How to Register an EPIRB?

Beacons operating at 406 Mhz, including EPIRBs and PLBs, are required to be registered with the relevant regulatory body in your boating country, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in America.

To register an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon in the United States, you have three options. Don’t worry, I’ll cover Canada, the UK, and Australia later.

🛜 Online Registration: This is the fastest and easiest method. You can register your EPIRB online at Before submitting, make sure to verify and validate all the information you provide​​​​​​.

✉️ Mail Registration: If you prefer, you can also mail the registration form. Use the pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope provided and send it to: 

SARSAT Beacon Registration NOAA NSOF, E/SPO53, 1315 East West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910​​​​.

📠 Fax Registration: WHO THE HELL STILL FAXES? Anyway, here’s the number 301-817-4565.

Pretty simple, right? All registrations will be entered in the database within 48 hours of receipt. Now, let’s look at the importance of registration, required information, and updates.

Key Takeaways

  • Properly registering your EPIRB helps ensure efficient search and rescue operations in emergencies.
  • Providing accurate and up-to-date information during registration is crucial for successful rescues.
  • Regularly updating your EPIRB registration is essential to maintain its effectiveness.

Importance of Registering an EPIRB

By registering your EPIRB, you provide essential information such as your name, contact details, vessel information, and emergency contacts. This information is vital for authorities to coordinate a timely and successful rescue operation.

When you release and activate an EPIRB, it sends out distress signals containing your beacon’s Unique Identification Number (UIN). 

Search and rescue teams use this beacon ID to access your registration information and determine your location. The better the information you provide during registration, the easier it is for rescue teams to focus their efforts and reach you in a life-threatening situation. 

Consider familiarizing yourself with how an EPIRB works to enhance your overall preparedness.

Proper registration ensures that false alarms are minimized. Each EPIRB is assigned a unique ID that helps authorities determine if a distress signal is genuine. 

In case of accidental activation, your registration information allows SAR teams to quickly verify the emergency and avoid wasting resources on false calls.

Necessary Registration Information

Registration Information for the United States

When registering your EPIRB in the US, you must provide information such as the beacon ID, manufacturer name, and model number. Additionally, you should include your contact information, the vessel’s name, color, length, capacity, and home port.

Be aware of your battery replacement date on your beacon, as you must update your registration accordingly.

Registration Process in Canada

In Canada, the process is similar to the US registration process. You must provide the beacon’s ID, manufacturer name, model number, contact information, vessel or aircraft details, and Hex ID.

Canadian residents can register their EPIRBs using the Canadian EPIRB registration form. Don’t forget to record your MMSI number, if applicable, and provide information on your vessel or aircraft, such as the federal and state registration number or aircraft tail number.

Registration Process in the United Kingdom

Online Registration: you can register a UK 406 MHz beacon, including EPIRBs. It’s free, takes about 15 minutes to complete, and lets you update your beacon registration details and vessel (or aircraft) information​.

When registering, you’ll need the beacon’s Hexadecimal Identification (HEX ID) or Unique Identifying Number (UIN), along with the manufacturer’s serial number and model. And an emergency contact for search and rescue authorities.

If you have a vessel, you must provide its name, number, call sign, Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, and details of your radio communications equipment.

Other Ways to Apply: If you need help with online registration, wish to register multiple beacons at once, or prefer to register by post, you can contact the UK Beacon Registry team for assistance. 

They are available by email at, by telephone at +44 (0)20 3817 2006, or by fax at +44 (0)1326 319264, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (except public holidays)​​.

Registration Process in Australia

EPIRB registration in Australia requires you to provide the necessary beacon information, such as ID, manufacturer, model, Hex ID, and your contact details. 

Include details about your vessel or aircraft, like its name, color, length, capacity, and home port.

Australian residents can register their EPIRB through the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) website. Be sure to keep your registration updated, especially with essential information such as additional data or battery replacement schedules.

Dealing with Complications

When registering your EPIRB, you may encounter some complications. Here are some tips to help you handle them:

First, ensure you are using a secure connection for security reasons. Check that the URL begins with “https://” and that a padlock icon (🔒) displays in the browser’s address bar. This confirms that your online session is encrypted, protecting your personal information.

Next, complete all the required fields as you fill out the registration form. These usually include your contact information, beacon data, and emergency contact details. 

Incomplete or inaccurate information in these fields may cause delays in your registration or rescue efforts in case of a distress signal. Consider typing your information for legibility and accuracy instead of handwritten forms if you are mailing your registration.

If your registration form contains additional fields that are not mandatory, fill them out too. Providing more information can help the authorities better understand your situation during an emergency and expedite the rescue process.

To avoid a false alert, test your EPIRB according to the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid accidentally activating it during registration. A false alert can lead to a response from search and rescue agencies, wasting resources and potentially diverting them from genuine emergencies.

Lastly, if you encounter any issues or need clarification during the registration process, consult the NOAA Registration Site or Ocean Signal’s EPIRB/PLB registration guide for help and additional resources.

Updating Your Registration Information

To update your EPIRB registration online, visit the NOAA beacon registration website. Log in using your 15-hex or 23-hex beacon ID (the UIN). Once logged in, you can update your contact information, vessel details, and other additional data as needed.

Ensure that your emergency contact information is current and accurate. This includes phone numbers and addresses for primary and secondary contacts. Also, take the time to update any changes to your vessel details, such as the name, color, length, capacity, and home port.

Remember to verify and update the additional data section, including information about your vessel’s equipment, such as the number of lifeboats and rafts. This information is crucial for rescuers to have a clear understanding of your vessel and situation.

Updating your EPIRB registration is vital, and federal regulations require you to renew it every two years. Additionally, you should also update the registration anytime there are significant changes, such as transferring ownership or replacing the beacon with a new model.

If you prefer to update your EPIRB registration through mail, download and fill out the EPIRB registration form. Be sure to print or type the required information clearly. Then, mail it to the NOAA address provided on the form, but remember that only U.S. Postal Mail is accepted.

Closing Remarks

Anyone who takes safety at sea seriously knows they need an EPIRB, and correctly registering one is part of the process.

In the USA, you can quickly and easily register online. Ensure that you carefully enter the correct information, such as the 15-digit Unique Identification Number (UIN), which is critical for search and rescue authorities when the beacon is activated.

If you’re in Canada, Australia, The UK, or other countries, most offer online registration of Cospas Sarsat 406MHz Beacons as well. Here’s the global database of Beacon Registration Contact Information.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with your EPIRB or PLB model and its features. Advances in technology have made these devices more reliable and efficient than ever. However, it’s essential to maintain them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and keep your registration information current.

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.