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RNLI appeal for public help to track down faulty emergency beacon

Lifeboats News Release

Peterhead lifeboat has now launched five times to what is believed to be a faulty EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon). The RNLI and the Coastguard are now appealing to the public for information on this troublesome piece of kit.

Example EPIRB

RNLI/Henry Weaver

Example EPIRB

An EPIRB is a device which is usually automatically activated upon contact with water, in an emergency, to send out a distress signal and an approximate position. This particular beacon seems to intermittently activate for a short period and then stops transmitting.

Frustratingly, the device does not remain on for long enough to get a fix on its location. Based on the approximate source of the signal there’s a good chance it’s on land somewhere.

It’s likely that the device has been left in storage somewhere and forgotten about, it may now have come into contact with water which has caused it to send out a distress signal.

If anyone knows of a device like this which may be in storage somewhere, locked in a garage or stuck up a tree, please call the Coastguard Operations Centre in Aberdeen on 01224 592334.

Please see pictures of a similar EPIRB attached for help in tracking the device down, the one in question might not look quite the same and may be considerably more worn. It’s probably around 25cm in length and 10cm wide.

RNLI media contacts

Henry Weaver, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026,

Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland,

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland