An enthusiastic market
The installed base of GNSS-enabled SAR beacons is currently about 1.3 mln beacons and this is expected to double by 2029. With close to 95,000 units shipped in 2019, increasing to an expected 150,000 units by 2029, and an installed base of approximately 750,000 units, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) constitute the largest group of GNSS-enabled search and rescue beacons sold each year. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) are in second place, with an installed base of 500,000 units, followed by Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) with 100,000 units.
PLBs account for around 60% of the global installed base of GNSS-enabled beacons and despite both Automatic Identification System search and rescue transponders (AIS-SARTs) and Automatic Identification System man overboard (AIS-MOBs) forecast to increase their installed base by a CAGR of 14% over the next year (as opposed to only 2% for PLBs), GNSS-enabled PLBs are expected to continue dominating the global installed base in absolute numbers.
One reason for this is the growing share of GNSS uptake across PLBs (92% of produced units in 2018) compared to other SAR beacons such as EPIRBs (47%) and ELTs (32%).
Types of beacons