Coast Guard Issues Reminder on EPIRBs

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The US Coast Guard issued a reminder for owners and operators of commercial and recreational vessels who have not already done so that they need to acquire the new generation of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) that operate on the 406 MHz frequency. In yesterday’s newsletter, I erroneously reported that, as of 1 January 2007, the COSPAS-SARSAT satellites will quit monitoring the old 121.5/243 MHz frequency utilized by the old EPIRBs. Actually, the issue is more insidious. As of 1 January 2007, it is a violation of USCG regulations for US-flag vessels to utilize the old Class A, B, and S 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs. The restriction does not affect 121.5/243 MHz man overboard devices that are designed to work directly with a base alerting unit only and not with the satellite system. The COSPAS-SARSAT satellites will continue to monitor the 121.5/243 MHz frequency until 1 February 2009.

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