Tips to avoid accidental activation of your float-free EPIRB

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has reported a number of inadvertent float-free EPIRB activations due to incorrect mounting, storage and washing down of vessels.

If (for non-distress purposes) you need to remove the float-free EPIRB from the bracket and the water activation switch gets wet this will activate the EPIRB and transmit a distress signal to AMSA.

Here’s a few tips to help you avoid false activations:

  1. Keep your float-free EPIRB dry when removing from the bracket for maintenance or storage purposes.
  2. Ensure when mounting your float-free EPIRB that it is correctly aligned in the bracket. The ‘reed switch’ inside the EPIRB must be correctly aligned with a magnet within the bracket to disarm the water activation switch to prevent inadvertent activations if it gets wet.
  3. Be careful when you wash down your vessel, in particular if you are using a high pressure hose, or if your EPIRB is exposed to significant weather conditions as your float-free EPIRB may become dislodged from the correct position in the bracket and unintentionally activate.

If your float-free EPIRB is accidentally activated you will notice the strobe light flashing and beeping, dry the water activation switch immediately and contact AMSA on 1800 641 792. There is no penalty for accidental activation.

All Australian EPIRBs must be registered with AMSA. Registration is valid for two years after date of issue and must be renewed before its expiry date. Registration is free and can be completed online.

Read more about float-free EPIRBs installation and maintenance here.