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EPIRBS

APPROVAL GUIDANCE for EMERGENCY POSITION INDICATING RADIO BEACONS

APPROVAL CATEGORY:  161.011

APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:  The U.S. Coast Guard does not issue type approvals for EPIRBs.  Approvals are issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after the design of the beacon is certified by the Coast Guard.  This is because FCC regulations only address the transmitter function of the Emergency Position Radio Indicating Beacons (EPIRBs).  The environmental and operational requirements are reviewed by the Coast Guard as explained below. Thus, a manufacturer that wants type approval for a beacon, must adhere to the following process:  The beacon must first be submitted to a COSPAS-SARSAT testing laboratory for testing to the required standards. Next, an application must be submitted to the Coast Guard with the test report and information described below.  The Coast Guard reviews the design of the beacon to ensure compliance with Appendix A of RTCM Recommended Standard for 406 MHz EPIRBS.  When the Coast Guard review is completed, a letter is issued to the manufacturer indicating compliance.  The beacon manufacturer may then submit the beacon to the FCC for type approval.

For ease of reference, the Coast Guard maintains a listing of FCC approved EPIRBs on our equipment data base.  Coast Guard type approval certificates are not issued.

Type approval requirements ( from 47 CFR 80.1061):

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions in paragraph (b) of this section, 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRBs must meet all the technical and performance standards contained in the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services document entitled RTCM Paper 77-02/SC110-STD, ``RTCM Recommended Standards for 406 MHz Satellite Emergency Position-Indicating Radiobeacons (EPIRBs),'' Version 2.1, dated June 20, 2002 (RTCM Recommended Standards). The RTCM Recommended Standards can be purchased from the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM), 1611 N. Kent St., Suite 605, Arlington VA 22209, USA. Telephone +1-703-527-2000; Telefax +1-703-351-9932; online orders can be placed at www.rtcm.org

(b) The 406.0-406.1 EPIRB must contain as an integral part a ``homing'' beacon operating only on 121.500 MHz that meets all the requirements described in the RTCM Recommended Standards document described in paragraph (a) of this section. The 121.500 MHz ``homing'' beacon must have a continuous duty cycle that may be interrupted during the transmission of the 406.0-406.1 MHz signal only. Additionally, at least 30 percent of the total power emitted during any transmission cycle must be contained within plus or minus 30 Hz of the carrier frequency.

(c) Prior to submitting a certification application for a 406.0-406.1 MHz radiobeacon, the radiobeacon must be certified by a test facility recognized by one of the COSPAS/SARSAT Partners that the equipment satisfies the design characteristics associated with the measurement methods described in Appendix B of the RTCM Recommended Standards. Additionally, the radiobeacon must be certified by a test facility recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard to certify that the equipment complies with the U.S. Coast Guard environmental and operational requirements associated with the test procedures described in Appendix A of the RTCM Recommended Standards. Information regarding the recognized test facilities may be obtained from Commandant (CG-ENG-4), U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Ave Jr. SE, Washington, DC 20593-7509.

(1) After a 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRB has been certified by the recognized test facilities the following information must be submitted in duplicate to the Commandant (CG-ENG-4), U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Ave Jr. SE, Washington, DC 20593-7509:

(i) The name of the manufacturer or grantee and model number of the EPIRB;
(ii) Copies of the certificate and test data obtained from the test facility recognized by a COPAS/SARSAT Partner showing that the radiobeacon complies with the COSPAS/SARSAT design characteristics associated with the measurement methods described in Appendix B of the RTCM Recommended Standards;
(iii) Copies of the test report and test data obtained from the test facility recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard showing that the radiobeacon complies with the U.S. Coast Guard environmental and operational characteristics associated with the measurement methods described in Appendix A of the RTCM Recommended Standards; and
(iv) Instruction manuals associated with the radiobeacon, description of the test characteristics of the radiobeacon including assembly drawings, electrical schematics, description of parts list, specifications of materials and the manufacturer's quality assurance program.

 (2) After reviewing the information described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section the U.S. Coast Guard will issue a letter stating whether the radiobeacon satisfies all RTCM Recommended Standards.

 (d) A certification application for a 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRB submitted to the FCC must also contain a copy of the U.S. Coast Guard letter that states the radiobeacon satisfies all RTCM Recommended Standards, a copy of the technical test data, and the instruction manual(s).

 (e) An identification code, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Program Manager for the 406.0-406.1 MHz COSPAS/SARSAT satellite system, must be programmed in each EPIRB unit to establish a unique identification for each EPIRB station. With each marketable EPIRB unit the manufacturer or grantee must include a postage pre-paid registration card printed with the EPIRB identification code addressed to:

SARSAT Beacon Registration
NOAA
NSOF, E/SPO53
1315 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910

The registration card must request the owner's name, address, telephone number, type of ship, alternate emergency contact and include the following statement:

``WARNING--failure to register this EPIRB with NOAA before installation could result in a monetary forfeiture being issued to the owner.''

(f) To enhance protection of life and property it is mandatory that each 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRB be registered with NOAA before installation and that information be kept up-to-date. Therefore, in addition to the identification plate or label requirements contained in Sec. 2.925, 2.926 and 2.1003 of this chapter, each 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRB must be provided on the outside with a clearly discernible permanent plate or label containing the following statement: ``The owner of this 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRB must register the NOAA identification code contained on this label with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) whose address is: SARSAT Beacon Registration, NOAA, NSOF E/SPO53, 1315 East West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD  20746.'' Vessel owners shall advise NOAA in writing upon change of vessel or EPIRB ownership, transfer of EPIRB to another vessel, or any other change in registration information. NOAA will provide registrants with proof of registration and change of registration postcards.

(g) For 406.0-406.1 MHz EPIRBs whose identification code can be changed after manufacture, the identification code shown on the plate or label must be easily replaceable using commonly available tools.

ACCEPTED INDEPENDENT LABORATORY SEARCH ENGINE:
Use this link to find the accepted independent laboratories for the equipment approval category listed above: http://cgmix.uscg.mil/eqlabs/

SUBMITTAL PACKAGE:  Please submit the follow information in the Submittal Package:

Please send the Submittal Package and other related information to the following address:

Commandant (CG-ENG-4)
U.S. Coast Guard Stop 7509
2703 Martin Luther King Ave Jr SE
Washington, DC 20593-7509

After the equipment has been reviewed by this office, a letter will be issued to the FCC recommending the unit for approval.

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Last Modified 10/31/2014