Why is there an expiry date on my primary battery?

The lithium battery is designed to be use in an emergency. Unlike a rechargeable battery the amount of capacity and hence the operational life is known. The expiry date is based on the self discharge figures for the battery, taking worst case scenarios, thus ensuring the rated operational life is always achieved.

What is an EPIRB?

EPIRB stands for ‘Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon’. EPIRB transmissions are monitored by the international organisation COSPAS-SARSAT using a constellation of satellites. On receipt of an alert from an EPIRB, the identity of the beacon is passed to the relevant national rescue coordination centre.

For more information on the system please go to Cospas Sarsat webpage.

Why must I register my beacon?

Registering you beacon will speed up the rescue authorities attempt to rescue you, providing valuable information to help identify you and contact people who might aid in identification. It is very important to ensure your registration details are accurate.

This US produced brochure describes the reasons for registration in more detail.

Please note that normally the registration should be in the country of residence, or of the vessel’s registration.  When you purchase an EPIRB or PLB from a supplier in another country, make sure they configure it for your intended country of registration, otherwise it is unlikely that the registration will be accepted.

What is the advantage of a GPS fitted EPIRB?

The GPS EPIRB not only provides the safety authorities with a more accurate position, but is also much quicker to pass the position through. Conventional EPIRBs rely on the passing overhead of one or more COSPAS-SARSAT satellites to determine the EPIRBs position. The delay in a suitable satellite passes may be the difference of life or death, especially in colder waters. With a GPS fitted EPIRP, the position is immediately relayed via geostationary satellites to the rescue authorities, saving valuable time in your rescue.

Where do I register my EPIRB or PLB?

Your EPIRBs or PLBs should be registered in the country where you live, or where your vessel is registered. The links below are intended to help you find where to register your devices.

For the UK: UK Beacon registry

For the USA: NOAA Sarsat

For Australia: AMSA

For New Zealand: NZ Beacon registry

For Canada: Canadian Beacon Registry

For other countries, please use the country list provided by Cospas Sarsat here.