Beacon types and models

121.5 MHz distress beacons are no longer detected. You must carry a digital 406 MHz distress beacon. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) recommends beacons with Global Positioning System (GPS).

Types of beacons

The information below is written for an Australian-based audience. See using your beacon for information on beacon activation overseas, noting that some countries consider Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) carriage and activation illegal on land.

If you're not sure which beacon to use, see our guide on choosing the right beacon.

PLB EPIRB ELT
Full name Personal Locator Beacon Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon Emergency Locator Transmitter
Usage Land, maritime, air Maritime, land, air Air
Description

PLBs are smaller and easier to transport than other beacons, and are designed to be worn or carried by individuals rather than vehicles. In some cases, PLBs do not meet carriage requirements for maritime vessels travelling more than 2 nautical miles from the coast. PLBs may be carried in place of an ELT. Refer to CASA for further details.

In most states, EPIRBs are required for boats that travel more than 2 nautical miles from the coast. EPIRBs may also be used on land or carried in place of an ELT.

ELTs are designed to be fitted to aircraft.

In some cases, EPIRBs or PLBs may be carried in place of an ELT. Refer to CASA for further details.

Hours of operation* 24 hours 48 hours 24 hours

*Hours of operation refers to the minimum amount of time that your beacon will continuously transmit a signal after it has been activated.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

This list is provided as a courtesy, showing Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) distress beacon models that, if purchased in Australia, are known to meet Australian Standards AS/NZS 4280.1 and AS/NZS 4280.2. These standards are maintained by Standards Australia. To find out more about any beacon model, see the manufacturer's website.

There may be additional beacons that meet standards that do not yet appear on this page.

AMSA does not endorse any particular brand or model of distress beacon.

Discontinued EPIRB models

  • RLB35 Globalfix 406
  • RLB27 Satellite 406
  • RLB33 Rapidfix 406
  • MT401
  • TRON 30S
  • TRON 40S and GPS
  • 406 WH, S, WS & FH
  • 406 PRO Series
  • 406 M
  • 406 Manual/Auto
  • Pains Wessex Res-Q-Sat RB6
  • E3 SOS RESCUE
  • G4 SOS PRECISION

PLB

This list is provided as a courtesy, showing Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) distress beacon models that, if purchased in Australia, are known to meet Australian Standards AS/NZS 4280.1 and AS/NZS 4280.2. These standards are maintained by Standards Australia. To find out more about any beacon model, see the manufacturer's website.

There may be additional beacons that meet standards that do not yet appear on this page.

AMSA does not endorse any particular brand or model of distress beacon.

Note: PLBs are not considered a substitute for EPIRBs when adhering to State and Territory marine carriage regulations.

Discontinued PLB models

  • PLB 200/ PLB 201 Aquafix/Terrafix/Aerofix (GPS Capable)
  • PLB 300 Res-Q-Fix
  • PLB 100 GyPSI 406 (GPS)
  • Aqualink PLB GPS
  • Aqualink View GPS PLB
  • XS-3
  • 406 XS, XS2 & XS-2 GPS
  • FASTFIND/FASTFIND PLUS