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Overview

GME is the leading Australian manufacturer of EPIRBs and PLBs, with more rescues starting with GME than any other brand.

As the market leader in EPIRBs, GME’s beacons are subject to rigorous testing and sampling to ensure all our beacons are built to last, offering an impressive 6 year warranty.

Featuring both GPS and Non-GPS, manual-release and float-free beacons, GME has an emergency beacon suited to every application.

Australian Manufacturing

For over 50 years Australians have trusted GME, as one of only two approved Australian manufacturers of Emergency Beacons.

With a purpose-built facility based in Sydney, Australia, GME continues our ongoing commitment and dedication to local Australian manufacturing. Local manufacturing ensures GME is able to produce the highest quality communications equipment tailored to the harsh Marine environment.

The manufacturing and quality operations within GME stand as an ongoing testament to our total commitment to manufacturing excellence, through the use of state-of-the-art technology and an ongoing focus on operational efficiency.

As GME’s range of Emergency beacons are designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia, we can also provide extensive technical support and sales assistance, locally from our Australian facility.

Why do you need an EPIRB?

An EPIRB could save your life and the lives of others on board your vessel by providing rescue authorities your precise location in the event of an emergency.

GME EPIRBs are self-contained 406 MHz radio transmitters that emit an internationally recognised distress signal on the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system.

GME’s range of EPIRBs contain a unique identification number which can be cross referenced to a database of registered 406 MHz beacons, allowing the beacon’s owner and vessel to be immediately identified in the event of an emergency.

Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System

The international Cospas-Sarsat system allows for a registered and approved beacon to be activated in a life-threatening emergency, and connected directly to the vast global satellite system to summon assistance from various government authorities.

Check out the interactive graphic below for an overview of how the Cospas-Sarsat system works once an emergency beacon is activated.

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1. Activation

A distress beacon is activated.

2. Transmission

Its signal, with its unique identification number or HEX ID, is transmitted and detected by the nearest satellite.

3. Alert

An alert is sent to the nearest local user terminal (LUT).

4. Transfer

The alert is processed by the nearest mission control centre (MCC) and forwarded to the rescue coordination centre (RCC).

5. Co-ordinate

The RCC is notified and begins to arrange search and rescue operation. Registration details are provided to the RCC in the country in which the beacon is both activated and registered.

6. Search & Rescue

Search and rescue authorities commence search operations as soon as they can. If your beacon is registered with the local maritime authority, Search and Rescue will ring your emergency contacts immediately for information regarding your whereabouts. It is important to keep your contact details updated in order for search operations to commence as soon as possible.

Note: Do not turn off your distress beacon until advised by rescue services.

EPIRB vs PLB

The most common types of Emergency beacons can be divided into two broad categories, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB).

EPIRBs are designed specifically for maritime applications, and have contributed to the rescue of thousands of survivors since the creation of the Cospas-Sarsat system in 1982.

Generally speaking, EPIRBs alert authorities as to the whereabouts of distressed vessels and their crews, while PLBs alert authorities as to the whereabouts of individuals.

PLBs are suitable for use in a wide range of applications, including bush walking, 4WDing and remote workers.

PLBs are designed for use both on land and at sea, however they do not satisfy mandatory carriage requirements for vessels travelling further than 2NM off-shore in Australia.

GME Rescue Map

More rescues start with GME than any other brand, check out the map below to see where GME beacons have been used to save lives.

Adelaide River

MT403G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel suffered engine trouble.

Darwin Harbour

MT600 used in the rescue of 7 people after their catamaran capsized.

Endeavour Strait

MT600G used in the rescue of 5 people after they had broken down in rough seas. A nearby vessel with 3 people on board attempted to assist and also required assistance.

Long Reef

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel had broke down off Badu Island.

Hastings Reef

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel had broken down.

Gladstone

MT600G used in the rescue of 8 people after their catamaran sank and they had abandoned into a dinghy.

Port Botany

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after the vessel they were aboard sank.

Dawesville Cut

MT600G used in the rescue of a vessel suffering from a steering failure.

Point Blaze

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel sank at anchor.

Mandurah

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel began taking on water due to a cracked hull.

Mundaring State Forest

MT410G used in the rescue of a mountain biker after they were injured following a crash.

Geraldton

MT410G used in the rescue of a motorcyclist after they impacted a kangaroo at high speed.

Wang Wauk

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo motorcyclist after an accident.

