The Importance of Choosing the Right AIS EPIRB





The Importance of Choosing the Right AIS EPIRB

The Importance of Choosing the Right AIS EPIRB

The Importance of Choosing the Right AIS EPIRB

Posted on February 16, 2024

Not All AIS EPIRBs are SOLAS Compliant, What You Need To Know.

In the world of maritime safety, AIS EPIRBs (Automatic Identification System – Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) play a critical role in alerting search and rescue authorities to vessels in distress. However, not all AIS EPIRBs are created equal, and selecting the right one can mean the difference between swift rescue and potential delays.

Understanding AIS EPIRBs:

AIS EPIRBs are equipped with AIS transmitters, allowing them to broadcast distress signals along with vessel identification and location information to nearby vessels and shore stations. This additional functionality enhances the likelihood of a swift and effective response to distress situations, particularly in busy maritime areas where other vessels equipped with AIS receivers can receive the signal.

The Importance of Compliance:

Compliance with international standards, such as those set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), is crucial for ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of AIS EPIRBs. GMDSS EPIRBs that meet these standards undergo rigorous testing to ensure their performance in real-life distress situations, providing confidence to mariners that they can rely on these devices when needed most.

How To Know if Your EPIRB Meets These Requirements?

For vessels that fall under SOLAS requirements and regulations (or national equivalents) new installations on these vessels must use an AIS EPIRB compliant with the latest IMO regulations.   Not all EPIRBs meet this requirement even if they have AIS.   The easiest way to check if your EPIRB is compliant is to look for a Ships wheelmark on the EPIRB and/or its packaging, compliant EPIRBs will have a date of 2023 (or /23) or 2024 (or /24) next to the wheel mark.  

The MED Shipwheel Mark should have a 23 or 24 date marked as the last 2 digits next to the symbol.

In the UK compliant EPIRBs will have the UK conformity mark on the EPIRB and/or the packaging which looks like this.

Alternatively check with your Flag State or your Classification Society who can advise on EPIRBs that meet the regulations.

Check Out These Approved Models:


Ocean Signal EPIRB3 Pro

Be Aware

Be aware that some AIS EPIRBs that were released and approved prior to 2023 do not meet the latest EPIRB requirements.  While these EPIRBs are still currently in the market, they are not an option for SOLAS vessels mandated to have an AIS EPIRB as they do not confirm to the mandated AIS Standards (MSC.471(101) and/or IEC 61097-2 Ed 4.0).  The main differences are a lack of Infrared (IR) Strobe and several other detailed technical changes to the functioning of the EPIRB.

When it comes to choosing the right beacon can make all the difference in your vessel being compliant and ensuring the safety and well-being of mariners at sea. Models like the ACR GlobalFix V5 and the Ocean Signal EPIRB3 Pro set the standard for compliance, reliability, and performance, providing mariners with the confidence to navigate the world’s waters with peace of mind. Select a trusted brand with a full line of fully approved products but also do your own thorough research and consideration of compliance standards when selecting an AIS EPIRB to ensure your vessel passes your next inspection.