Performance Standards of EPIRBs

EPIRBs (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons) are required to meet certain performance standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other regulatory bodies. These performance standards ensure that EPIRBs can accurately and reliably transmit distress signals in emergency situations.

Ships are required to carry at least 1 satellite position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). Passenger ships may carry a second EPIRB on the bridge if their primary EPIRB is not remotely activated when their distress panel is activated.

The IMO has set the following performance standards for EPIRBs:

  1. Activation: An EPIRB must be activated automatically, manually or remotely.

  2. Location Accuracy: An EPIRB must provide location accuracy to within 5 nautical miles (nm) of the distress position.

  3. Transmission Duration: An EPIRB must transmit continuously for at least 48 hours at a minimum effective radiated power of 400 milliwatts.

  4. Battery Life: An EPIRB must have a battery life of at least 48 hours when fully charged.

  5. Water Resistance: An EPIRB must be able to withstand water pressure to a depth of 10 meters and remain operational.

  6. Self-test Capability: An EPIRB must have a self-test capability that allows the user to confirm its operational status.

  7. Mounting: An EPIRB must be easily mounted in a fixed position on board the vessel.

Meeting these performance standards ensures that EPIRBs are effective in alerting search and rescue teams to a vessel’s distress situation and in accurately locating the vessel in distress.

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