Mallacoota

MT403G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel began taking on water.

Kalbarri

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their dive cat overturned.

Point Whidbey

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their Abolone vessel upturned in rough seas.

Mackay

MT410G used in the rescue of a catamaran that began taking on water.

Victoria River Roadhouse

MT410G used in the rescue of a vehicle after they had a flat tyre and stuck nuts.

South Coast Track

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiker after they injured their ankle and couldn't complete the hike back.

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo motorcyclist who suffered a mechanical failure.

Mount Cockburn

MT410 used in the rescue of 2 people after their 4WD became bogged and they were unable to recover.

Lady Musgrave Island

MT406G used in the rescue of 46 people after their tourist catamaran caught fire and all onboard abandoned to life rafts.

Hillarys Boat Harbour

MT403G used in the rescue of a crew after their vessel hit a reef and began taking on water.

Charles Point

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel broke down.

Wilsons Promontory

MT400 used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel became beached at night and could not navigate.

Juggler Canyon

MT400 used in the rescue of a member of a 12 person bush walking group after they sustained a broken leg.

Yeppoon

MT400 used in the rescue of a crew after their vessel broke down and was left drifting.

Moreton Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel began taking on water.

Holloways Beach

MT600 used in the rescue of a vessel after it ran out of fuel and required assistance getting back to land.

Smithburne River

MT403G used in the rescue of 2 people after their dinghy capsized.

Mourilyan Harbour

MT600G used in the rescue of 1 person after their fishing canoe sank.

Simms Rock

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their commercial fishing vessel began sinking and they abandoned into a liferaft.

Kalbarri

MT410G used in the rescue of a 4WD after it became bogged in a sand drift outside of Kalbarri.

Mount Koscuiszko

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiker after they sustained an injury near the peak of the mountain.

Wreck Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their wooden fishing vessel began taking on water and lost steering.

Turnagain Island

MT400 used in the rescue of 7 people across 2 vessels after they both ran out of fuel.

Keeper Reef

MT400 used in the rescue of 1 person after the dory they were operating overturned.

Shark Bay

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel ran aground after experiencing an engine and electrical breakdown.

Russell Island

MT600 used in the rescue of a vessel after it got caught on a reef and compromised the vessels integrity.

Coober Pedy

MT410G used in the rescue of 1 person after they sustained injuries in a car accident.

Windermere Hut

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo bush walker after they became injured and couldn't continue.

Warrumbungles

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 hikers after they sustained major injuries after a fall.

Mackay

MT410G used in the rescue of a man after he was attacked by a bull.

Daly River

MT410 used in the rescue of 2 people after their 4WD became bogged and was unable to be recovered.

Whitsundays

MT406G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel sank.

Weipa

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their catamaran lost power and sustained damage to the rigging.

Port Keats

MT400 used in the assistance of a crew member aboard a commercial vessel after they became extremely unwell and required medical assistance.

Prudhoe Island

MT400 used in the rescue of a vessel after it broke down and was left drifting offshore.

Groote Eylandt

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel broke down.

Dunk Island

MT600G used in the rescue of a vessel after it broke down 12NM off Dunk Island

Moreton Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their dinghy broke down, leaving them stranded.

Blue Mountains

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiking party of 5 after they became disoriented whilst navigating Tiger Snake Canyon

Darkin River Crossing

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo traveller after their 4WD became bogged and had no other form of communication.

Cradle Mountain National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiker after they suffered a leg injury and was unable to continue.

Boulia

MT410G used in the rescue of a motorcyclist after they were involved in an accident.

Singleton

MT410G used in the rescue of 3 people after their light aircraft made an emergency landing at a nearby minesite, suffering considerable damage.

Finke

MT410 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vehicle was involved in an accident and left them trapped.

Lamont Reef

MT406G used in the rescue of a solo sailor after they began suffering from severe sea sickness in challenging conditions.

Queensland Coast

MT400 used in the rescue of a dory after their propeller detached from the outboard.

Cape Moreton

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel broke down 4NM offshore.

Port Hedland

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their small vessel broke down.

Cape Ferguson

MT600G used in the rescue of 1 person after their dory lost power and was floating adrift.

Coconut Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel broke down.

Yamdena

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their yacht demasted off Indonesia.

Beagle Gulf

MT600G used in the rescue of a small craft after it had broken down.

Plenty Highway

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people involved in a vehicle roll over.

John Brewer Reef

MT600 used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel began sinking.

