sunken pleasure boat

The 406 Mhz EPIRB is the most widely used rescue beacon in North America. The term “EPIRB” is an acronym which stands for Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon. EPIRB’s are self contained transmitters which emit distress and location information over the 406 MHz radio frequency. 406 EPIRBs have a unique code which identifies the sender.

According to sources, the orbiting SAR satellites are able to calculate the position of the EPIRB’s position to within 2 nautical miles. EPIRB’s may also be interfaced with the vessel’s on board GPS unit or be equipped with an integral GPS unit. Units with GPS can transmit position information that is accurate within a few feet.

406 MHz EPIRB Registration

EPIRB owners should register their unit to comply with regulations and to help rescue authorities in the event of an emergency. Registering helps identify and locate you should deployment ever be necessary.

NOAA states:

“Registration of 406 MHz emergency beacons is mandatory and only valid for two years. You are required to re-register your beacon with NOAA in two years. We will email or fax you a request for confirmation approximately two months prior to the expiration of your beacon registration.”

Visit this site to register:

EPIRB Glossary

Class A & B – These are obsolete EPIRB units that used 121.5 and 243.0 Mhz

Category I – These units have a bracket which automatically deploy when the device reaches a depth of 3-14′

Category II – These units are manually released and activated.

Related Information

NOAA EPIRB information

Marine Electronics