How do EPIRBs work?


It’s crucial to have an EPIRB with you in the event of an emergency at sea.


If something goes wrong, activating your EPIRB will alert emergency services to your location so they’ll be able to find and rescue you.


But how do they work, exactly?


Finding your location


  1. 1. EPIRB activates and transmits your beacon’s unique ID information or HEX ID to the closest satellite.
  2. 2. The satellite will access a registration database, which supplies information such as your GPS location, registration number of your vessel, and emergency contact information.
  3. 3. Once this information is received, an alert is sent to the nearest Local User Terminal (LUT), and then processed by the nearest Mission Control Centre (MCC).
  4. 4. The alert is forwarded to the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), which begins to organise a search and rescue operation. Registration details are provided to the RCC in the country in which the beacon is both activated and registered.
  5. 5. Search and rescue operation gets >Underway.


It’s important to make sure your contact details up-to-date – as Search and Rescue will ring your emergency contacts immediately for information regarding your whereabouts, so they can start searching as soon as possible.


You can check out our Range of EPIRBs here – including GME's self-deploying MT603FG 406MHz EPIRB.


For more information on any of our products, get in touch with us at CH Smith Marine on (03) 9403 4800.



Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System
GME MT603G EPIRB with GPS (RDE409)