what's an EPIRB?

This site is intended to be useful and informative, and has been created by Orolia Ltd, manufacturer of McMurdo EPIRB and PLB products and Kannad Marine EPIRB and PLB products.

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How does an EPIRB work?

406 MHz EPIRBs work with the Cospas-Sarsat polar orbiting satellite system, giving true global coverage. There is an alert delay of about 45 minutes dependant on when the satellites come into view on the horizon.

The satellite can determine the position of your EPIRB to within 5km (3 miles). The coded message identifies the exact vessel to which the EPIRB is registered. This information allows the rescue services to eliminate false alerts and launch an appropriate rescue.

GPS-enabled EPIRBs have a built-in transmitter which will typically alert the rescue services within 3 minutes and to a positional accuracy of +/- 50 metres (updated every 20 minutes) given a clear view skywards.

Some EPIRBs also have a secondary distress transmitter. This transmits on 121.5 MHz and is used for "homing" purposes. When the rescue services get close, this allows them to direction find on the signal. Some EPIRBs also have a high brightness LED flashing light that aids final visual location. EPIRB PLB