Before we left Richards Bay, South Africa
, for our trip around to Cape Town
, I went through our Off Shore Passage
Check List. One of the tasks on the list is to test the EPIRB
, which is probably the easier task on the list. You flip the switch to the 'Test' position, the display shows that everything is OK and you're done. This time was no different except about an hour after I had done the test, the marina manager at Zululand Yacht Club yelled at me that she had just gotten a call from the Richards Bay Port Control that our EPIRB
had gone off.
I looked at the EPIRB and it looked normal. Nothing indicating that it was transmitting an emergency
signal. I called Port Control and told them that we were not having an emergency
. Then I jumped on the internet
to see which agency would be handling the signal. I found the phone
number to South Africa's Mission Control and when I called them, they said they hadn't received the signal. Since we had bought our EPIRB in the USA, I then called their Mission Control. The woman I spoke with said she had received the signal and would log it as an unintentional alert.
I went to ACR's website and filled out a contact form, explaining what had happened. All too often, when I fill out one of those forms, I never hear back. This time was different. About five minutes after sending the form in, I got a phone call
from someone with ACR in Florida
. Remember, I'm in South Africa
. It was 0530 in Florida
. The man who called asked a few questions and said that he had never heard of this problem before. He said he was going to have the EPIRB replaced for us. He did not ask when we bought the unit or if it was still under warranty. Almost immediately, I received some forms from him via email
, which I filled out and returned. A week later, I received a brand new EPIRB, which is no small fete to get something sent into South Afirica without using an agent.
I suppose I should mention that I am not an employee of ACR Electronics
nor are any of my family
Fair winds and calm seas.