EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), are tracking transmitters which aid in the detection and location of vessels and people in distress. Strictly, they are radiobeacons that interface with worldwide offered service of Cospas-Sarsat, the international satellite system for search and rescue (SAR). A distress signal is sent when the EPIRB is manually activated, or it can be automatically activated upon immersion,.The signals are monitored worldwide and the location of the distress is detected by non-geostationary satellites.
The basic purpose of a distress radiobeacon is to help rescuers find survivors within the so-called "golden day" (the first 24 hours following a traumatic event) during which the majority of survivors can usually be saved.
The owner and operator of every vessel of South African Nationality must ensure that every EPIRB carried on the vessel must be registered with the MRCC and that the EPIRB particulars are correct.