For those that don't know - an EPIRB is an emergency position-indicating radio beacon that some boats have on board as a safety device. Personally, I wouldn't venture offshore without one, but many do. When disaster strikes, it's your last ditch effort, your 911 call on the water, a final lifeline to the outside world when radio and all else fails you and, if you activate it, it is presumed you are in imminent danger or worse. Once activated (either manually or when submerged in water, as in a sinking), a signal with GPS position is sent out into the atmosphere. This signal can be picked up practically any distance from shore, anywhere on the globe. They are monitored world-wide and taken very, very seriously. Ships large and small within striking distance are alerted and are expected, by law, to divert and search for the vessel. The nearest Coast Guard operations are notified and rescue efforts put into effect. Families are called. Cruising communities alerted. In short, it's a big deal. EPIRBs have saved countless lives that would have otherwise been lost without a trace.