All marine Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) have a limited life and should be replaced or refurbished before their expiry date, which should be noted on the label attached to the beacon, but they need to be disposed of in a safe manner.

Every year there are incidents of EPIRBs being accidentally activated after ending up in landfill or left somewhere where children can play with them. When this happens the registered owner of the EPIRB can be held responsible for the costs involved if emergency services were deployed in response to the false signal so owners should ensure that their old EPIRB is no longer active before disposing of it.

You can check with the manufacturer if they have a battery disconnection procedure to follow otherwise it’s best not to attempt it yourself as lithium batteries, which all EPIRBs use, can be dangerous to work with and they also need to be taken to a disposal facility that accepts them so the best, and safest, option is to take your old EPIRB to be de-activated and safely disposed of either to Bribie Green at 1/122 Goodwin Drive, Bribie Island, where there is no charge, or to a Battery World store where it is subject to a small fee.

Also it is very important that you inform AMSA about the disposal either by logging in to your online beacon account, by email to [email protected]amsa.gov.au or by phone on 1800 406 406 but make sure that you have the HEX ID/UIN of the EPIRB to hand when you do so.

Click here to view AMSA’s latest advice on the subject.

Note: By regulation vessels operating beyond partially smooth waters or in other waters more than 2 NM from land are required to be equipped with certain items classified as safety equipment, one of which is an AMSA registered and Australian Standard compliant 406MHz EPIRB, and if the specified safety equipment has an expiry date by which it should be serviced or replaced (as EPIRBs do) then the vessel is taken not to be equipped with the required safety equipment unless the equipment has been serviced or replaced before the expiry date.