an added safety feature in case I become incapacitated and ‘disappear’. But the Spot is expensive given the annual subscription so your purchase seems a very sensible alternative.

  3. Good nudge to the rest of us who walk alone to think again about these devices. You must have got a particularly good deal – at least £30 cheaper than I can find.

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