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EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), which have revolutionized maritime safety by providing an easy and reliable way for ships and seafarers to communicate their location in an emergency. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at EPIRBs and discuss their history, category & operations. Stay safe out there!

What Is An EPIRB?

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alerts in the event of an emergency at sea and can simultaneously notify search and rescue services (SAR). In order to find a lifeboat, life raft, ship, or persons in peril, EPIRB broadcasts a signal on a specific band.

After being registered with the authorized search and rescue forces for that boat/ship, they are put aboard ships and other vessels. In the event of an emergency, registration enables speedier confirmation of false warnings and speedy rescue actions.

The Historyโ€ฆ

In terms of the EPIRB’s history, it was first put into use in 1989. It delivers distress signaling services within a predetermined frequency band in all weather conditions. The geostationary satellite serves as the foundation of the EPIRB because it can instantly recognize signals almost anywhere on the planet. Therefore, these are positioned in oceanic vessels or containers and listed by a company known as the national search and rescue agency in that particular vessel traveling to any ocean or the deep sea.

An EPIRB transmits both a homing signal and an emergency distress frequency signal. The geostationary satellite and ground stations transmit the 406MHz distress signal to the closest search and rescue facility. The 121.5 MHz homing signal is an unusual audio tone frequency signal that aids search and rescue operations in pinpointing the precise location of beacons.

The Categories:

Category I: Also known as Automatic EPIRBs, these devices automatically start when they are near water or submerged in water that is 2-4 feet deep in the ocean or sea. They send a signal as soon as they make contact with the water. Utilizing a Hydrostatic Release Unit is how it operates. Simply removing the manual brackets and turning on the power switch will allow these to run manually.

Category II: Also known as Manual EPIRBs, these can be carried in emergency packs on ships, boats, or yachts and utilized in times of unexpected circumstances. They are initiated or activated manually.

Considering the above details, the manual EPIRB is less expensive than the automatic one because the latter has more equipment, such as manual activation brackets and hydrostatic release units, and is more user-friendly.

The Operation:

An EPIRB is a point radio transmitter that communicates with a satellite and emits signals between the frequencies of 406.0 MHz and 406.1 MHz since these frequencies are specifically designated by international standards for alerting people to emergencies or distress situations. It helps in finding the area of distress within the rescue facility.

EPIRBs have come a long way since their inception and are now an important piece of safety equipment for vessels of all sizes. If you are in the market for an EPIRB or a vessel manager looking for better equipment or would like more information about these devices and to buy the best ones, get in touch with us via our EPIRB Solutions, and experts from our team will contact you.

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