USCG Announces Mandatory Registration of EPIRBs

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now requiring owners of 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBS) to register them with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), effective September 13. This amendment is intended to enhance maritime safety by providing valuable vessel and point of contact information to search and rescue personnel. This information will improve search and rescue effectiveness and efficiency, and is intended to reduce false alarm response costs. Registration can give search and rescue personnel a substantial response edge in a situation.

NOAA maintains an EPIRB database of more than 20,000 registered beacons. When a distress signal is received, the registration database is automatically checked using the beacon- unique code. Registration information is automatically attached to a distress alert message and transmitted to the responsible Rescue Coordination Center. The new rule requires manufacturers to include registration instruction and a prepaid, pre-addressed registration card with each beacon. For further information, contact USCG Public Affairs at the USCG Headquarters, Commandant (G-CP-2), 2100 Second St., S.W. Washington, D.C.

20593-0001, tel: (202) 267-0932.

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