Tiger Snake Canyon

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after they became lost on a canyoning trip.

Spencer Gulf

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their yacht was unable to reduce sail during high winds and one crew member was reported to be hypothermic.

Fraser Island

MT600 used in the rescue of a yacht and their crew after they became lost during a storm.

Vernon Islands

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel sank off the island group.

Cradle Mountain

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 hikers after one suffered an ankle injury and was unable to walk.

Lake Oberon

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo walker after they lost their shelter in waist deep snow.

Norseman

MT410G used in the rescue of a driver after their freight hauler became bogged.

Hinchinbrook Island

MT410 used in the rescue of a hiker after they suffered an ankle injury and was unable to proceed.

Van Spoult Head

MT406G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel broke down.

Idalia National Park

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people in a 4WD after it became disabled due to wire wrapping around the tail shaft.

French Reef

MT600G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel sank of the reef.

Bramble Reef

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel had a generator fire causing them to evacuate to the tender.

Fog Bay

MT600G used in the rescue of 1 person after they tried to recover their dinghy which sank earlier that day.

Mermaid Strait

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel sank 5NM offshore.

Home Valley Station

MT410G used in the rescue of 1 person in a 4WD after they had become lost.

Mundaring State Forest

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiker after they injured their ankle and could not get back to their vehicle.

Tuan

MT410G used in the rescue of 1 person after they stood on a stone fish. 000 was called but as the phone was dropped in water the PLB was activated to ensure rescue.

Long Plain

MT410 used in the rescue of 2 hikers suffering from fatigue.

Pascoe River

MT400 used in the rescue of 1 person after their dinghy suffered an engine failure.

Mandurah

MT600G used in the rescue of a small vessel after it ran out of fuel and required assistance to get back to shore.

Nhulunbuy

MT600 used in the rescue of a shark attack victim.

Moa Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 5 people after their vessel suffered mechanical issues.

Daly River

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their dinghy had mechanical issues and there was incoming bad weather.

Lake Julius

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after a vessel struck a log on the lake, critically injuring all 3 on board.

Alligator River

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their fishing vessel ran out of fuel and supplies.

Garden Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after flares were seen in the distance of a vessel that had began sinking.

Goobarragandra

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 people after they suffered an accident whilst mountain biking and required assistance.

Jilbadji National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a group of tourists in a hire car after it suffered mechanical issues.

Gulf of Carpentaria

MT410G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel broke down.

Broome

MT410 used in the rescue of a tourist group after their 4WD became bogged on the coast.

Mackay

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel broke down and took on water.

Port Hedland

MT400 used in the rescue of 5 people after their fishing trawler broke down 130NM offshore.

Winton

MT410G used in the rescue of 4 people after their campsite was surrounded by flood waters leaving them stranded.

Roper River

MT400 used in the rescue of a vessel that had ran out of fuel and required assistance.

Massig Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their dinghy broke down.

Darwin

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their dinghy overturned during a storm.

Coffin Bay

MT600 used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel hit rocks and sunk.

Colo River

MT410G used in the rescue of a bush walker after they suffered a broken ankle and were unable to get back to their vehicle.

Alpine National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a horse rider after they fell from their horse and required assistance.

Waterloo Station

MT410 used in the rescue of 1 person after their small helicopter crashed.

Forster

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel sank after taking waves over the stern.

Armit Island

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel had broke down and left them at anchor.

Hall Thompson Reef

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel broke down, leaving them stranded.

Blue Mountains

MT410G used in the rescue of bushwalking group who had a member that fell and injured themselves.

Tasman Peninsular

MT410G used in the rescue of a rock climber after they injured themselves and needed assistance.

Buckwong Track

MT406G used in the rescue of a motorcyclist after they crashed and needed urgent medical assistance.

Digby Island

MT400 used in the rescue of the crew of a vessel that broke down.

King Sound

MT400 used in the rescue of 5 people after their vessel broke down.

Hay Island

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel lost its propeller and was stuck at anchor.

Tarawa

MT600 used in the rescue of 18 people after their vessel sank 45NM offshore.

Mount Ernest Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their dinghy broke down.

Sugarloaf Point

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel capsized 4NM offshore.

North Stradbroke Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel capsized offshore.

Sykes Reef

MT400 used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel ran aground on the reef, leaving it stranded.

Cooks Strait

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their fishing vessel broke down and sank rapidly.

Horrocks Beach

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel overturned.

Double Heads

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people and a dog after their vessel sank.

