EPIRB on Cruise Ship – Where Is it Located?

It’s important for the crew to know about EPIRB on cruise ships, including where it is located, but what exactly is it?

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Several safety features onboard your cruise ship are ready to go in an emergency. You may be unaware of many of these safety features, and others you may have heard of but don’t know what they are, including EPIRB.

If you’ve ever wondered what EPIRB on cruise ships means, you’ve come to the right place to find out. Keep reading to learn what EPIRB stands for, what it does, and where it’s located on your cruise ship.

What Is EPIRB on a Cruise Ship?

EPIRB stands for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. This distress beacon is used in the case of an emergency as an alerting system.

When an EPIRB is activated, it transmits an SOS message on the 406 MHz frequency. This message indicates to Search and Rescue that a ship or vessel is in trouble at sea.

EPIRB (Photo Credit: Ievgen Postovyk / Shutterstock)

It is usually reserved for times of grave or imminent danger, where immediate assistance is required. There are instances when an EPIRB is activated by accident, so authorities often first check to see if it wasn’t mistakenly activated. Once verified, Search and Rescue usually initiates a response within minutes. 

It is mandatory for every ship at sea to have at least one EPIRB. They must be registered with the National Search and Rescue relevant to the specific ship.

There is a unique identification number programmed into each one. This number is recorded when you register your EPIRB and used to identify your vessel in case of use.

Where Is EPIRB Located?

While it’s difficult to find information on where an EPIRB is on specific cruise ships, chances are you’ll eventually spot one on your cruise if you’re looking for it.

For the most part, when choosing where to put EPIRB on the cruise ship, ease of access in an emergency is top of mind for every cruise line.

EPIRB on a Ship
EPIRB on a Ship (Photo Credit: NickEyes / Shutterstock)

Read Also: Cruise Ship vs. Giant Wave – How Do the Ships Survive?

In general, the EPIRB is usually located at a clear location on the ship, where it can be easily sighted in case of emergency. Places where EPIRB devices are commonly put, include the ship’s top deck or the wing of the bridge. 

It is also crucial that the EPIRB is not put in a position where it might be trapped in case the ship sinks, or anywhere it might be subject to the impact of waves.


Can you bring your own EPIRB on a cruise ship?

For the most part, no, you cannot bring your own EPIRB on a cruise ship. Some cruise lines’ policies on prohibited items, including Carnival, outline this. This is due to safety concerns, as they may interfere with the ship’s other safety features.  However, on most ships, you can bring a PLB – personal locator beacon or distress signal, if you are worried about going overboard.

EPIRB on Cruise Ship – Wrap Up

While knowing where EPIRB is on a cruise ship may not be important information for you as a guest or passenger, knowing where it is may still provide peace of mind. For now, you can rest assured that every cruise ship has at least one EPIRB ready to go in case of any emergency.

Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma
I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers. Find out more about us here.


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