In an emergency situation, mariners have predominantly used radar SARTs as a means to alert ships they are in distress. However, AIS SARTs offer many benefits including the ability to see around headlands as well as transmitting the heading and speed of the life raft.
AIS SARTs offer enhanced location finding in an emergency, sending the life raft's positiong, heading and speed with the AIS data. This is the primary benefit over other technology as it allows rescue craft to plan an intersect course quickly and efficiently.
According to IMO standards, all AIS SARTs must give a minimum of five years battery life in standby mode, and 96 hours battery life when activated. As well as this, they must also include a test feature and user interface that identifies battery status, mode status and other technical details for example if there is a GPS fix.
AIS SARTs must also include a 1 metre pole that allows the SART to be fixed to the liferaft giving it greater range when activated, 10 metres of buoyant rope and a a mouting bracket.
SARTs use Pre Announced Time Division Multiple Access to send its AIS data. It transmits its position, speed and heading eight times a minute, so that at least one of the transmissions will be at the top of a wave; maximising range.