Care for and dispose of your beacon responsibly

Thursday 21 July 2016
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has found that more than 50 per cent of the distress beacons activated in the Torres Strait region in the last 12 months were a result of accidental or unintentional activations.
Media Release

AMSA Senior Program Advisor Shaun Skerritt said, of the 37 beacon activations in the Torres Strait region, 19 were accidental activations.

These types of beacon activations are generally a result of people incorrectly disposing of their old expired beacons in the rubbish tip.

'Many hours are spent each year searching for beacons in rubbish tips. Search personnel tasked to look for beacons in tips are then unavailable to respond to real emergency situations,' Mr Skerritt said.

'You can hand in your old expired beacons at the Thursday Island AMSA office, Maritime Safety Queensland or pass them on to the Queensland Police Service where the battery will be disconnected and disposed of responsibly'.

'It is also important that you advise AMSA when you dispose of your old beacon so this can be recorded on your beacon registration account'.

Mr Skerritt also mentioned that beacons can accidentally activate when they are not stored correctly within your vessel.

'This can potentially damage the beacon, meaning it cannot be relied upon in an emergency situation,' he said.

Just like a mobile phone, it is important to keep your beacon dry, stored out of direct sunlight and easy to access in an emergency. Refer to the manual for specific instructions for your model.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority urges all beacon owners to be responsible when looking after their beacons. A beacon could mean all the difference in a life threatening situation.

If your beacon is accidentally activated, switch it off immediately and contact AMSA on 1800 641 792. There is no penalty for accidental activation.

To register your beacon or for more information, visit the distress beacons website or by calling (02) 6279 5000.