EPIRBs are designed with a variety of features that include either manual or automatic activation. There are float free models, some with integrated strobe lights and most come with a lanyard to secure to a life raft. Only 406 MHz EPIRBs are authorized for use in Canada.
Who needs an EPIRB
EPIRBs are required on ships, fishing vessels and tugboats above a certain size and weight-as outlined in the Canada Shipping Act. Vessels not required by law to carry an EPIRB (e.g. small pleasure craft) are encouraged to do so voluntarily.
What EPIRBs are approved for use in Canada
Industry Canada's radio standards specification for EPIRBs is available in RSS-287.
Transport Canada's listing of approved radio equipment - EPIRB provides an updated listing of approved EPRIBs for use in Canada.
Where to buy an EPIRB
Using the list of approved EPIRBs, you can contact a parts supplier to order an EPIRB. It is important to unsure that the 406 MHz EPIRB is country coded for use in Canada.
Registering your EPIRB
The Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 states that 406 MHz EPIRBs must be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry. The information contained in the registry includes the owner's name, vessel details and emergency contact information. Search and rescue authorities cross-reference the emergency beacon ID with the registry and with a single phone call can determine if the distress signal is a false alert or can collect additional details in order to better respond to the incident.
Disposal of your EPIRB
At the end of an EPIRB's useful life, it is vital that it be disposed of safely. Information about the proper disposal of emergency beacons can be found here.