Crime Stoppers

Water Police calling for EPIRB registrations

Wednesday 06-Feb-2019 15:02

Northern Territory Police are urging boat owners and would-be adventurers to register their Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacons (EPIRB) and dispose of expired devices correctly.

Water Police Section members recently spent significant time and resources attempting to locate a beacon that had activated in the Cullen Bay area. The beacon’s signal was detected by satellite, which is monitored by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). ASMA then notified Water Police officers who then attempted to locate the beacon over the space of several hours.

The EPIRB was later found in a vessel parked in the driveway of a Cullen Bay address.

“Our officers discovered the beacon was past its expiry date and had self-activated,” Senior Constable Troy Harris said.

“The owner of the EPIRB hadn’t registered the device as required. If they had taken up the free registration option after buying the device, it could’ve saved police a lot of time and resources.

“If the EPIRB had been registered as required, the owner would have been contacted and the activation address would have been know immediately.”

EPIRB owners are required to register their devices with AMSA. Registration is free.

Once a signal is activated on a registered EPIRB, AMSA Search and Rescue phones the owner’s emergency contacts.

“Registering your EPIRB allows us to look up important information to initiate a response as soon as possible,” Senior Constable Harris said.

“An unregistered EBIRB can cause a delay in the response, which may put those on board including yourself, your crew or your friends and family at risk.”

Senior Constable Harris also urged owners of EPIRBs to dispose of their unwanted beacons correctly.

EPIRB owners can dispose of unwanted beacons responsibly in the following ways:

  • Drop your device at the Water Police Section office during business hours.
  • Contact your local battery store.  A small fee may apply.
  • Contact your local maritime safety agency. They may be able to provide disposal advice.
  • Disconnect the EPIRB’s battery according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then contact your local waste management facility to ask about environmentally friendly disposal options. A small
    fee may apply.

Anyone who disposes of their unwanted EPIRBs should update their details with AMSA to de-register their beacon.

More information is available at or by calling 1800 406 406.