Is rescue now personal?

Have personal EPIRBs, the so-called personal locator beacons, or PLBs, become so small, effective and low-priced as to be the new standard for rescue situations? The new ACR ResQFix is a perfect case in point. Roughly the size of cell phone, this 406 emergency beacon has a built-in GPS receiver to aid in quick rescues. In the future, will crewmembers be expected to “bring their own” rescue capability? In the past, voyagers have relied on the vessel’s owner to carry one or two standard-size EPIRBs for help in emergency situations. It wasn’t effective from a cost or space standpoint for each crewmember to carry his or her own EPIRB. But now that diminutive GPS-equipped PLBs like the ResQFix are available for $750 (and the price is sure to drop), will crewmembers be expected to take responsibility for themselves? Will the boat owner/skipper n longer be required or expected to carry a large EPIRB registered to the boat?

By Ocean Navigator