The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have launched a new online Beacon Registry self-service portal which they say will make it easier and more convenient than ever for emergency beacon users to securely provide and update their ownership information.
As part of the MCA's ongoing commitment to improving its digital offering and services, have launched a 24-7 online registration platform at GOV.UK meaning customers are no longer required to submit beacon ownership documentation in paper form or via post.
Now, owners with single or multiple beacons can manage their own data such as email addresses, beacon Hex Id, telephone numbers and beacon uses (land, sea and air), in a secure and streamlined digital environment.
Emergency 406 MHz beacons send a ‘distress signal’ including your location, via satellites to alert search and rescue authorities that you could be in difficulty. Types of beacon include Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) for vessels, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) attached to people, and Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) for aircraft.
If a registered beacon is activated in an emergency at sea, on land, or in the air, HM Coastguard, the search and rescue arm of the MCA, and emergency service partners, have reliable information at their fingertips, which is crucial in helping them to locate and rescue those in distress.
New beacon owners are advised to create an online account and register at the earliest opportunity.
Existing customers must confirm their beacon details on the new service by logging in using the email with which they registered their beacon. If this registration occurred within the last eight years, the Beacon Registry will be in contact by email or letter with advice as to how to do this and how to manage their data in the future.
More recent beacon registrations and amendments may not yet be listed on the new self-service platform. If this is the case, those wishing to register their new beacon can set up an account and register their beacon on the new portal. In the interim period, whilst existing beacon owners confirm their details on the new digital system, search and rescue responders will continue to have access to all information previously registered and held by the Beacon Registry.
Peter Davies, Maritime Commander for HM Coastguard said: "Right from receiving automated confirmation of registration, the Beacon Registry self-service portal is simple to use and importantly a secure environment for new customers, those who have already registered and manufacturers of beacons. “The effectiveness of Emergency 406 MHz beacons, whether it be an EPIRB, PLB or ELT, depends on the correct information being available to search and rescue authorities, which can ultimately help save more lives in emergency situations."
You can register your UK 406 MHz Beacon now on the GOV.UK website.
Find out more about using 406 MHz EPIRB and / or PLBs on the RYA Safety hub.