ISRO’s New Distress Alert Transmitter: A Boon for Fishermen

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an indigenous technological solution for the fishermen at sea to send and receive emergency messages from their fishing boats. The device, called Distress Alert Transmitter-Second Generation (DAT-SG), is a low-cost and effective satellite transmitter that integrates advanced satellite communication and navigation capabilities.

How does DAT-SG work?

The DAT-SG works by sending distress signals through a communication satellite to a central control station (INMCC: Indian Mission Control Centre) where the alert signals are decoded for the identity and location of the fishing boat. The extracted information is forwarded to Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) under the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). Using this information, the MRCC co-ordinates to undertake Search and Rescue operations to save the fishermen in distress .

The DAT-SG also has the facility to send back acknowledgement to the fishermen who activate the distress alert from the sea. This gives them an assurance that rescue is coming to them. Apart from transmitting distress signals from the sea, DAT-SG has the capability to receive messages from the control centre. Using this, advance alert messages can be sent to the fishermen at sea whenever there are events of bad weather, cyclone, tsunami or any other emergencies. Thus, the fishermen will be able to sail back home or go to safe places .

What are the benefits of DAT-SG?

The DAT-SG has several benefits for the fishermen and the authorities. Some of them are:

  • It enhances the safety and security of the fishermen at sea by providing them a reliable and timely communication channel with the rescue authorities.
  • It helps in reducing the response time and improving the efficiency of Search and Rescue operations by providing accurate location and identity of the fishing boat in distress.
  • It helps in disseminating information about Potential Fishing Zones (PFZs) to the fishermen on regular intervals. This helps fishermen to get good yield in the catch and savings in terms of time and fuel.
  • It helps in creating a database of registered DAT-SGs and maintaining a record of fishing activities in the Indian waters.
  • It helps in promoting sustainable fishing practices and preventing illegal fishing activities by monitoring the movement and behaviour of fishing boats.

How can DAT-SG be used?

The DAT-SG can be connected to mobile phones using Bluetooth interface and the messages can be read in native language using an app on the mobile. The device is easy to operate and has a long battery life. The device is also water-resistant and shock-proof .

The DAT-SG was inaugurated by Shri S. Somanath, Secretary, DOS/ Chairman, ISRO on 15th January 2024 at INMCC, ISTRAC, Bangalore. The services of DAT-SG are declared operational on 24 x 7 basis. The device is expected to benefit more than 20 lakh fishermen across India who venture into the sea for fishing.

The DAT-SG is a boon for fishermen as it provides them a lifeline at sea. It is also a testament to ISRO’s commitment to use space technology for societal benefit.

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