Top 5 Best EPIRBs for Boaters (Complete Guide)

Having an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) on board your vessel is critical, especially if you plan on going offshore. EPIRBs are designed to transmit a radio signal when activated which is picked up by a SAR satellite and sent to a ground receiving station and then on to a control center. The signal source is identified through registration. From there, a Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) will attempt to contact the owner for more information or to dispatch rescue resources to the location of the signal. 

Understanding the different types of EPIRBs

What is a Category 1 EPIRB?

A Category 1 EPIRB is a float-free device that will automatically activate when submerged in water. Category 1 EPIRBS are required on vessels 36 feet or greater in length. 

Top Rated Category 1 EPIRBs

McMurdo G8 SmartFind

McMurdo G8 SmartFind - Retail: $799

The McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS is the world’s first EPIRB to include 406MHz, 121.5MHz, AIS and GNSS (better known as GPS) to accelerate search and rescue. The unique power of this beacon is in the flexibility and additional tracking capabilities long demanded by maritime customers. This will further reduce rescue times by combining the global location power of 406MHz with the localized rescue capacities of AIS.

 

ACR 2830 GlobalFix V4 GPS EPIRB

ACR 2830 GlobalFix V4 GPS EPIRB - Retail: $579.95

The GlobalFix™ V4 EPIRB is a marine distress beacon with multiple built-in redundancies to increase your chances of survival in an emergency situation. The internal GPS will pin-point your location, which is transmitted on the 406 MHz distress signal which in the absence of GPS coordinates, can be used to triangulate your position. The beacons 121.5 MHz homing signal will bring local search and rescue forces directly to your position and the EPIRBs LED strobe light will allow them to visually locate your position in low light environments.

What is a Category 2 EPIRB?

A Category 2 EPIRB requires manual activation and is allowed on vessels less than 36 feet in length and on vessels which have a builder’s certification that it is constructed with sufficient inherently buoyant material designed to keep the flooded vessel afloat. 

Top Rated Category 2 EPIRBs 

ACR 2831 GlobalFix V4 GPS

ACR 2831 GlobalFix V4 GPS EPIRB - Retail: $465.95

The GlobalFix™ V4 EPIRB is a marine distress beacon with multiple built-in redundancies to increase your chances of survival in an emergency situation. The internal GPS will pin-point your location, which is transmitted on the 406 MHz distress signal which in the absence of GPS coordinates, can be used to triangulate your position. 


The beacons 121.5 MHz homing signal will bring local search and rescue forces directly to your position and the EPIRBs LED strobe light will allow them to visually locate your position in low light environments. The GlobalFix V4 has two functional self-tests to monitor the beacons transmission, power and battery performance, as well as GPS acquisition. Pair these tests up with ACR's 406Link.com optional testing portal and receive satellite confirmation messages directly to your cellphone or email.


McMurdo G8 SmartFind Manual

McMurdo G8 SmartFind Manual - Retail: $699.00

The McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS is the world’s first EPIRB to include 406MHz, 121.5MHz, AIS and GNSS (better known as GPS) to accelerate search and rescue. The unique power of this beacon is in the flexibility and additional tracking capabilities long demanded by maritime customers. This will further reduce rescue times by combining the global location power of 406MHz with the localized rescue capacities of AIS. Features include MEOSAR Compatible for faster Alert detection Combined Global Alerting 406 MHz with localized recovery power of AIS Four search and rescue frequencies (406MHz, 121.5MHz, AIS and GNSS) Multiple GSS (GPS) receivers for faster more accurate location detection and more. 

Ocean Signal rescueME

Ocean Signal rescueME - Retail: $435.95

The rescueME EPIRB1 provides peace of mind with an impressive 10 year battery life. The world's most compact EPIRB can always be on hand, as its small size allows it to be easily retained within its quick release bracket or placed in an emergency grab-bag or life raft. A simple protective tab over the operating keys prevents inadvertent activation, yet allows for easy operation when required. The rescueME EPIRB1 also features two high brightness strobes to maximize visibility in low light conditions.


At Saltwater Pros, we believe every vessel who navigates offshore without a doubt should have an EPIRB which is why we’ve priced our EPIRBs as low as possible to ensure everyone who operates a vessel offshore can afford one. 


To learn more, or to view all of Saltwater Pros EPIRBs for Sale, click here