Part A - General
Clasification Society 2023 - Version 9.38
Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - Resolutions - Assembly - IMO Resolution A.805(19) Performance Standards for Float-Free VHF Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (Adopted on 23 November 1995) - Annex - Recommendation on Performance Standards for Float-Free VHF Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons - Part A - General

Part A - General

  1 Introduction

 The VHF emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), in addition to meeting the requirements of the Radio Regulations, the relevant ITU-R Recommendations and the general requirements set out in Resolution A.694(17), should comply with the following performance standards.

  2 General

  2.1 The EPIRB should be capable of transmitting a VHF distress alert and of providing a locating signal by means of a 9 GHz radar transponder. These two functions may be provided in an integral unit. The radar transponder (SART) should comply with the Recommendation on Performance Standards for Survival Craft Radar Transponders for Use in Search and Rescue Operations (Resolution A.802(19)) and should be capable of indicating the location of a unit in distress on the assisting units' radars by means of a series of equally spaced dots as specified in resolution A.530(13).

  2.2 The EPIRB should be of an automatic float-free type. The equipment and the mounting and releasing arrangements should be reliable even under extreme conditions.

  2.3 The VHF EPIRB should:

  • .1 be capable of being easily activated by unskilled personnel;

  • .2 be fitted with adequate means to prevent inadvertent activation;

  • .3 be so designed that the electrical portions are watertight at a depth of 10 m for at least 5 min. Consideration should be given to a temperature variation of 45C during transitions from the mounted position to immersion. The harmful effects of a marine environment, condensation and water leakage should not affect the performance of the beacon;

  • .4 be automatically activated after floating free;

  • .5 be capable of manual activation and manual deactivation;

  • .6 be provided with means to indicate that signals are being emitted;

  • .7 be capable of floating upright in calm water, and have positive stability and sufficient buoyancy (preferably more than 20 N) in all sea conditions;

  • .8 be capable of being dropped into the water without damage from a height of 20m;

  • .9 be capable of being tested on board, without radiating an alerting signal, to determine that it is capable of operating properly;

  • .10 be of highly visible yellow/orange colour and be fitted with retroreflecting material;

  • .11 be equipped with a buoyant captive lanyard, suitable for use as a tether, which should be so arranged as to prevent its being trapped in the ship's structure when floating free;

  • .12 be provided with a low duty cycle light (0.75 cd), activated during darkness, to indicate the beacon's position for the survivors nearby and rescue units;

  • .13 not be unduly affected by seawater or oil; and

  • .14 be resistant to deterioration by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

  2.4 The battery should have sufficient capacity to operate the VHF EPIRB for a period of at least 48 h.

  2.5 The VHF EPIRB should be so designed as to operate under any of the following environmental conditions:

  • .1 ambient temperatures of -20C to +55C;

  • .2 icing;

  • .3 relative wind speeds up to 100 knots; and

  • .4 after stowage, at temperatures between -30C and +65C.

  2.6 The installed VHF EPIRB should:

  • .1 have local manual activation; remote activation may also be provided from the navigating bridge while the device is installed in the float-free mounting;

  • .2 be capable, while mounted on board, of operating properly over the ranges of shock and vibrations and other environmental conditions normally encountered above deck on seagoing vessels; and

  • .3 be designed to release and float free before reaching a depth of 4 m at a list or trim of any angle.

  3 Labelling

 In addition to the items specified in Resolution A.694(17) on general requirements, the following should be clearly indicated on the exterior of the equipment:

  • .1 brief operating instructions; and

  • .2 expiry date of the primary battery used.


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