Fraser Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel was swamped offshore.

Wild Duck Island

MT406G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel had run aground and they had run low on supplies.

Stradbroke Island

MT400 used in the rescue of a vessel that had broken down.

Great Victoria Desert

MT403G used in the rescue of 2 people after their 4WD broke down.

King Sound

MT600G used int he rescue of 2 people after their vessel suffered a blown motor.

Cape Fourcroy

MT600 used in the rescue of 7 people after their vessel was left drifting after having engine troubles.

Hesket Rock

MT600 used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel suffered a cracked hull and began taking on water.

Nattai National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo walker after they became fatigued and required assistance.

Moorriyna National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a carload of people after their vehicle broke down.

Paluma Range National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a walker from a hiking party after they fell from a 2m rock face, sustaining head injuries.

Buckets Range

MT406G used in the rescue of 2 hikers after they became lost after dark.

Moreton Bay

MT400 used in the assistance of locating 2 children following a 000 call after their guardian had entered the water to retrieve their tender and didn't return.

Jervis Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of the crew of a small vessel after it suffered an engine fire which left it disabled and drifting.

Ocean Reef Boat Harbour

MT600G used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel took on water leaving it semi-submerged.

Roche Reef

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel ran aground and began taking on water.

Melville Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel was swamped by waves close to shore.

Serrurier Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel broke down.

Caloundra

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their prawn trawler began taking on water.

Bungonia

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 teachers and 20 students after they stayed overnight due to exhaustion and were unable to get back to the supplies in the bus.

Bibbulmun Track

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiking party after they became disorientated whilst walking along the track.

Yalwal

MT410G used in the rescue of a snake surveyor after they fell from a cliff.

Point Quobba

MT600G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel overturned.

Botany Bay

MT600G used to rescue a vessel that had broken down.

Hope Islands

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their fishing trawler had holed and began sinking.

Green Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel experienced mechanical trouble, leaving them drifting offshore.

Kakadu National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of 1 person after they suffered burns to both hands.

Moa Island

MT410G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel broke down.

Cradle Mountain

MT406G used in the rescue of a solo hiker after they were overcame by inclement weather.

Southport

MT400 used in the rescue of 1 person after their jet ski suffered mechanical issues.

Port Hedland

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel submerged just outside the main shipping channel.

Melville Island

MT403G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel suffered a cracked hull and had been beached.

Coconut Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 4 people after their dinghy ran out of fuel.

Perry Creek

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after they became lost in the many arms of Perry Creek.

Muirhead Reef

MT600 used in the rescue of small vessel after the crew became disoriented trying to find its mothership.

Burnett Heads

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel lost all power.

Jurien Bay

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 people after their fishing boat overturned.

Boggy Hole

MT410G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vehicle became bogged.

Kosciuszko National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of a motorcyclist who had been involved in an accident.

King Leopold Ranges

MT410G used in the rescue of a carload of people after they suffered multiple flat tyres.

Mackay

MT400 used in the rescue of a small vessel after it broke down anchor.

Bangadilly National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 people after being involved in a car crash.

Fremantle

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel broke down.

Miland

MT410G used in rescue of solo traveler experiencing vehicle trouble and mild heat stroke.

Bellanger Beach

MT410G used in the rescue of a vehicle of international tourists who had become bogged.

North Rockhampton

MT410G used in the rescue of a hiker who suffered a dislocated shoulder.

Coffin Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their abalone vessel sunk.

Moreton Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel ran out of fuel in rough seas.

Moreton Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of a solo sailor suffering from dementia that became disorientated.

Anson Bay

MT600 used in the rescue of 4 people after their dinghy broke down.

Nares Rock

MT600 used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel capsized.

Mt Adolphus Island

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their dinghy broke down.

Cambridge Gulf

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel brokedown.

Normanby Sound

MT600G used in the rescue of a vessel after it broke down.

Aritunga

MT410G used in the assistance of a vehicle after it suffered a flat battery.

Garden Island

MT406G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel has split in two and sunk.

Port Denison

MT406G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel overturned in rough seas.

Bougainville Reef

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their catamaran ran aground on the reef and began sinking.

Shoalwater Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel sank offshore.

Bedout Islet

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel suffered mechanical issues.

Bremer Bay

MT600 used in the rescue of 8 people after their vessel lost power and was drifting towards rocks.

Point D’Entrecasteux

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their rhib broke down.

Point Lookout

MT600G was used in the rescue of 1 person after they had cut them self and required urgent medical treatment.

