Differences Between EPIRBs and PLBs

Radios & Transmitters

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is similar to an Emergency Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) in many ways but there are differences. As the name suggests, a PLB is designed to be kept on the ‘person’ while an EPIRB is registered to a watercraft or vehicle. A PLB can be used on land and water and is an ideal size to be carried by mariners, bush-walkers, 4x4 and aviators. A PLB cannot take the place of an EPIRB when you’re in the ocean.

An EPIRB alerts search and rescue services of a watercraft in trouble by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue centre. Some EPIRBs have a built-in GPS to enable rescue services to pinpoint the location to within plus or minus 50 metres. EPIRBs can be operated automatically or manually after a problem. It is a requirement for all boats to be fitted with an EPIRB if they go further than two nautical miles from the mainland shore or more than 400 metres from an island located more than two nautical miles from the mainland.

Featuring the GME Personal Locator Beacon

The popularity of PLBs has risen in recent years as people have come to appreciate that a few hundred dollars buys them something as powerful as the MT410G Emergency Personal Locator Beacon and the peace of mind it provides.

With a seven-year battery life and warranty, the MT410G Emergency PLB gives you integrated GPS-manual activation and a list of features including:

Product Features:

  • Fitted with NON-HAZMAT long life batteries
  • Featherweight, compact and robust construction
  • 50 search channel GPS receiver
  • Digital 406 MHz, 5 Watt transmission plus 121.5 MHz homing signal
  • Seven-year battery life
  • COSPAS-SARSAT worldwide operation
  • Seven-year warranty
  • National and International approvals
  • Typical accuracy (with GPS) <100m
  • Sealed waterproof design (exceeds IP67)
  • High visibility flashing light
  • Retention strap and fully buoyant design reduces risk of loss
  • Unique patented technology with no warm-up period
  • Complete with protective carry pouch


We have a wide range of Marine Radio & Audio Systems to choose from.

Browse our Range of Marine Radio Audio & Systems or Call us on 1300 308 161


Featuring the Spot 3 Messenger

Another type of PLB is the Spot 3 Messenger, a compact hand-held personal tracking device that works via satellite technology. The unit is ideal for anyone that is out of mobile phone range to let family or friends know that you are ok by checking in. If an emergency does occur, you can press a button and send your GPS coordinates to emergency responders to alert authorities. A Spot annual subscription plan is needed to keep the device active. The Spot 3 Messenger features include:

  • Alarm Buttons: OK (sked), Custom, Help, SOS, Tracking
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Battery powered - 4 AAA 'off the shelf' Lithium Batteries
  • Track your journey to relive your adventure later
  • Share your adventure with online maps
  • Send GPS coordinates to Emergency Responders in the event of an emergency
  • Line power with a 5v USB connection. (SPOT Gen 3 is not waterproof when line powered)
  • Enhanced Tracking plan options
  • Includes strap, USB cable, quick reference guide, carabiner and batteries

Featuring the EPIRB 406MHz Man. Activation + GPS

The GME MT600G EPIRB is ideal to be used on a commercial or recreational craft. Its compact, lightweight and easy to install on a quick-release mounting bracket. The unit is easy to test by removing from its bracket, pressing the test button and the full beacon is tested and confirmed. The 66-channel GPS facility can also be tested with a Satellite Acquisition Test with GPS position fix. A top mounted Quad helix antenna makes locating the beacon fast and accurate.

The MT600G boasts a ten-year battery life and delivers great value for peace of mind boating. Certified by COSPAS SARSAT for worldwide usage, it's a popular choice for boat owners in many countries.

The MT600G features include:

  • Compact, lightweight, easy-to-mount design
  • Internationally approved, worldwide operation
  • Integrated 66 channel GPS receiver with top mounted Quad helix antenna for better than 100m accuracy
  • Meets or exceeds the applicable requirements of AS/NZ 4280.1:2003 standards C/S T.001/007
  • 121.5MHz VHF homing beacon to assist in guiding rescuers to your precise location
  • Includes quick release mounting bracket
  • Zero warm-up digital technology
  • Antenna deploys automatically when the unit is removed from the bracket
  • Ultra high-performance solid state strobe
  • 10-year battery life
  • Quick and easy test facility with audio/visual indication

A PLB offers the same peace of mind mariners have enjoyed with EPIRBs. In a country as large as Australia where it is not possible to have all-over phone coverage, a PLB allows you to check in with family and friends or notify emergency services if something should go wrong.


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