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In this study a multiplatform communication system based on cellular phone networks is introduced, and the viability of its radio segment is verified. The main purpose of this beacon system is to provide real-time positioning of the coastal fleet ships or boats that habitually move in the maritime zones named A1, and to automate the distress alert signal generation. The objective of the proposed system is not to substitute but to complement other safety systems operating within very high frequency (VHF) range to increase the security of navigation in coastal areas, which will facilitate the work of maritime search and rescue teams by improving accuracy in the position tracking of boats. A measurement campaign was conducted at sea and land level to determine the viability of this GSM/GPRS-based system in terms of cellular signal power strength, data rate and error probability. Measurement outcomes have been compared with those provided by the ITU-R Recommendation P. 1546-2. Results confirm its viability in terms of radio coverage and quality of service. The influence of evaporating ducts phenomena on the propagation model is discussed.