Saved by a signal

fishing for a livelihood in deep waters is replete with dangers. Every year, statistics of deaths at high seas only show an upward trend. With the development of a new communication device, however, by the rural electronics division of the Electronics Research and Development Centre (erdc), Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, fisherfolk in distress at sea can now be saved from being consigned to watery graves.

According to C Krishna Warrier, project manager, erdc, the newly-developed radio beacon is basically a radio transmitter which can be fitted to fishing vessels. When disaster strikes, all that a fisherperson is required to do is to break the seal of the equipment and pull up an antenna. The beacon would then start emitting signals every five minutes for the next 20 hours. A receiver installed on the shore intercepts these signals.

The number of accidents involving fisherfolk in deep waters has increased in recent times. "This is mainly because of the tendency of the fisherfolk to fish beyond 30 km and also indulge in adventure fishing. In addition, most fisherfolk refuse to take essential life-saving equipment like the