How to Mount An EPIRB | Boating Magazine

How to Mount An EPIRB

Important things to consider when mounting an EPIRB on your boat.

Mounting An EPIRB

An EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) is your lifeline to rescue. A bad day can get worse if that beacon burns or gets trapped inside your sinking or overturned boat. You might also have to activate it manually if you’re adrift or you need medical help. While there are many aspects to EPIRB selection and operation, the mounting location is one detail that’s critical. Consider these things whether having your EPIRB installed or installing it yourself.

Category II brackets simply hold an EPIRB until it’s manually retrieved. Mount it near the helm (1) or along the evacuation route from belowdecks (2) but not above sources of fire like the engine room or galley. Avoid prolonged direct sun and frequent saltwater dousing, and don’t mount it where a swinging door might slam into the EPIRB or someone might use it as a step or handhold. Good locations include the underside of a hardtop (3), inside a door near the helm, just inside the companionway or near the ladder to the flying bridge.

Category I brackets automatically deploy the EPIRB they secure once they sink to between 4 feet and 13 feet underwater. They’re designed to withstand sun and sea. Boats often roll upside down before they sink, so avoid areas that might trap the beacon as it floats free. The best spot might be atop the hardtop (4) where it can be retrieved from the cockpit for manual activation. The foredeck (5) is good, but you may need to go forward in a sea to manually activate it, if required. In either case, mount it near the centerline of the boat where the bracket sinks deeper if the boat rolls. If you remove your beacon to prevent theft, spend $50 for an extra Category II bracket so it can’t transmit if it gets wet.

Quick Tip: An EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) is your lifeline to rescue. A bad day can get worse if that beacon burns or gets trapped inside your sinking or overturned boat. You might also have to activate it manually if you’re adrift or you need medical help. While there are many aspects to EPIRB selection and operation, the mounting location is one detail that’s critical. Consider these things whether having your EPIRB installed or installing it yourself.

Key Facts
Magnetic Care
Keep Category I and Category II brackets at least 3 feet from a compass or strong stereo speakers since the brackets include a magnetic switch.

Beware RADAR
Don’t mount EPIRBs in a radar’s transmitting beam.

Stay In Place
Remember: An EPIRB will transmit distress signals any time it is removed from its bracket and wet.

Just In Case
Most EPIRBs go back to their maker every five years for a full test and a fresh battery. Replace auto-deploying hydrostatic triggers in Category I brackets every two years right aboard the boat.