Emergency Procedures resources

Emergency Procedures

Distress beacons


Importance of registration

It is crucial that 406 MHz distress beacons are registered in recognised beacon registration databases that are accessible to SAR authorities at all times. The information contained in these databases concerning the beacon, its owner, and the vehicle/vessel on which the beacon is mounted is vital for deploying SAR resources effectively. The proper registration of a beacon could make the difference between life and death.

Registration is free and can result in a more efficient SAR effort. Digital 406 MHz distress beacons transmit a unique code identifying that particular beacon when it is activated.

A registered 406 MHz beacon will allow the AMSA’s RCC to access the registration database and find contact details; details of registered vessels, aircraft or vehicles; and details of up to three emergency contacts who can be contacted if necassary.

These emergency contacts could provide valuable information to the RCC to help with a rescue.

Beacon registration is valid for two years.

How to register

You can now register your beacon online on the AMSA website (see details below). You can renew your registration either online or by calling 1800 406 406.

Beacon owners have protected access to their accounts and are able to update their details any time, including changes to:

  • ownership and emergency contact details
  • boat, aircraft or vehicle details
  • registered address details, or
  • indicate the disposal of a beacon.

There is also a facility for owners to note trip itineraries, so when a beacon is activated the RCC will have access to your current movements and be better placed to organise the most suitable response.

This does not replace advising a responsible person of your trip details. As well as online access, you can also provide registration forms and changes to details to AMSA by facsimile, email or by post (see details below).

If you sell your distress beacon or it is lost, stolen or destroyed please notify AMSA. If AMSA is not notified and the new owner activates the beacon any rescue will be delayed as the last known registered owner will be contacted. Notification of sold, lost, stolen or destroyed distress beacons can be made online (see details below).

AMSA registration

Australian 406 Distress Beacon Register

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

GPO Box 2181, Canberra ACT 2601

t: 1800 406 406, (international) +61 (0)2 6279 5766

w: www.beacons.amsa.gov.au

f: (within Australia) 1800 406 329, (international) +61 (0)2 9332 6323

e: ausbeacon@amsa.gov.au


Distress beacons should only be used when there is a threat of grave and imminent danger. In the event of an emergency, communication should first be attempted with others close by using radios, phones and other signalling devices. Mobile phones can be used but should not be relied upon as they can be out of range, have low batteries or water-damage.

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