We Review The 2 Best Personal Locating Beacons

As you are probably aware, if you are kayaking and get into difficulties at sea, you might need to send an emergency message to search and rescue teams for assistance. This is particularly necessary when you are out of range of mobile phone signals.  This also goes for boating, certain scuba excursions, or anytime you spend any extended time away from shore.

best personal locating beacon review 2016

Enter the personal locating beacon.  This is a device which can tell rescuers your exact location (using GPS) and in some cases can tell them who you are.  Depending on the model, they may be designed to clip to your body, or your vessel.

Some may float, others won’t.  All the ones featured in our reviews are waterproof, and can withstand immersion into water for up to an hour.  Some may come with a light attached, some may have a digital display to make them easier to use, others rely on more traditional ‘beeps’ and LED lights to operate.

What a personal locating beacon is not….  a cell phone, or even a personal radio.  They are not for chatting to your mates, or taking calls from your mum.

survival techniques plb

These are only to be deployed in the event of a genuine emergency, as they send signals to the coastguard, and other search and rescue organizations, to come and find you.

Take care with your PLB device – accidental usage is okay, but you must let the relevant bodies know this, as soon as possible, otherwise they will come looking for you!  Deliberate misuse can result in a large fine and/or bill.

Lecture over, now we can take a look at two of the best personal locating beacons out there on the market today.  Actually, although these are two, really they are four, with two slight variations.

#1 – ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ Personal Locating Beacon

ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ Personal Locating Beacon with 406 MHz Floating PLB review

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To begin with, we have the ACR PLB-375 RESQLINK+ and its twin sister ACR PLB-375 RESQLINK.

QUICK STATS

  • MANUFACTURER: ACRACTEX
  • MODEL: PLB-375/2881
  • DIMENSIONS: 1.6 X 1.9 X 4.5” (4.1 X 4.8 X 11.4 CM)
  • WEIGHT: 5.4 OZ (153 G)
  • BATTERY LIFE: 24-30 HOURS @ -4°F (-20°C) USAGE
  • BATTERY LIFESPAN: 5 YRS FROM PURCHASE OR 6 YRS FROM MANUFACTURE
  • WATERPROOF: YES. 16.40 FT (5 M) @ 1 HR., 33 FT (10 M) @ 10 MIN. FACTORY TESTED @ 70°F
  • BUOYANT: YES
  • WARRANTY: 5 YEARS
  • PRICE: $250 APPROX
  • OUR RATING: 4.5 OUT OF FIVE STARS

acr plb 375 resq link review

Both of these are waterproof, and tested in water temperatures of 70 degrees F.  They will withstand one hour at 16 feet depth, and up to ten minutes at a depth of 33 feet.  So if you accidentally drop them overboard, as may happen on a fishing trip or kayaking, then you should rest assured it will remain safe for a little while (as long as you can find it again!)

The PLB overboard scenario is where the main difference between these two PLBs comes in.  The RESQLINK is not deemed to float, whereas the RESQLINK+ does.  If you want a PLB specifically to float, and be easy to find when dropped overboard, then the RESQLINK+ is the one to choose.

The only other main difference between these two models, is that the RESQLINK+ is bigger and heavier than its non floating sister.

resqlink plus plb review

In other respects they are the same, they both have the same amount of battery life (24-30 hours use) the battery lifespan is 6 years from manufacturer.  The warranty is 5 years .

They both have respectable feedback from buyers.  The only real gripes have been about orders arriving broken, which will probably be an individual seller issue, or mailing problem.

Over 70% of users have left five star feedback, and this is a pretty good statistic.  If you are thinking of going ‘off the grid’ on your camping or sailing trip, you may be grateful you purchased one.


#2 – ACR 2884 AquaLink View Personal Locating Beacon

QUICK STATS

  • MANUFACTURER: ACRACTEX
  • MODEL: PLB-350B/2882
  • DIMENSIONS: 2.3 X 5.8 X 1.45” (5.9 X 14.8 X 3.7 CM)
  • WEIGHT: 9.2 OZ (261 G) WITH LANYARD
  • BATTERY LIFE: 24-35 HOURS @ -4°F (-20°C) USAGE
  • BATTERY LIFESPAN: 5 YRS FROM PURCHASE OR 6 YRS FROM MANUFACTURE
  • WATERPROOF: YES 16.40 FT (5 M) @ 1 HR., 33 FT (10 M) @ 10 MIN. FACTORY TESTED @ 70°F
  • BUOYANT: YES
  • DIGITAL DISPLAY: NO
  • WARRANTY: 5 YEARS
  • PRICE: $330  APPROX
  • OUR RATING: 4 OUT OF FIVE STARS

The second pair of PLBs are the AQUALINK range, also manufactured by Acratex.

As the name hints, these are specifically designed to be used either at sea, or during your waterborne adventure.

To be honest, Beach Baby can see no real difference between this pair and the RESQLINK+ in terms of usage, and what they can do.

However, the AQUALINK PLBs are bigger and heavier (although the weight does include a lanyard).

Other than the size and weight being different, and the pricing of the AQUALINK being, on average, about $100 higher, we are having a hard time finding out the differences, as it seems they are all fairly similar in general terms.

The AQUALINK will offer about an additional five hours of battery life over the RESQLINK though, which, of course, could make all the difference in a life or death situation.

BUT there is one big difference between the two AQUALINK models, and this is the AQUALINK VIEW has a digital display screen to tell you what you are doing/ have done with it, and the AQUALINK does not.

This means with the AQUALINK VIEW, you do not have to rely on the ‘traditional’ method of deciphering beeps, and looking for LED light displays to tell you what is happening.

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The 2 Best Personal Locating Beacons
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Beach Baby Bob

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Beach Baby Bob