Skip to main content

Rental program adds GPIRBs

Sailboat racers, tournament fishermen and short-haul cruisers who occasionally travel far offshore have relied on the BoatU.S. Foundation's EPIRB Rental Program for more than 14 years. In that time, foundation EPIRBs have been rented out more than 5,000 times with 62 lives saved.

Now the foundation has added GPIRBs (Global Position Indicating Radio Beacons) to the program that are easier to ship, easier to store and provide a more accurate location fix - potentially leading to speedier rescues. The new GPIRBs rent for just $65 a week at

The program offers McMurdo Smartfind Plus GPS-enabled EPIRBs, which normally retail for about $800. Since it includes GPS technology in addition to the standard 406-MHz satellite signaling capabilities, a GPIRB provides search-and-rescue authorities with a more accurate location of a vessel in distress. When compared to standard EPIRBs, it also performs this lifesaving function in a fraction of the time, which can enable rescuers to respond sooner.