Distress Beacons

What to do if your beacon battery is about to expire

Safety, Distress Beacons

Monday 31 October, 2016

Beacon batteries last for approximately 5-10 years. Before your battery reaches its expiry date, you should consider the options to ensure that the beacon will transmit properly in an emergency situation.

You could buy a new beacon. If you do decide to buy a new beacon, make sure you dispose of your old one properly.

You can contact the beacon manufacturer for battery replacement and servicing options. If the beacon battery is replaced or serviced by a non-certified service centre then the beacon is non-compliant for carriage requirements and there is a risk the beacon may not function correctly.

Your beacon can only be serviced by the manufacturer who is identified on the side of the beacon.

Only the manufacturer will have the necessary equipment and technical information to carry out battery replacement or repairs and then confirm that the beacon continues to meet all applicable standards. It is important to note that the in-built test function featured on many beacons is not conclusive of the beacon’s ongoing compliance with all applicable standards. For example, battery replacement and other dismantling often affects the physical integrity of the case and seals protecting sensitive electronic components from damaging environmental conditions. For this reason, manufacturers are likely to deny liability for any beacons that have had maintained or repaired by someone other than the manufacturer

When a beacon has to be carried to comply with State, Territory or Commonwealth law, the law generally needs that the beacon meet a specified standard. This standard usually specifies that all maintenance and repairs must be carried out by the manufacturer. This means that if the battery is changed by anyone else other than the manufacturer, it no longer meets the required standard and therefore carriage of the beacon is not compliant with the law. An emergency is not the time to discover you’re your beacon does not meet applicable standards and does not satisfy applicable carriage laws. The risks of this happening will be substantially reduced if the beacon is maintained by the manufacturer.