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The Importance of EPIRBs in the Fishing Industry

In the fishing industry, safety should always be a top priority. Whether you’re a commercial fisherman or a recreational angler, being prepared for emergencies at sea is crucial. One essential piece of equipment that every fishing vessel should have is an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). In this blog post, we will explore the importance of EPIRBs in the fishing industry and how they can save lives.

1. What is an EPIRB? An EPIRB is a distress beacon that is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency at sea. It is designed to transmit a signal that can be detected by satellites and rescue aircraft, helping to pinpoint the location of the vessel in distress.

2. How does an EPIRB work? When activated, an EPIRB sends out a distress signal that includes the vessel’s unique identification code. This signal is picked up by satellites and relayed to rescue coordination centers, who then dispatch rescue assets to the location. EPIRBs can operate on different frequencies, such as 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz, providing different levels of accuracy and reliability.

3. The benefits of using EPIRBs in the fishing industry – Quick and accurate distress signal: In emergency situations, time is of the essence. EPIRBs provide a fast and reliable way to alert rescue authorities, increasing the chances of a successful rescue. – Increased safety for crew members: The fishing industry is known for its inherent risks. Having an EPIRB on board ensures that crew members have a lifeline in case of accidents, vessel sinking, or other emergencies. – Compliance with regulations: Many countries have regulations in place that require fishing vessels to carry EPIRBs. By adhering to these regulations, fishermen can avoid penalties and ensure the safety of their crew.

4. Choosing the right EPIRB for your fishing vessel When selecting an EPIRB, there are several factors to consider, including:

– Type of fishing vessel: The size and type of vessel will determine the appropriate EPIRB category, such as Category 1 (automatic deployment) Category 2 (manual deployment).

– Battery life and maintenance:

The battery life is on the unit when it is received from the manufacturer.  There is a battery “expiry date” on a sticker on the side of the unit.  Batteries can be replaced at any time before this date. Batteries should only be replaced by trained technicians.

– GPS functionality: Some EPIRBs come with built-in GPS, which enhances the accuracy of the distress signal and speeds up the rescue process.

How do I know the beacon is working?

Perform a monthly self-test. If the test passes, the beacon is working. If the self-test does not pass, take/send the beacon in for service.

It is recommended to carry out is once a month and/or before extended trips.

-Where to Put an EPIRB:

Locate the beacon in a readily accessible location that is protected from outside influences. The location selected must be

sufficiently rigid to support the weight of the total installation.

Hazards to avoid when selecting a mounting location:

– Vibration

– Exposure to the elements, especially sun

– Possibility of impact from hatches, gear or personnel

– Harmful vapors

– Exhaust

– Harsh chemicals (i.e. paint removers)

– Locations that can be obscured by foreign articles on a temporary or permanent basis.


Conclusion: EPIRBs play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of fishermen in the fishing industry. By having an EPIRB on board, fishing vessels can quickly alert rescue authorities in the event of emergencies, increasing the chances of a successful rescue operation. Investing in a reliable and properly maintained EPIRB is an essential step towards enhancing safety at sea. Remember, safety should always be a priority when venturing out into the waters. Equip your fishing vessel with an EPIRB and give yourself and your crew peace of mind knowing that help is just a distress signal away. Stay safe and tight lines! 


If a device is no longer required, it can be deprogrammed and be returned to place of purchase, depending on device (ACR devices returned to SNG) If you have any questions or need further information about EPIRBs feel free to reach out to  us at SNG . Stay tuned for more informative articles on maritime safety and fishing practices.

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