Consultation: alternatives to carrying a float-free EPIRB, for vessels less than 7.5 metres 2019

Consultation on alternatives to carrying a float-free EPIRB for vessels less than 7.5 metres closed on 28 February 2019.

Have your say on the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part C7B—Design and Construction—Equipment—Communications Equipment). This relates to the carriage of float-free EPIRBs on domestic commercial vessels.

This consultation applies to domestic commercial vessel owners and operators of vessels less than 7.5 metres long, operating in B waters (offshore operations) or C waters (restricted offshore operations), where the vessel does not have level flotation.

From 1 January 2021, more domestic commercial vessels will be required to carry a float-free emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). 

For vessels less than 7.5 metres long without level flotation operating in B waters or C waters, we understand it may not be practical or feasible to carry a float-free EPIRB on these kind of vessels and have proposed several alternative options. 

The options we propose include:

  • Option 1: carry a float-free EPIRB (no alternative)
  • Option 2: wear a personal locator beacon (PLB), in addition to carrying a manually activating EPIRB 
  • Option 3: carry a manually activating EPIRB and wear a lifejacket
  • Option 4: carry a manually activating EPIRB in a buoyant storage device

AMSA is also seeking feedback on any additional alternative options, which stakeholders consider will achieve an equivalent or acceptable level of safety.

AMSA will publish the details of the approved alternative options for smaller vessels, as well as the feedback received. AMSA anticipates this will occur in March 2019. The requirement for specified vessels to carry a float-free EPIRB does not become mandatory until 1 January 2021, however the standards allow for operators of vessels affected by the changes to commence transitioning from 1 January 2019.

Consultation papers

Read the consultation paper PDF225.98 KB—alternative options for vessels less than 7.5 metres long.

Read the float-free EPIRB consultation feedback report PDF400.19 KB.

Last updated: 12 September 2023