Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon- EPIRB


The primary function of the EPIRB is to indicate the location of survivors of a ship in a distress situation to the Ship or Aircrafts carrying out the search and rescue operation. It is an IMO requirement that all vessels that are to be GMDSS compliant will carry a float free EPIRB. It is usually mounted within a bracket and fitted with a hydrostatic release unit (HRU) to enable float free capability in the event that the vessel sinks. HRUs are activated at a depth of 1.5 to 4.0 metres depth. As soon as the EPIRB is activated it will start to transmit the MMSI- number (MMSI - Maritime Mobile Ship's Identification) of the ship to the satellite which in turn, will then warn a ground station. The Ground station will then want the nearest Coast Guard Station. On receipt of the information of the concerned ship in distress the Coast Guard will direct its ships and aircrafts as soon as the approximate position of the ship in distress is ascertained. The EPIRB transmitting the signal helps in getting the position of the ship in distress.  


The HRU of an EPIRB must be serviced or replaced periodically as per type/manufacturer's recommendations. Similarly the battery of the EPIRB although needs to be periodically checked and replaced as per the type/manufacturer's recommendations. The Battery should have capability to provide transmission power for a 48 hour continuous operating period. EPIRBs must also be tested on a monthly basis as per manufacturer's instructions.


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