Tom Foster explains why a PLB is a must for any adventure ride

Author: Team Adventure Moto   Date Posted:3 December 2019 

Click to watch Tom Foster, editor from Adventure Rider Magazine, explaining why a PLB is a must for any adventure ride!

Video Transcript:

I'm hoping I can get you all to think about carrying a PLB, Personal Locator Beacon. A lot of people call them EPIRBs, but PLB is their correct term for us adventure bike riders. The thing about an EPIRB is if you need help this is the fastest way to get it, okay. Assuming you don't have phone signal, assuming you're out in the middle of nowhere. You might be hurt, you might have a mechanical problem, you might be trapped by floodwater, lots of things. The thing with a PLB is it operates on a dedicated satellite network. So AMSA in Australia monitor that network 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And when you send your distress signal AMSA fly’s into action immediately to try and find you and get help to you. It's as simple as that.

I've been carrying satellite trackers for a lot of years, and I wouldn't ride without one. But I'm trying to get adventure riders to think about having at least one PLB in each group. Ideally one on each rider. But one in each group, then if you've got a problem, instead of your signal going to a call centre somewhere overseas and then coming back to Australia. Relying on there not being too much traffic on the satellites and so forth. All that is beside the point, the PLB is the go-to unit when you're in trouble. It's the one to have.

The other thing I want you to think about with a PLB is keeping it on your person, not on your bike, not buried in your backpack. I wear it on a strap on my CamelBak, because I've been injured and couldn't get to my bike one time. So keep these things with you.

And the other thing you should know, is that you can register each ride. So you register your PLB with your name and your contact details for your next of kin, and people to contact in emergencies and so forth. If you're allergic to something you can put that on your registration so that if a medical team does come your way they can be ready for your diabetes or anaphylaxis or whatever problem you might have, they'll have that equipment on board when they are trying to get to you. It really is a good thing, this one from an Australian company called KTI for instance, the battery life is 10 years, and the warranty on the unit is 10 years, there's no subscription. And I think they're about $300. $30 a year for that sort of peace of mind. I just don't see how you can go without one.

Comments (4)

Absolutely a must have, but not as the video sugge

By: on 26 December 2020
Tom, great article and you are completely correct in encouraging riders to carry a PLB. Just one clarification, they are not to be used if you have a mechanical problem. (Unless) that mechanical problem becomes either immediately or over time a life threatening situation. A helicopter rescue crew are not going to fix a broken bike for you and you may find yourself with a very hefty bill instead. But a life threatening situation, absolutely the too, to use!

Custom Race Suit

By: on 23 April 2020
My personal opinion is that never compromise on-track safety. When you are on the road you should wear a motorcycle leather safety suit. Then you will see a professional bike rider. I am a bike tourist. I have sportbike BMW g650. And this time I ordered my bike matching suit from Custom Motorcycle Leather Racing Suit | Moto Speeds. This suit gives me complete mental freedom on the bike.

PLB tag

By: on 25 January 2020
Is it possible to buy a PLB tag I can fit to my bike jacket where I carry my PLB ?

KTI Personal Locator Beacon

By: on 18 December 2019
I'm a hiker and a skier and have been walking and skiing with a KTI PLB for about four years now. There are no subscription fees required! Unlike some other units, the KTI updates your location each time it transmits, which is great if you are forced to relocate because of a bushfire, or have slipped down a hill or mountainside away from your original transmission point. Some other PLBs simply keep updating the original transmission location, which can be problematic. AMSA provides all the basic info on registration at

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