Maintaining Your Emergency Beacon – Camilleri Marine #406MHz Weekend
EPIRB1 | ©OCEAN SIGNAL
BATTERY EXPIRATION DATE
Every beacon comes with an expiration date to ensure it will function properly if used in an emergency. Generally, the main effect of activating a beacon past its expiry date is that it will not transmit for as long, which can be dangerous in a time where every minute counts. For most beacons, before the expiry date is reached, you must send your beacon to a certified servicing station like Camilleri Marine in Malta to have the battery changed and the beacon thoroughly tested, at which point the beacon will be given a new expiry date by the technical person. There are some EPIRBs that come with a user replaceable battery, such as the Ocean Signal SafeSea E100/E100G which allows the battery to be changed by the user every five years.
HOW TO SAFELY STORE A REGISTERED EPIRB
The location when storing the EPIRB is vital, and it is of the utmost importance to carefully plan ahead. As mentioned in the previous article, an automatic bracket will release the EPIRB at a certain depth, meaning that it must be in a position that enables the beacon to freely float to the surface if the vessel was to sink. You must also consider the chances of the beacon being damaged during day-to-day activities, or even being stolen when the vessel is unattended.
RAPID DITCH BAG | ©OCEAN SIGNAL
A manual bracket should be in a position that is easily accessible in an emergency such as the bulkhead or in a grab bag. Think about a certain scenario such as a fire…could you easily get to your beacon? Will it take considerable risk? Will you remember exactly where it is? Will you even be able to see it clearly through smoke? Once you have considered all scenarios, you can make an educated choice on where to store your EPIRB to give you the best chance of rescue.
TESTING YOUR EMERGENCY BEACON
You should test your beacon regularly using the ‘self-test mode’ which will be different for each beacon, so ensure you carefully read the manual to ensure you don’t accidentally activate the beacon. The recommended interval between tests is one month, and these tests are always factored in the advertised battery life of the beacon.
The test monitors the 406MHz RF power, 121.5MHz homer RF power, synthesizer lock, and battery voltage under load. It is also recommended to inspect your beacon regularly visually for signs of damage, especially on the most important features such as the antenna, bracket, and HRU (Hydrostatic Release Unit) if applicable. We recommend you do not test the GPS receiver more than once a year as it consumes a significant amount of battery energy.
Unsure where to register your emergency beacon? Click here to find out!
You can contact Camilleri Marine for any queries:
Telephone: (+356) 2134 6320 / (+356) 2134 1953
Address: MMH Malta Triq Xatt il-Mollijiet Marsa, MRS 1152, Malta.