Beacons made locally save lives around the world - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Beacons made locally save lives around the world

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The recently established AustinBlu Foundation , founded following the disappearance of Jupiter teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, focuses on boating safety. Specifically ensuring every boat is outfitted with a locator beacon.

Chips as small as a flake of pepper. Machines grinding away. Constant testing and retesting of plastics and final products. It's all just another day of work at ACR in Ft. Lauderdale, a company that makes locator beacons for boats, planes, the military and people. Beacons that have been credited with saving hundreds of lives.

“It makes me feel very good knowing that we're building product that actually saves human lives so that's really good,” said five year ACR employee Frank Garces. “That's really rewarding for me and my group of people."

If anyone with an ACR beacon ever has to use it, the company wants to hear about.

"'Survivor Club ' is unique to ACR," explained Nicole Kalil of ACR. "Ultimately it’s a beacon replacement program, but the neatest and most interesting part are the people who make the program come to life."

ACR keeps track of every location device that's been used in an emergency.

"We have a collection of boaters, hikers, trampers, pilots from all around the world who have used an ACR beacon in a situation of grave and eminent danger," says Kalil. "It's saved their life, they'll grateful to us, we're grateful to have them with us."

Including Olympic rower Adam Kreek. His boat captured leaving him stranded in the water, but he was saved by his ACR beacon.

"He came to Florida to do a couple of things," Says Kalil. "One of the visits on the top of his agenda was to come back to ACR and meet and thank the people who made his beacon."

Putting a face on the lives saved by everyone at ACR.

"It was actually a real good story," Garces recalled. "We didn't know who the guy was. All we saw was this tall skinny guy and he was actually saved by one of the EPIRB s."

And every day more people like Kreek share their story.

"I'm holding the beacon that somebody used," Kalil says with an ACR PLB in her hand. "Today we have a box from a fellow who was hang gliding . That was a first for us. I was just kind of picturing him in the sky through all he went through and everything and glad that I have his beacon and more excited to put in his order to send him his new beacon."

Right now the Survivor Club has over 400 members and through the work of the AustinBlu Foundation that number will hopefully grow.

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