Search & Rescue

 Personal Locator Beacons – PLBs

Search and Rescue strongly advise that everyone who ventures into the outdoors carries a Personal Locator Beacon. It does not matter whether you are doing a day trip or a multi day tramp; it only takes a moment’s inattention for the trip to turn into a life and death situation

Here a few tips for using beacons

  • Always register your beacon. It is a legal requirement. Register it a
  • Don’t test the beacon too often, once a month is sufficient. Most of the beacons on the market have either a 5 or 7 year battery life , however testing does shorten the battery life
  • Check the battery expiry date
  • Only turn the beacon ON when it is an EMERGENCY.
  • Being too tired or having a blister is not a life and death situation
  • If you have cell phone coverage – use your cell phone first.
  • Carry the beacon on your person NOT in your pack , so in a pocket or belt pouch
  • Once activated DON’T MOVE , it is much harder to track a mobile beacon
  • Most beacons are designed for the aerial to be in a vertical position
  • Find open ground, away from a bluff or overhang, so that the beacon can find the satellites.
  • Rescue time can be as quick as 1or 2 hours or take up to 48 hours , all depending upon the weather and your location
  • If you do activate the beacon accidentally, phone the Rescue Coordination Centre 0508 472269 or 0508 4RCCNZ and advise them that help is not required.  They will then instruct you that it is OK to turn off your beacon.
  • If you are unable to make contact with RCCNZ then contact can be made with one of the below agencies and they will forward the information on:

-NZ Police call 111

-Maritime Operations Centre via marine radio on VHF     channel 16

-Airways Corporation

  • There is no penalty for inadvertent activation
  • Get the battery checked if you activate the beacon.
  • Hire a beacon if you cannot afford one.
  • Beacons are hired out by the Nelson Locator Beacon Trust ( a charitable trust run by Search & Rescue volunteers )for as little as $20 a weekend or $30 for a week