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Float-free EPIRB consultation outcome—alternative options for smaller vessels

Thursday 26 September 2019
It will be mandatory to carry a float-free emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) on many vessels from 1 January 2021, including vessels less than 12 metres without level flotation operating in Offshore (B) or Restricted Offshore (C) waters.

When we announced these changes in July 2018, we committed to exploring options for vessels less than 7.5 metres.

The small size of these vessels means that a float-free EPIRB may not be practical. There may not be anywhere suitable to mount the float-free bracket, and a small vessel with basic flotation or in very shallow waters may not submerge sufficiently to trigger the float-free mechanism (although manual activation is still possible).

Between December 2018 and February 2019, AMSA consulted on the options for these types of vessels.  

If you own or operate a vessel less than 7.5 metres without level flotation and operate in Offshore (B) or Restricted Offshore (C) waters, you can choose to carry a GPS-equipped, manual or water-activated EPIRB in a manual bracket instead of carrying a float-free EPIRB where all persons on board are wearing lifejackets or Personal Flotation Devices (PDFs).

Have a look at the results of the consultation process and our consultation feedback report. 

Read more on the float-free EPIRB requirements.