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Last Updated: Tuesday January 17 2006 20:01 GMT

Device aims to cut deaths at sea

The new device is aimed at taking the search out of search and rescue.
It's hoped a new device which tracks boats and alerts the coastguard if a sailor goes overboard will save lives.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) hopes the alarm will make it easier to immediately pinpoint the position of ships and individuals.

The MOB (Man Overboard) Guardian has been made to try to reduce the 20 to 30 deaths of fishermen a year.

A spokesman for the RNLI said: "This will help to take the 'search' out of 'search and rescue'."

The device works in two ways. One part tracks the vessel and transmits to the coastguard, via satellite, regular updates on the vessel's position, course and speed.

If a regular update is missed, the RNLI monitoring station automatically tries to contact the vessel - and a rescue operation can start if needed.

Individual alarms

The device's second part is made up of personal alarms for individual fishermen who wear them and which automatically send an alert to the coastguard if they go into the water.

Fishermen can also trigger the device by hand if they need to.

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