The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has issued a plea to the public to dispose of EPIRB devices properly.
An EPIRB is an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. People use them both on water and land across Australia. They work by sending a signal with a GPS position to satellites and then are located locally via a radio signal. Bushwalkers, farmers, recreational water users and campers use them.
Yesterday the authority received a satellite detection of an unregistered EPIRB located 5 kilometres off Avoca Beach. A Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter with a specialist paramedic and retrieval doctor onboard was sent to beacon location. VMR Cottage Point was also tasked to the area.
The rescue helicopter could not locate the beacon over the water however was able to home into the beacon at the Kincumber Waste Transfer Facility. The crew landed at the tip and used handheld homing receivers to locate the beacon which was then destroyed.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said “Incidents like these are a waste of time and emergency services resources. Signals from incorrectly disposed distress beacons can also interfere with passing air traffic and take rescue resources away from real community protection.”
If you own an EPIRB or any other sort of emergency locator beacon that needs to be disposed of then please follow the instructions here. Disposal of Emergency Beacons