How do I register my EPIRB?
One important search and rescue device does NOT use a MMSI. This is the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB. The 406 MHz COSPAS-SARSAT system was implemented before MMSI use was mandated, so a different registration process had to be put in place. EPIRBs use unique registration numbers supplied by NOAA. Click here to transfer to the NOAA EPIRB registration web site. Note that EPIRB data are requested in the MMSI registration process. This helps the Coast Guard correlate distress data and further increases the reliability of GMDSS.
EPIRBs, PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons), and ELTs (Emergency Locating Transmitters) are different from MMSI devices because they operate in transmit-only mode.
The NOAA registration service will ask for your MMSI, while the MMSI registration serivce will ask for your EPIRB code. To resolve this Catch-22, we recommend that you go to the NOAA web site first and register your EPIRB, then complete the form on this web site to receive a MMSI. Ultimately, it is the mariner's responsibility to assure that both numbers are filed with the correct authorities, and we highly encourage that you cross-register your numbers on both databases.