S.A.R.T stands for Search and Rescue ( Radar ) Transponder.
It's primary role is to assist in locating survivors or vessels in distress. It is the main means of rescue craft homing in on the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. " GMDSS". It allows any vessel or aircraft fitted with Marine Band radar to detect and locate survivors at a range of up to 5 nautical miles from a surface rescue vessel, and further distances from aircraft.
All commercial shipping is required to carry SART's for use in liferafts, as well as for emergency location of the main vessel.
How does SART work?
A SART unit is a Transponder which means that it is a transmitter that,once turned on, goes into operational mode after recieving a Radar pulse.Utilising the principles of normal Radar the operator of the Search vessel can determine a range and bearing to the target.
To discern the difference between a normal return echo and the transponder the SART produces a total of 12 returns for each radar pulse. This appers on the Radar screen as a very distinct line of 12 dots and thus easy identification of survivors.
Do I need a SART ?
If not covered by a regulatory body the decision as to whether or not to carry a SART as part of your emergency equipment is left to the individual.
Priority should be given to a 406 EPIRB as in most instances these are mandatory.
By including a SART you will have the additional capability of being readily located by a Radar equipped vessel.
A SART can be activated in a " situation of grave and immenent danger ". It would warrant additional consideration if you are constantly travelling in shipping Lanes or travel outside normal Rescue Helicopter range. In the case of shipping lanes if you were ever in a situation wherby you are in danger of being run down, activating your SART should quickly get the attention of the approaching vessel.
A SART is not an alternative to an EPIRB. It cannot raise and alert SAR agencies.
A SART is the ideal compliment to EPIRB's, INMARSAT and DSC radios. These devices allow you to tell SAR agencies that you are in distress and give your approxiamate position. However this is of no help to you if you are outside of dedicated SAR resources. In the middle of the ocean your best chance of rescue may well be from a Merchant ship or other commercial vessel. Nearby Vessels can be informed of your distress by SAR agencies but will not have the means to "home" in on your EPIRB. A SART gives any Radar equiped vessel the means to detect and locate survivors.
SART's , LIKE EPIRB's NEED TO BE REGULARY TESTED AND SERVICED IF REQUIRED. MAINSTAY OFFERS THE FISRT 12 MONTH SERVICE AS PART ANY SART PRODUCT PURCHASED FROM US. SEE V.A.C.