1 November 2011
The uptake of distress beacons remains strong across the country with boaties and mariners registering more than 3000 per month.
In October the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) 406 MHz distress beacon register contained more than 212,650 units.
The most popular type is the emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), which, when activated, emits a continuous distinctive radio distress signal for a minimum of 48 hours.
The signal can be detected by satellite and relayed to a rescue coordination centre, which will start a search and rescue operation by local authorities.
Recreational vessels are required to carry an emergency beacon if they are more than five nautical miles from shore in the Gulf of St Vincent or Spencer Gulf, or three nautical miles from shore in other State waters, except Lakes Alexandrina or Albert.
Commercial vessels are required to carry an emergency beacon if they are operating more than three nautical miles from a coast.
AMSA’s 406 team averages approximately 150-200 phone calls per day, from users updating registration details or ordering replacement registration stickers.
To register your 406 MHz distress beacon; to update your registration details; order a new registration sticker; or to notify of sold, lost, stolen or destroyed beacons visit AMSA's website
or phone 1800 406 406. For more information on EPIRBs go to sa.gov.au