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What is Search and Rescue Transponder (SART)?

SART or Search and Rescue Transponder, is an extremely vital equipment on the ship as it performs the job of a signal-man. It is a vital machine during distress for it helps in locating the position of the vessel in case it goes off-track. SARTs are made of water proof components which protects it against damage by water. SARTs are essentially battery-operated, hence can be operative for a long time, as long as 100-hours if need arises in case of emergencies.

SARTs are of use in ships, lifeboats and life rafts. They are the most supportive machines in case of an unprecedented emergency. SARTs are designed to remain afloat on water for a long time in case the vessel finds itself submerged in water. The bright color of SARTs enables their quick detection, whereas the combination of transmitter and receiver enables it to transmit as well as receive radio signals. SART machines have been instrumental in rescuing several crafts and ships by reacting to the search signal sent from an X-band radar, typically of 9 GHz.  These signals are known as homing signals. The response is usually displayed on radar screens as a sequence of dots on a S band-radar, which helps rescuers reach the vessels in time.

S4 Rescue SART new logo lrg 271x300 What is Search and Rescue Transponder (SART)?

The battery of SART is kept safe and can last long because it lies dormant when not needed. The equipment is activated only when it needs to be, like when it comes in contact with water. Standard vessels of 500 tons or less are not supposed to go in the sea without a SART, whereas vessels above 500 tons are not supposed to venture out in the seas without two transponders. This signifies the importance of a SART on a ship.

The device remains dormant until an emergency switch is on. This way, it saves on several watts of power, crucial for other equipments. It turns itself on, when it gets signals emitted by the radar of a vessel passing by. The crew on the ship is thus alerted that another vessel in the vicinity of 100 meters requires assistance. Audio and visual signals do the trick in most cases.

SARTs find themselves useful in rescue operations involving airplanes or ships stranded by air and sea accidents. They are designed to survive the toughest conditions and stay active on elevated positions like on a pole so that they could cover a diverse range. Talking of heights, a SART transponder on an airplane could have a range of 30 to 40 miles. This helps to scrutinize a huge range and huge area.

SART emits a sequence of 12 dots, the first dot represents the starting point, and the rest would simply rush to the ends. As the rescuing vessel or individual approaches the SART, the circumference of the arc would go up. The pattern differentiates it from that of a RADAR, which simply reflects the signals.

Looking at the facts, one can determine that SARTs are a marvel of human engineering, making them significant equipments on the ship venturing out in deep oceans.

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