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An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency. It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue co-ordination centre.

Some EPIRBs also have built-in GPS which enables the rescue services to accurately locate you to +/- 50 metres.

EPIRBs are installed on boats and can either be operated automatically after an incident or manually.


A Search and Rescue Transponder (SART) is an electronic device that automatically reacts to the emission of a radar. This enhances the visibility on a radar screen. SART transponders are used to ease the search of a ship in distress or a life craft.

If the SART detects a signal it immediately transmits twelve pulses on the same frequency.