Taking the search out of search and rescue Since 1996
A charitable company that has expanded to over 50 hire outlets with over 400 highly rated PLBs
We also offer the cheapest possible prices for the purchase of personal locator beacons
Personal locator beacons sold or hired out by the charitable trust have played a part in rescue of over 600 people throughout New Zealand John Munro's contribution to the process in rescuing people has been recognized with a police award, Volunteer of the Year, and a plaque presented by National Rescue Co-ordination Center.
Personal locator beacons
one of the most reliable ways of signalling that you need help, Due to New Zealand’s rugged landscape and changeable weather a personal locator beacon (PLB) is an essential item for those who regularly head into the back-country bush walking, hiking & backpacking, Beacons (also known as distress or emergency beacons) are the most effective way of letting people know that you need urgent help and where to find you.
Radios, GPS tracking systems, distress flares, whistles, lights and mobile phones may be useful as a back-up, however, none are as effective as a distress beacon when you need help in an emergency.
We only sell NZ coded PLBs, and have over 50 rental outlets throughout NZ. Beacons can be purchased overseas, but it’s important to get your beacon recoded for New Zealand in order for it to be registered with the Rescue Coordination Center NZ (RCCNZ). If you don’t do this, rescue services in the country you bought your beacon from will be sent your distress signal, delaying your rescue. Recoding the beacon can be done here in NZ through Wilco Marine
Choose the right beacon
Although they all work in the same way, different beacons are designed for use in different environments.
There are three types of beacons:
EPIRBs (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) are best for boats, ships and other activities on water
PLBs (personal locator beacon) are for those tramping, climbing, hunting and travelling to remote locations, microlights and balloons and any other outdoor activities. If being used for paddling or small water craft then they need to be of a type that can float and operate in water.
ELTs (emergency locator transmitter) are only for aircraft
Where to place you beacon
We suggest you place your PLB either in one of our custom made pouches attached to your belt or a zipped pocket. All our beacons for purchase and hire come with a heavy duty pouch, always carry your beacon where you can get to it in an emergency, The last thing you want is the beacon to be in something that you may be separated from. We also provide the pouches for $15 in our online shop: “These are made specifically for ACR 375, 400 & 425 beacons
How they work
When a PLB is activated, the signal is picked up by a satellite, which then sends information to Rescue Coordination Center NZ. RCCNZ will determine the exact location of the beacon, and will contact the people listed on the beacon’s registration details. This is why it’s important to register your beacon upon purchasing, keep emergency contact details up-to-date, and let those contacts know your plans in order to help establish your position. When the position has been determined, RCCNZ will launch a search and rescue operation. All modern beacons transmit a 406MHz signal, but some also transmit the older 121.5MHz signal, which helps searchers home in on your location once they arrive in the vicinity. Your chosen PLB should also be GPS-enabled so it can also send your location to searchers (non GPS models still work but take longer for orbiting satellites to pinpoint your location).
all of our PLBs for sale have all three 406MHz, 121.5MHz & GPS
When should you activate
Distress beacons are for life-threatening situations. RCCNZ advise people to err on the side of caution and to activate their PLB when in need of rescue, please don't leave it till the middle of the night; it’s easier and more convenient to search during the day with plenty of daylight. if possible, find a clearing and remain there, Once activated keep the beacon turned on and stay in one place. If you’re hopelessly lost or need rescuing due to an injury, the more you move around the harder it is for rescuers to find you. if possible find clearings, create arrows out of rocks and sticks and leave bright pack liners beside a riverbed or move to a ridge or a flat area large enough for the helicopter to land and would help rescuers spot you and draw attention to your location. use common sense and do what you are able to do to aid rescuers in finding you
Don't move when it is dangerous to do so. If the injured person is not able to be moved and someone can stay with them, one person could take the PLB to a clearing and then guide rescuers once they arrive. But realize that New Zealand bush and terrain can make it tricky for searchers to hone in on a beacon. also the reason we only supply beacons with all three transmit signals 406MHz, 121.5MHz & GPS
If your beacon is set off accidentally, phone RCCNZ immediately.
New Zealand (toll free):
0508 4 RCCNZ or 0508 472 269
This will ensure a search and rescue operation is not launched needlessly.
If you are unable to contact RCCNZ immediately, switch off the beacon and make contact as soon as you are able to.
There is no penalty for accidental activation.
Types of beacons
Most beacons work as an emergency device only – sending a signal when you need help. But some models also provide messaging and tracking options. These devices allow for pre-set messages to be sent and may be able to receive text messages and link up to social media accounts so your friends can follow your progress. The major drawback of these devices is that they operate on a subscription service. and most don't have the 121.5mz making it harder to pinpoint the location
Keep your PLB securely on your person,
Ensure everyone in your party knows where the beacon is and how to operate it.
Get familiar with your beacon before you head out
When possible, have more than one PLB in your group.
Make sure your PLB is waterproof and you have a floatation device for it. (like all the ones we sell)
Read the instruction manual and understand how to operate your beacon
Check the expiry date for the battery, which is shown on the beacon label
Batteries should be replaced by your supplier or agent
Make sure your beacon is registered and that your details are kept up to date
Register your beacon
It’s the law, Registering your beacon is a legal requirement.
It’s free and easy and only takes a couple of minutes. Registrations can be can be submitted online, emailed or downloaded and sent through post.
Ensuring your beacon is registered with the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand (RCCNZ) is vital – a registered beacon means a quicker, more targeted response can be launched.
RCCNZ may also be able to find out exactly who is with you, how long you have been gone, and whether anyone has any medical conditions. Rescuers will then be in the best position to help you when you are located.
It could save your life
Disposing of old beacons
Old or obsolete beacons need to be disposed of carefully, to ensure they are not set off by accident.
Do not just throw them away, as a lot of time and money has been spent on search operations to dig beacons out of rubbish tips.
The battery needs to be disconnected and the beacon disposed of according to local regulations, as many beacons contain hazardous materials. The names of distributors who dispose of old beacons can be found at www.beacons.org.nz.
PLBs are ideal for
Tramping, bush-walking, hiking, backpacking, Hunting, sailing, boating, Climbers, 4 wheel drive clubs, Farmers, Forestry workers
you can get into trouble very quickly while out in New Zealand’s rugged landscape, Get yourself a beacon and take it for walks and hopefully you never have to use it
if you have any questions please dont hesitate to contact us
John Munro will be there to answer any Questions
Mystery creek field days 2020