Mindarie

MT600G was used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel began taking on water.

Dundee Beach

MT600 used in the rescue of a vessel after it encountered a rogue wave and left it disabled.

Dee Why

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel sank offshore in rough conditions.

North Stradbroke Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel experienced mechanical difficulties.

Kosciuszko National Park

MT410G was used in the rescue of a person after a tree felling incident.

Darwin

MT406G was used in the rescue of 5 people after their vessel broke down.

South Sumatra

MT403G used in the rescue of a catamaran that suffered engine trouble and was having issues gaining port entry due to COVID-19.

Shaw Island

MT406G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel began listing badly and took on water.

Mason Reef

MT406G used in the rescue of a fishing crew on a dory after they suffered mechanical issues.

Lakes Entrance

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their yacht suffered major damage in extreme weather.

Mundurrul Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of crew after their vessel suffered propeller damage and was unable to self recover.

Euston Reef

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel sank off the reef.

Darwin

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel broke down.

Gulf of Carpenteria

MT600G used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessels hull cracked and began taking on water.

Bass Strait

MT600 used in the rescue of a yachting crew after their vessel caught fire.

Davies Reef

MT600 used in rescue of 2 people after their vessel suffered mechanical issues.

South Coast Track

MT410G used in the rescue of a solo hiker after they suffered an ankle injury and were unable to continue.

Paraburdoo

MT410G used in rescue of 2 people after they were involved in a vehicle rollover.

Leader Creek

MT406G used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel had run aground on the rocks.

Evans Head

MT400 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel sank offshore.

Jurien Bay

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel broke apart in rough seas.

Karumba

MT400 used in rescue of 1 crabber after their vessel suffered mechanical issues.

Dolphin Island

MT400 used in the rescue of 1 person after they suffered a serious injury and required medical assistance.

Dirk Hartog Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel overturned in poor conditions.

Mount Roland Track

MT410G used in the rescue of 2 people after one suffered a heart attack whilst bush walking.

Karijini National Park

MT410G used in the rescue of 1 person who became disoriented after their vehicle hit a rock and became disabled.

Tasmania

MT410G used to assist in providing mediacl assistance to elderly man who sustained a fall whilst living alone in remote Tasmania.

Pilliga West State Forrest

MT410G used in the rescue of 1 person after their vehicle became bogged.

Tweed Heads

MT406G used in the rescue of a fatigued solo yachtsman after they began suffering from disorientation.

West Australian Coast

MT403G used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel overturned in rough seas.

Port Denison

MT400 used in the rescue of 1 person after their vessel suffered mechanical issues.

Mitchell Plateau

MT410 used in the rescue of 1 person after their quad bike suffered mechanical issues.

Nambucca Heads

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel began taking on water.

Keppel Isles

MT600G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel began taking on water.

Bass Point

MT600G used in the rescue of 3 people after their fishing trawler began sinking.

Mooloolaba

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel sank.

Groote Eylandt

MT600 used in the rescue of 3 people after their vessel experienced mechanical trouble.

Cobrunga

MT410G used in the rescue of a walker who became stuck on a steep surface.

Mount Anne Track

MT410 used in the rescue of 2 hikers after they became lost.

Great Palm Island

MT406G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel struck a whale.

Rangaunu Bay

MT403G used in the rescue of 4 people after their vessel caught fire.

Port Stewart

MT400 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel was overcome by poor weather.

Garden Island

MT600 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel began sinking.

Ningaloo Reef

MT406G used in the rescue of 2 people after suffering mechanical issues.

Ballina

MT401 used in the rescue of 2 people after their vessel sank.

Different Types of EPIRB

There is often confusion around some of the terms used to describe EPIRBs, specifically in regard to the different ‘Class’ and ‘Category’ terminology used.

‘Class’ refers to the storage and operating temperature range the beacon has been approved to.

There are 3 classes of EPIRBs, outlined below:

Class 1: Water activated, float-free or manual release (–40°C to +55°C). The float-free release mechanism should be capable of operating throughout the temperature range of –30°C to +65°C.

This class is not required by IMO Resolutions but may be applied at the discretion of each Administration.

Class 2: Water activated, float-free or manual release (–20°C to +55°C). The float-free release mechanism should be capable of operating throughout the temperature range of –30°C to +65°C.

Class 3: Manually activated, non-float-free (–20°C to +55°C). Primarily intended for use by Non-SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) vessels.

