EPIRB - Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon



What is an EPIRB? Do you need one? An EPIRB is a device that alerts search and rescue services in case of an emergency. It allows rescue teams to track the EPIRB signal which is transmitted on a specific bandwidth.


Commercial fishing industry vessels operating on the high seas (beyond the three mile territorial sea line) or beyond three miles from the coastline of the Great Lakes (unless exempted) must carry a 406 MHz EPIRB. A Category 1 EPIRB that will float-free and automatically activate. This is required on vessels 36 feet or more in length. A Category 2 EPIRB that must be manually activated is allowed on vessels less than 36 feet in length and on vessels which have a builder’s certification that it is constructed with sufficient inherently buoyant material to keep the flooded vessel afloat.


However, if you are a Florida boater Safety gear does not begin and end with what you are required to have on board. EPIRB's currently are not required equipment for recreational boating offshore, but they become vital gear in emergencies.


If you get an EPIRB, all 406 MHz EPIRBs must be registered with NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). There is no cost for registering your EPIRB. Registration can be completed by calling NOAA’s toll free number at (888) 212-7283, or on-line at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov. Be sure to update information on your registration when it changes, such as your phone number, address, or if you have a new vessel. If you sell your EPIRB, make sure that the purchaser re-registers it with his name and information, otherwise you may be contacted if it is activated.


Other additional emergency gear includes first-aid supplies, man-overboard equipment, anchors and tools, plotters and VHF radios.


If you are going off shore, you should think about what equipment you might need in case of emergency. Having simply what is required may save you from a citation, but will it save your life?


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