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EPIRB Registration is now as easy as Click-2-3!

If you own an EPIRB, you MUST register it. It's the law. It’s now easier than ever to file or update your information at If you bought a 406 EPIRB, changed addresses/phone numbers, or lost touch with your designated contacts,  you can do it all online or print out the form and fax or mail it.  Best of all, it’s FREE.

Was your EPIRB lost?

Inform NOAA immediately at 1-888-212-SAVE (7283) that your beacon has been lost.  They will update the information and save you the consequences of an accidental activation.

Was your EPIRB stolen?

First, report to your local police department that the beacon has been stolen. Contact NOAA at 1-888-212-SAVE (7283) with the following information so your beacon registration information can be updated with the appropriate remarks:
  - Police Department Name
  - Police Phone Number
  - Police Case Number

If your beacon were to activate, the information you provide will be forwarded to the appropriate Search and Rescue Authorities who will ensure that your beacon gets back to you. And, if someone attempts to register a beacon reported as stolen, NOAA will notify the appropriate Police Department.

Types of Beacons

There are three types of emergency radio beacons used to transmit distress signals, EPIRBs (for maritime use), ELTs (for aviation use), and PLBs (previously used for land-based applications). PLBs are now finding themselves in maritime use as well. I find it's easiest to think of EPIRBs as belonging to the boat, ELTs as belonging to the plane, and PLBs as belonging to the person. Registration then follows suit.

There are two types of EPIRBs. One type transmits an analog signal on 121.5 MHz. The other type transmits a digital identification code on 406 MHz and a low-power "homing" signal on 121.5 MHz. 

Emergency position indicating radiobeacons (EPIRBs) are designed to save your life if you get into trouble by alerting rescue authorities and indicating your location. EPIRB types are described below:

Class A
121.5/243 MHZ. Float-free, automatically-activating, detectable by aircraft and satellite. Coverage is limited. An alert from this device to a rescue coordination center may be delayed 4 - 6 or more hours. Being phased out in 2009 and not recommended.
Class B
121.5/243 MHZ. Manually activated version of Class A. Being phased out in 2009 and not recommended.
Class C
VHF ch15/16. Manually activated, operates on maritime channels only. Not detectable by satellite. These devices were phased out in 1999.
Class S
121.5/243 MHZ. Similar to Class B, except it floats, or is an integral part of a survival craft. Allows aircraft to home in on your signal after they have located your approximate position. Also used in some person overboard recovery devices.
Category I
406/121.5 MHZ. Float-free, automatically activated EPIRB. Detectable by satellite anywhere in the world. Recognized by GMDSS.
Category II
406/121.5 MHZ. Similar to Category I, except is manually activated. Some models are also water activated.
Inmarsat E
1646 MHZ. Float-free, automatically activated EPIRB. Detectable by Inmarsat geostationary satellite. Recognized by GMDSS. Not sold in the U.S.


These are similar to category II EPIRBs and transmit on both 406 and 121.5 mHZ. They were approved for use throughout the US in 2003. The main difference is that they are registered to the person rather than vessel. Because they are designed to be worn, they have a shorter battery life once activated than a standard EPIRB.


COSPAS-SARSAT is an international satellite-based search and rescue system established by the U.S., Russia, Canada and France to locate emergency radio beacons transmitting on the frequencies 121.5, 243 and 406 MHZ.

Space System for Search of Distress Vessels (a Russian acronym)
Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking

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