MCA issue safety bulletin for PLBs and PFDs

21 Sep 20

The MCA has issued a Safety Bulletin for boaters after being alerted to a potential safety issue surrounding the retrospective fitting of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) into Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs). The concerns surround the consequent impact on both of the item’s suitability and functionality.

Evidence has suggested that some users may not be considering the advice and guidance of both the PFD manufacturer and the PLB manufacturer when retrofitting PLBs into PFDs. As a result there is potential that the functionality of both the PFD and the PLB could be compromised. As such, this could have a detrimental effect on the safety benefits of these items during an emergency situation. 


 Remember to always check andensure that the PLB that you are using is approved for compatibility by the PFD’smanufacturer and, when fitting the PLB to the PFD, that you follow the officialguidance of the PFD manufacturer.

If you have already fitted a PLBto a PFD, check that you have followed the PFD manufacturer’s official guidancewhen doing so. When using the devices always ensure that you follow the PLBmanufacturer’s user instructions and regularly carry out the self-test regime.

If in any doubt, contact the PFD’s manufacturer or their approved service agent (for both the PFD and PLB) for advice.

For further information on levels of buoyancy, how to look after yourself afloat and how to correctly fit a lifejacket, visit the RYA Safety hub on the RYA website.