World’s First RLS Enabled Distress Beacon Receives EU Approval

The Orolia Maritime FastFind ReturnLink PLB offers accelerated rescue and a reassurance signal to those in distress


Orolia Maritime, the global leader in emergency readiness and response, has announced that its FastFind ReturnLink personal location beacon (PLB) has been approved for production and will be available in countries across Europe from December


Orolia has worked closely with the European GNSS Agency (GSA) to implement Galileo satellite system services in its beacons under the framework of the H2020 project Helios, developing search and rescue (SAR) distress beacons with the capability to receive Return Link Messages (RLM). The Galileo Return Link Service, which allows people in distress to receive automatic acknowledgement that their signal has been received and their location is known, was declared operational in January 2020.


The FastFind ReturnLink transmits the user’s unique ID and GNSS location via the global network of Cospas Sarsat search and rescue satellites. Galileo’s Return Link Service transmits a return signal back to the user’s beacon to confirm the alert has been processed and location has been detected. When the PLB receives the RLM, displays a blue light to inform the user, whether on land or at sea, that search and rescue professionals are aware of their situation and location.


Chris Loizou, Vice President of Maritime at Orolia, said: “The Search and Rescue community has long known the survival impact of dealing with a distress situation on your own, either as a solo adventurer or as a group that feels isolated due to the lack of communication with the outside world. The Return Link reassurance signal will reduce the chances of rash decisions taken by those who feel they have nothing to lose, such as leaving the site of an accident or attempting to swim to safety. The psychological impact of knowing that help is on the way cannot be underestimated, and this PLB will provide invaluable peace of mind for those in distress.”


Rodrigo da Costa, GSA Executive Director, said: “At the GSA, our objective is to ensure that our investment and our work on Galileo services are bringing added value to citizens. With the first SAR RLS beacon worldwide developed thanks to the H2020 project HELIOS, we can proudly state that our actions made a difference for innovation but also for the citizens who might need to use this Personal Location Beacon and will be reassured by the Return Link Service.”


The FastFind ReturnLink also offers the accelerated location detection with combined Galileo and GPS GNSS receivers and Orolia’s tried and tested 406MHz technology, which has been at the core of search and rescue innovation since 1981. It is Orolia Maritime’s most advanced search and rescue beacon to date. Using the latest MEOSAR utilising advanced technology, packed into a simple, rugged, lightweight, palm sized unit.

The first production run will be available in December 2020 with full production supporting orders in 2021.

For more about Orolia and its range of maritime solutions, please visit www.oroliamaritime.com.