DISTRESS BEACONS NEED LOOKING AFTER
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has found that more than 50 per cent of the distress beacons activated in the Torres Strait region in the past 12 months were a result of accidental or unintentional activations. Oof the 37 beacon activations in the Torres Strait region, 19 were accidental activations. These types of beacon activations are generally a result of people incorrectly disposing of their old expired beacons in the rubbish tip. Many hours are spent each year searching for beacons in rubbish tips, said Port Douglas flotilla commander Juergen Starck (pictured). Search personnel tasked to look for beacons in tips are then unavailable to respond to real emergency situations. “We had to buy a special searching device so that we can assist with EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) location,” Mr Starck said. You can hand in your old expired beacons at Maritime Safety Queensland or pass them on to the Queensland Police Service. Expired units can also be return to retailers such as Battery World – no charge for single units. The Coast Guard cannot accept expired units as it will be charged a fee for bulk returns. It is also important that you advise AMSA when you dispose of your old beacon so this can be recorded on your registration account. Remember beacons can activate when they are not stored correctly within your vessel.