Buying a beacon
Which beacon should I buy?
There are three different beacon types. Use our guide to find out which beacon is right for you.Choosing a beacon
Purchase your beacon
Beacons can be purchased through fishing, boat, aviation, bushwalking and camping stores across Australia. Although we do not endorse any particular beacon model or brand, we have provided a list of beacon manufacturers and beacon models that comply with Australian Standards.
Register your beacon
Once you've purchased your beacon, you must register it with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).Registration
The seller or purchaser of a second-hand beacon must contact AMSA to update their registration details.
The seller needs to update their registration account to indicate the beacon has been sold and provide the purchaser’s contact details if available. This can be done through the following options.
- Log in to your online beacon account
Click on 'Change beacon ownership', sign in, select the new status as 'Sold' and follow the steps as prompted.
- Phone AMSA on 1800 406 406
Please have your HEX ID / UIN code on hand, purchasers name, address and phone number.
- Email AMSA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your HEX ID / UIN, purchasers name, address and phone number.
- Download the 'Change in ownership' form (Word 70Kb) (also available in PDF 226Kb)
Complete the form and return it to AMSA as described on the form.
The purchaser also needs to contact AMSA to register the beacon under their name. To do this you will be asked for the seller's contact details if available and your own contact details to complete the registration. This must be done by phone only (1800 406 406).
Once registration is complete, AMSA will send you a rbeacon registration confirmation via SMS, email or letter so that you can prove registration when inspected by authorities. Beacon registration is valid for two years.
Purchasing a beacon overseas
If purchasing a distress beacon overseas for use in Australia; make sure that it will meet Australian Standards and Class Licence requirements. Information on the Class Licence that authorises the use of distress beacons can be accessed from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Handy hint: If you buy a distress beacon overseas, it will be programmed to that country and cannot be registered in Australia unless it is re-programmed by the manufacturer with the Australian country code.
Buyer beware: Do not buy a distress beacon from Canada or the USA as they do not meet the Australian Standard and cannot be registered in Australia.Beacons from Canada and the USA
Canadian Class 2 PLBs
Canada has amended their Standards to allow a Class 2 PLB that is not required to float. This beacon does not meet the Australian Standard and can not be registered in Australia.
United States Coded PLBs
The United States requires all PLBs for use in the US to transmit the letter "P" in Morse over the homing frequency of 121.5 MHz. This is not permitted under Australian Standards nor by the ACMA's miscellaneous Devices Class Licence that references these Standards and therefore these distress beacons should not be used in Australia. Any 406 MHz beacon registered with AMSA is required to be coded with an Australian country code. You may have difficulty recoding a 406 MHz beacon produced for the US market.
There may be beacons manufactured to other national standards that are not compatible with Australian standards. You should make sure that any beacon you purchase will comply with the Australian requirements.
International residents purchasing a distress beacon in Australia should request that the beacon is programmed with the country code of which you are a resident or for which the vessel is registered. Ask for advice from your beacon supplier about coding a beacon for overseas registration, or contact us for further information regarding your circumstances.