SART - Search And Rescue Transponder
ASearch And Rescue Transponder (SART) is a Radar based emergency transmitter that is designed to be stored in a liferaft or as a carry on device in the event that it is necessary to abandon ship. When it detects an incoming X-band radar pulse from another vessel or aircraft it automatically transmits a response signal, which appears on the vessel’s radar display as a series of 12 dots pointing to your location.
SARTs are supplied with a mounting bracket and must be manually activated once inside the liferaft. As a Radar SART is designed to only transmit when it detects an incoming radar pulse this dramatically increases the battery life, enabling them to operate continuously for typically over 96hrs.
Since 2010 the AIS-SART (Search and Rescue Transmitter) has been added to GMDSS regulations as an alternative to a Radar SART and has been wheel-marked since 2012. These units include an inbuilt GPS and transmit an alert message along with the vessel ID and GPS position via the AIS (Automatic Identification System) tracking system - this appears on an AIS-equipped vessel’s chartplotter or ECDIS display rather than on the Radar.
A SART forms part of the GMDSS mandated equipment package required by law for all commercial vessels over 300 tons, however many non-mandate vessels and leisure boats also choose to carry a SART to improve safety.