General storage tips

Like your mobile phone, keep your beacon dry and store it appropriately. Refer to the manufacturer's user manual for specific instructions for your model.

Distress beacons are stowed depending on the type. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) have mounting brackets, Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) are installed permanently and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are carried in pockets or lifejackets. It is important to keep distress beacons away from:

  • items that may accidentally knock the activation switch;
  • magnetic sources, such as microphones and radio speakers;
  • high pressure water sprays; and
  • children who may play with the beacon.

To prevent your beacon being stolen, keep it locked away or out of sight when not in use.

Do not store beacons in high temperatures.


In a boat, an EPIRB should be stowed in its mounting bracket where it is visible and easy to access in an emergency. Some models are water activated when removed from the bracket. So please note that once removed, it will activate if it gets wet. For information on installing a float-free EPIRB, see our float-free EPIRBs page.

It can also be stored in a grab bag along with flares, a torch or strobe light and other safety equipment. The grab bag prevents the beacon from too much rough treatment and provides a dry environment for all your safety gear. Long-term exposure to water will cause corrosion to your beacon and may render it useless in a distress situation.

It is recommended to have an additional beacon stored in the vessel's life-raft. This beacon should be a manually activated model so that in the event it gets wet inside the life-raft, it does not inadvertently activate.

If wearing a PLB, ensure it is fitted near the shoulder of the lifejacket. If activated, the aerial will have a clear line of sight to the satellite.

Note: You should use a manually operated EPIRB if you intend to store it in a grab bag or out of its bracket.


On land, PLBs are to be physically carried on the body or within easy reach.


In an aircraft, ELTs are usually hard-wired into the aircraft and mounted in a rack. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations allow pilots flying General Aviation aircraft to carry a PLB or EPIRB as an alternative to an ELT. This can also be used as a secondary alerting device should the ELT be destroyed or does not activate. PLBs should be carried on the pilot so that it is within easy reach.