For the second consecutive year, polar explorers Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen will test the Arctic Ocean during its most treacherous and volatile time of the year by attempting a 1,100 mile (100 miles a day) journey to the North Pole and back in specially modified canoes capable of being paddled or pulled. The expedition is being undertaken to bring attention to global warming and the resulting plight of the polar bear.
As they begin their world-record attempt May 1, the team has a guardian angel along for the journey. ACR Electronics, Inc. (www.acrelectronics.com), the world leader in safety and survival technologies, has again joined the One World Expedition as a major equipment sponsor and the official safety equipment supplier.
Along with other ACR-manufactured safety gear, Dupre and Larsen each will carry the new TerraFix 406 GPS I/O Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Gear weight is a critical issue and both men are limited to 300 pounds each including their specially-designed amphibious canoes, but there was no question that the small, portable 13-ounce (368 grams) emergency signaling device would be included.
A satellite-detectable beacon capable of broadcasting critical GPS coordinates, the TerraFix 406 will, when activated, provide search and rescue crews with exact latitude and longitude, thereby increasing emergency response speed by pinpointing positioning within 100 meters or 110 yards in the least amount of time.
Dupre and Larsen provided their precise logistical plan as part of their beacon registration, so that in the event of an emergency search and rescue agencies will be able to quickly determine the authenticity of the signal, and put assets into action more effectively. ACR highly recommends that all PLB owners follow this example.
Last year their planned four-month journey ended due to unexpected weather conditions. The goal was to cross the frozen ice cap from Cape Arctichesky, Siberia, to the geographic North Pole, and then on to Ellesmere Island, Canada. While such expeditions have been completed during other times of the year, extreme temperature swings, freeze-thaw conditions, heavy fog and dangerous shifting ice flows have prevented a summer crossing. In 2006, the pair intends to make history by being the first to journey to the North Pole and back in summer, starting at Ellesmere Island, Canada and finishing in Greenland.
Along the way, Dupre and Larsen will sample ice for depth and contaminants and record their observations to create awareness of global climate change and the resultant plight of the polar bear. Through satellite phones, they will post daily updates and images of their trip to www.oneworldexpedition.com and www.greenpeaceusa.org
PLBs have become highly visible to the public since a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) waiver ruling went into effect in July 2003 approving the sale and use of PLBs for land use in the continental United States. (PLBs were permitted in Alaska for several years prior as a system test and resulted in dozens of lives saved.)
A PLB is a satellite-signaling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted and where the situation is grave and imminent and the loss of life, limb, eyesight or valuable property will occur without assistance. All beacons must be registered following purchase, a simple and quick process which now has a web-based Internet filing option at http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages the PLB registration database in the U.S. for all PLBs, EPIRBs and related beacons.
ACR Electronics, Inc. (www.acrelectronics.com), a Cobham plc Company, designs and manufactures a complete line of safety and survival products, including EPIRBs, P-ELTs/P-EPIRBs/PLBs, Bridge-based Information Systems, SARTs and safety accessories. The quality systems of this facility have been registered by UL to the ISO 9001:2000 Series Standards. Recognized as the world leader in safety and survival technologies, ACR has provided safety equipment to the aviation and marine industries, as well as to the military, since 1956.