EPIRB Battery Life

Typically, EPIRB batteries are designed to last for several years; however, they are only activated when you find yourself in distress.

Once activated, your EPIRB is expected to transmit a signal for a minimum of 48 hours, as this window is crucial for search and rescue teams to pinpoint your location and carry out a successful rescue operation.

Regular maintenance and checks ensure that your beacon will function effectively when required.

Some manufacturers offer a 10-year battery life, after which the battery should be replaced to guarantee the device’s performance.

It’s important to register your device and keep the registration information current, as this helps rescue authorities identify you quickly in an emergency.

Service Lifespan of an EPIRB Battery

While some EPIRBs have a service life of up to 10 years, manufacturers typically recommend professional testing and potential battery replacement every 5 years​​.

During the service life period, it’s expected to operate correctly without a need for frequent replacements.

⚠️ Author’s Note: Always double-check the expiry date of the battery on your device.

Minimum Operational EPIRB Battery Life

EPIRBs are designed to transmit a distress signal for a minimum of 48 hours once activated, under standard operating conditions which typically include:

1️⃣ Activation and Deployment: Conditions under which the device is activated, including manual or automatic activation in water.

2️⃣ Transmission Duration: The minimum guaranteed duration the device can transmit a distress signal once activated. For EPIRBs, this is typically 48 hours as a minimum requirement.

3️⃣ Temperature Range: The device must operate effectively within a specified range of temperatures, ensuring reliability across various climate conditions encountered at sea.

Temperature ConditionRange (°C)Range (°F)
Operational (Ambient)-20 to +55-4 to +131
Extreme Conditions-30 to +70-22 to +158

4️⃣ Waterproof and Buoyancy: EPIRBs must remain waterproof and float in marine environments to ensure the distress signal can be transmitted from the surface.

5️⃣ Satellite Compatibility: The ability to transmit signals compatible with the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system for global distress alert and location services.

Battery Maintenance

EPIRBs are critical safety devices designed to function in emergencies with minimal upkeep.

Proper attention to battery life and maintenance ensures their reliability when you need them most.

Regular testing and visual inspections are key to maintaining your EPIRB.

You should check for signs of physical damage and self-test the EPIRB according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Simple actions and safety protocols ensure your survival gear works when called upon.

All EPIRBs should be marked with a sticker that includes the expiry date information of the battery.

If the date of expiry is coming up, refer to instructions specific to your model for safe battery replacement procedures.

If your EPIRB is integrated with a Hydrostatic Release Unit (HRU), ensure that the battery’s replacement coincides with the HRU’s service schedule.

Frequently Asked

Once activated, an EPIRB’s battery is designed to last a minimum of 48 hours in temperatures as low as -20°C, ensuring that the distress signal is transmitted long enough for a search and rescue operation to be initiated.

Yes, the battery in an EPIRB can be replaced. It is a procedure that should be done by an authorized service provider. Most EPIRB batteries need replacement every five years or after being used in an emergency, whichever comes first.

The typical endurance or shelf life of an EPIRB battery is approximately 5 to 10 years, with most manufacturers recommending that the battery be replaced every 5 years or following an activation.

Search and Rescue Transponder (SART) batteries generally have a shorter operational life when activated compared to EPIRBs. While EPIRBs are designed to operate for a minimum of 48 hours, SARTs often need to be replaced after 96 hours of continuous operation on standby mode.

I’m the founder and chief editor here at Sailing Savvy. I spent a decade working as a professional mariner and currently, I mix those experiences with digital publishing. Welcome, and I hope that we can be the hub you need for safe passage.