Personal Locator Beacons (PLB)
A PLB is not a replacement for an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), but is a useful addition to your safety kit. Understand the advantages, disadvantages and regulations.
What is a Personal Locator Beacon?
This information is current as of July 2010.
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are designed for personal use in both marine and land environments. PLBs operate on a frequency of 406Mhz and come in two basic types – those which provide an encoded (GPS) location and those which do not.
When a beacon is activated, a satellite system is used to calculate the beacon’s location.
PLBs are not a substitute for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and this information does not apply to EPIRBs.
- Locating a distress site is usually much faster if the beacon signal provides a GPS location.
- PLBs operate for a minimum of 24 hours once activated.
- Risk mitigation becomes substantially easier on a large commercial vessel with many crew members and limited ability to monitor crew members and confined spaces.
A PLB is not a replacement for an EPIRB, but is a useful adjunct.
PLBs are not mandatory for the master or passengers on recreational and small commercial vessels being operated on NSW waters.
Carrying a PLB does not satisfy the requirement to carry an EPIRB.