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Boaters should check their EPIRB ID codes

Cobham Life Support, ACR Products is urging all EPIRB and PLB owners to double-check their 15-character identification code registration.

According to a recent Marine Board of Investigation inquiry, which is looking into the March 24 sinking of the scallop boat Lady Mary, there was a discrepancy in the EPIRB's identification number, marked on a decal that the boat's owner had received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after he registered the EPIRB.

In the case of Lady Mary, the emergency signal initially received by authorities was regarded as unregistered, which may have led to delays in response time while emergency center controllers waited for additional satellite passes to fix a location.

"Because this situation came to light, we are urging all beacon owners to compare their 15-character identification code printed on the beacon with the registration sticker they receive from NOAA just to ensure they both match," said Chris Wahler, marketing manager for Cobham Life Support, ACR Products, in a statement.

Despite the requirement to register all EPIRBs and PLBs, some reports show that up to 40 percent of EPIRB activations are from unregistered beacons, according to the company.

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