Coast Guard Warns of Unapproved EPIRB Batteries

Stick to manufacturer sanctioned service, or your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) could stop working.

The Coast Guard reported that one of its districts has received at least three reports regarding unapproved replacements of 406 MHz EPIRB batteries by servicing companies that have no association with the EPIRB manufacturer. These unauthorized battery installations would likely result in a failure of this critical item of lifesaving equipment, and as such are not in compliance with the operational readiness requirements of 46 CFR, the Coast Guard stated.

The Coast Guard reported that every approved (i.e., accepted by the FCC) EPIRB is tested during its approval process using batteries specified by the manufacturer. Approved EPIRB’s come with a user’s manual, which describes battery maintenance and replacement procedures. In order for the EPIRB to remain within the conditions of its approval, the manufacturer’s instructions in the user’s manual must be adhered to.

To ensure that replacement batteries are of the same type with which the EPIRB was approved, and are correctly installed, manufacturers typically specify that battery replacements be done only by the manufacturer or a manufacturer approved shop.

Any modification or changes to an EPIRB must be made in accordance with the manufacturer. The use of alternative replacement parts or batteries is prohibited and may prevent the device from meeting lifesaving requirements, the Coast Guard stated.

Accordmg to the Coast Guard, EPIRB owners and servicing facilities must be aware of the potential for equipment failure stemming from any EPIRB modification or unauthorized battery replacement.

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