New EPIRB Requirements where released on 1st January 2021!
What vessels are affected
Vessels other than those listed below will be required to carry float free EIIRB’s
Vessels less than 7.5 metres have the option of carrying a GPS equipped EPIRB manual, or water activated EPIRB in a manual bracket.
Vessels without level flotation that are less than 12 metres in length and operating in D and E waters will not be required to have a float free EPIRB.
Similarly, all vessels that are less than 12 metres with level flotation can continue to carry the kind of EPIRB currently required regardless of where they operate.
What you need to do
If your vessel needs a float-free EPIRB you must:
- have a suitable water activated EPIRB and float-free bracket; and
- correctly install it on your vessel; and
- ensure you register it with AMSA.
What’s the difference between a float free EPIRB and a GPS EPIRB?
Float Free EPIRB
A float-free EPIRB is a water-activated EPIRB fitted in a bracket. It can activate itself and float free to the water’s surface. It activates when a vessel is submerged to a depth of one to four metres underwater.
A float-free EPIRB can also be manually removed from its bracket and manually activated without it being submerged in water.
Vessels less than 7.5 metres long have the option to carry a GPS-equipped, manual or water-activated EPIRB in a manual bracket, instead of carrying a float-free EPIRB.
Note that if you this option, all persons on board MUST wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD).
How to choose a suitable float-free EPIRB
You will need a manual and water-activated EPIRB (class 2) and a float free bracket (category 1).
Make sure the float-free EPIRB meets Australian Standard AS/NZS 4280.1.
In order to work correctly, the EPIRB brand must match the brand of the float-free bracket.
AMSA have published a list of EPIRB models currently available in Australia.
To see the list go to www.amsa.gov.au
If you already have a water-activated EPIRB, you may be able to convert it into a float-free EPIRB by purchasing a float-free bracket but before converting your EPIRB, consider the battery expiry date. If your EPIRB is close to expiring, it may be more cost effective to replace it instead.
Before deciding on what to do we recommend you contact your EPIRB manufacturer or supplier to determine whether your existing EPIRB can be used in a float-free bracket.
If your EPIRB battery is close to the expiry date consider the cost of buying a new float free EPIRB and bracket as it is often a cheaper option.
While you may rarely think about your EPIRB it is a critical piece of safety equipment in the event of sinking, a capsize or other major incident.
So our tip is to think about yours now and get your float free EPIRB fitted today. It just may save your life!