Disposal of beacons

Care should be taken when disposing of your PLB or EPIRB when it is no longer required.  False alerts from discarded beacons can cause rescue authorities to expend much time and effort in locating discarded EPIRBs or PLBs that have accidentally activated.  Please ensure that care is taken to completely deactivate the beacon and advise the registration authority that the beacon is no longer in service.

It is recommended to remove the battery from the beacon by removing the case lid.  Dispose of the battery in accordance with local waste regulations.  Please note that Ocean Signal beacons are not user serviceable and removing the lid will invalidate the warranty.

Following the 2019 GPS Week Rollover event on April 6, 2019 will my Ocean Signal product still work ?

Ocean Signal can confirm that the GPS receivers fitted to our products will NOT be affected by the 2019 GPS Week Rollover event on April 6, 2019.
ALL Ocean Signal products will continue to operate correctly following this date.

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.

Transporting Ocean Signal Products as a Passenger onboard an Aircraft

Most Ocean Signal products contain Lithium batteries for which there are regulations on carrying them on airplanes as a passenger.  The following rules and guidance will help you with carrying our products with you for personal use as hand luggage.

(For shipping by air as cargo, the relevant IATA regulations must be followed.)

Products containing Lithium batteries may be carried on board aircraft as carry on luggage under IATA regulation  (currently 58th Edition 2017).

All the products listed below contain one or more batteries containing less the 2 grams of lithium metal and have all been tested to the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Patt III, Sunsection 38.3.

When carrying your products or spare batteries please observe the following requirements:

  • Make sure the device is protected from accidental activation.  The normal protection on these devices can be added to by using the retail packaging or covering the unit in a protective cover such as bubble wrap.
  • If carrying spare batteries ensure they are individually wrapped in strong plastic bags covering the terminals to avoid short circuits.
  • Please check online with your airline for any further restrictions that the airline may impose before you travel.

The safety data sheets for the battery or batteries in each product are listed below.  You are recommended to take these with you so that if you are questioned as to the product you have the required evidence.

SafeSea E100 or E100G

SafeSea S100

SafeSea V100 (LB4V) and/or (RB5V)

rescueME PLB1

rescueME MOB1

rescueME EPIRB1

rescueME EDF1



How do Cospas Sarsat beacons work?

The COSPAS/SARSAT system utilises two satellite arrays to provide distress alert and location data to search and rescue authorities.  The GEOSAR system can provide near immediate alerting within the coverage of the receiving satellite.  The LEOSAR system provides coverage of the polar region beyond the range of the GEOSAR system. LEOSAR satellites can calculate the location of distress events using Doppler processing techniques and are less susceptible to obstructions which could block a signal in a given direction.  The system is comprised of instruments on board the satellites which detect the signals from the distress beacons.

Ground receiving stations, referred to as Local Users Terminals (LUTs) receive and process the satellite downlink signal to generate the distress alerts. The distress alerts, generated by the LUTs, are then received by Mission Control Centres (MCCs) which then forward the alert to Rescue Co-ordination Centres (RCCs), Search and Rescue Points of Contacts (SPOCs) and other MCCs.

A new generation os SAR transponders are being carried on newly launched global navigation satellites (GNSS).  Currently these are being launched on the European Galileo satellites, but they will also be carreid on GPS and GLONASS satellites.  These satellites all operate in a higher orbit than the LEOSAR satellites and will be known as MEOSAR.  The increased number of satellites will dramatically improve the detection times of distress alerts.  The MEOSAR transponders are fully compatibly with current generation EPIRBs and PLBs, but future beacons will use “2nd generation” technology improving location accuracy over the existing system.

This Cospas Sarsat Video explains the advantages of having an EPIRB or PLB for use in emergency and what happens when the beacon is activated.