Safety First: SART (Search And Rescue Transponder)

Life Ring

When abandoning ship, there is no time to gather up electronics, jewelry, souvenirs, or other personal belongings.  However, there is something that should be grabbed before abandoning the ship – the Search And Rescue Transponder, known as SART.  A SART is a bright orange, waterproof, self-contained transponder used during an emergency at sea.

The TS Kennedy has two carry-off SARTs.  They are mounted on the port and starboard bulkheads inside the Bridge.  If it was necessary to abandon ship the SARTs would be grabbed by two designated crew members and carried to the survival crafts. A SART is designed so that it can easily fit in one hand.  The SART would be mounted and activated in the lifeboat. 

SART close up
sart by door

Once activated, the SART would enable the lifeboat to show up on a search vessel’s RADAR display, represented as a series of dots that can be easily recognized.  Radio Detection And Ranging, better known as RADAR, is a device carried by most ships.  RADAR is used to determine the location of objects by identifying the time it takes for the echo of a radio wave to return from it and determining the direction from which the radio wave travels.

dots on radar screen
dots on radar screen
SART chart showing how radar images change as vessel gets closer

The TS Kennedy’s SART would receive a pulse from the search RADAR.  It would then respond by sending back a series of pulses.  The RADAR would display the pulses as a series of dots. 

The rescue vessel would be able to easily locate the lifeboat and bring its passengers to safety.

It is the hope of every crew member that they will never have to use the SART, but it is comforting to know that they are there if needed.

Would you like to learn more about SART?  Check out this video!