 

‘Category’ refers to the method of deployment of the EPIRB, based on the type of mounting bracket used.

There are 2 categories of EPIRBs, outlined below:

Category 1: Automatic deployment, designed to release the EPIRB automatically when the Hydrostatic Release Unit (HRU) in the bracket is submerged in water to a depth of 1-5 metres. In order for the beacon to operate as designed, it is important to ensure that only water-activated EPIRBs are installed in Category 1 mounting brackets.

Category 2: Manual deployment and activation. This type of mounting bracket requires the user to manually remove the EPIRB from the bracket and manually activate the switch.

 

GPS vs Non GPS

Not all EPIRBs are the same.

There are a variety of different types and models available including, for example, GPS-enabled EPIRBs that are able to pinpoint the location of a distressed vessel significantly faster and more accurately than traditional non-GPS-enabled EPIRBs.

GPS EPIRBs can provide authorities with a location in under 20 minutes within a 150m search radius, whilst a Non-GPS EPIRB can take up to 5 hours to provide a location with a search radius of 5kms.

Manual-Release EPIRBs

Stored in secure mounting brackets, manual-release EPIRBs need to be manually activated by those on board the vessel.

When an emergency situation arises, the user simply removes the device from its bracket and activates the beacon via the switch.

Water-Activated EPIRBs

Also stored securely in mounting brackets, water-activated EPIRBs can either be activated manually or automatically when they are submerged in water.

When the beacon is removed from its bracket and makes contact with water, it will automatically activate and begin sending a distress signal.

Float-Free EPIRBs

The most sophisticated of the three varieties (in terms of activation), these EPIRBs feature both manual and automatic activation.

The main difference between a Float-Free EPIRB and the other types of EPIRBs, however, is that these beacons are stored in a ‘float-free’ housing which releases the beacon automatically, allowing it to float to the water’s surface when submerged to a depth of 1 to 4 metres.

Where sea conditions permit, the deployment of an EPIRB in the water, away from the vessel, allows for the strongest transmission and fastest detection of the signal.

Therefore, devices that activate automatically can be considered the optimal solution, particularly on larger vessels where the beacon may not always be easily accessed in the event of an emergency.

Mandatory Carriage Requirements

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced changes to the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) effective 1 January 2019.

From this date, a two-year transition period commenced.

From 1 January 2021, the new requirements for float -free EPIRBs will become mandatory.

All domestic commercial vessels are required to carry float-free EPIRBs, apart from those listed below which can continue to carry their current EPIRB.

  • Vessels that are less than 12 metres with level flotation and are operating between 2 nautical miles out to C waters (restricted offshore operations within 30 nautical miles from the baseline of the Australian mainland, or similar distances to other islands, etc.)
  • Vessels that are less than 12 metres in length with level flotation; and are operating in smooth and partially smooth waters (D and E waters)
  • Coastal life rafts

Float-Free Beacon Mounting

Beacon Storage

Like your mobile phone, keep your beacon dry and store it appropriately. Whilst it is important to refer to the instruction manual for specific instructions for your model, there are some good general guidelines for all beacons.

It is important to keep distress beacons away from:

  • Items that may accidentally knock the activation switch
  • Magnetic sources, such as microphones and radio speakers
  • High pressure water sprays; as long-term exposure to water may cause corrosion
  • Children who may play with the beacon
  • High temperatures

To prevent your beacon being stolen, keep it locked away or out of sight when not in use.

It is also recommended to have an additional manually-activated beacon stored in the vessel’s life-raft, where applicable.

Beacon Disposal

Some beacon owners will choose to replace or upgrade their beacon rather than just replacing the battery, if this is the case then special precautions must be taken when finally disposing of your beacon.

Every year, thousands of dollars are spent in Australia searching for beacons in rubbish dumps. Search personnel and assets are then unavailable for a real emergency.

Beacon batteries are hazardous items which should be disposed of in a proper and environmentally friendly way:

  1. Contact your local battery store to check whether they disconnect and dispose of beacons
  2. Contact your local maritime safety agency. They may be able to provide disposal advice
  3. Check the instruction manual as there may be instructions on how to disconnect the beacon battery

It is important to remember to de-register your beacon with AMSA after you dispose of it.

The same applies if you’ve recently sold your beacon. You can do this by contacting AMSA on 1800 406 406 or at www.amsa.gov.au/beacons

EPIRB Tutorials

Other Resources