The registration you filled out when you purchased your EPIRB is good for two years, after which it needs to be updated. Failure to update means valuable time may be lost if you ever need to use the EPIRB! You can get data on line at http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/beacon.html , or in the US call 301-568-8649.
If you don’t have your beacon ID number handy, the folks at the registration office can look up the data for you with the name of the vessel and vessel owner’s name. They will then fax you the form to update.
Also, remember to check the replacement date on the battery. Most are good for five years.
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(added 10 November 00)Whilst I’ve got mine registered through NOAA, those on the East side of the Atlantic may like to know that you can also register via the UK Coastguard @ Falmouth UK tel no 01326 313053, contact Steve Huxley.
(added 21 September 01) Just this week I spoke with a technician at ACR in Ft. Lauderdale. Their mother company owns Northern Airborn Tech. They’re developing a new GPIRB which will probably be smaller than the NAT unit and be out in the fall I think. However, the lady I spoke with there said that in fact, they were only doing it to respond to the market call for it. She said “people think they need it.” But she also said “We don’t agree!” She said they felt their current RapidFix 406 model was a much better choice. She said that in a bad sea state the GPIRB may take a long time to acquire a position, whereas the RapidFix model when properly interfaced with a GPS already has the position and can send it immediately. Further, she points out that the EPIRB also has a 121 signal which has a range of many miles and is what will be used to actually hone in on the vessel once SAR gets into the general area.