Emergency Beacons

| NOAA SARSAT | Cospas-Sarsat |

Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking: SARSATU.S. SARST logo

 SARSAT overview graphic 
 picture of an emergency beacon Is your emergency beacon registered?    
To enhance protection of life and property, it is mandatory that emergency beacons be registered with NOAA before installation and that information be kept up to date. 
Click here for easy online beacon registration.
U.S. Beacon Registration Database System

racing stripe line

 

SARSAT Information:

 

Training Presentations:

Collapse All Expand All
The 8th annual SAR Controllers training conference was held at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD from 29 February to 3 March 2016. The training is designed to educate end users of SARSAT alert data on the SARSAT system enabling improved coordination of SARSAT distress alerts. The training also provides an opportunity for Rescue Coordination Center watch standers to interact with their domestic and foreign colleagues to exchange best practices and build relationships. This training was also used by the US SARSAT program (USCG, USAF, NOAA, and NASA) to elicit feedback from RCC customers with respect to improvements to the system and the SARSAT product provided to RCC’s.  

29 Students attended this year’s training, including representation from: LANTAREA, PACAREA/D11, D-1, D-5, D-7, D-8, D-9, D-13, D-14, D-17, Sector Guam, Sector San Juan, US Air Force RCC, NOAA SARSAT program, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Panama; and El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; represented by COCESNA. NOAA SARSAT program, USCG Office of SAR, Air Force RCC, Dominican Republic, COSENA, and Trinidad and Tobago provided presentations on various SARSAT topics. The main focus of the training was the Cospas Sarsat system transition to the next generation of satellite distress tracking, MEOSAR. Student had the opportunity to interact with individuals from all levels of the SARSAT system gaining perceptive on the current state and future enhancement of the system.

racing stripe line

The 7th annual SAR Controllers training conference was held at the NASA Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, MD from 2-5 March 2015. The training is designed to educate end users of SARSAT alert data on the SARSAT system enabling improved coordination of SARSAT distress alerts. The training also provides an opportunity for Rescue Coordination Center watch standers to interact with their domestic and foreign colleagues to exchange best practices and build relationships. This training was also used by the US SARSAT program (USCG, USAF, NOAA, and NASA) to elicit feedback from RCC customers with respect to improvements to the system and the SARSAT product provided to RCC’s.  

40 Students attended this year’s training, including representation from: LANTAREA, PACAREA, D-1, D-5, D-7, D-8, D-9, D-11, D-13, D-14, D-17, Sector Guam, Sector San Juan, AKRCC, NOAA SARSAT program, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Curacao; represented by the Dutch Coast Guard; and Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; represented by COCESNA. NOAA SARSAT program, USCG Office of SAR, and the USAF AKRCC provided training which covered the following area: An overview of the SARSAT system; EPIRB false alerts; Communications and data distribution within the United States and Internationally; US SARSAT data base use and entry; SARSAT best practices; Corrupt beacon information; SAROPS training lab/demo; The future of the SARSAT system including beacon modernization; and SARSAT case studies. Student had the opportunity to interact with individuals from all levels of the SARSAT system gaining perceptive on the current state and future enhancement of the system.

racing stripe line

The sixth annual SAR Controllers training conference was held at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD from 25-27 February 2014. The training is designed to educate end users of SARSAT alert data on the SARSAT system enabling improved coordination of SARSAT distress alerts. The training also provides an opportunity for Rescue Coordination Center watch standers to interact with their domestic and foreign colleagues to exchange best practices and build relationships. This training was also used by the US SARSAT program (USCG, USAF, NOAA, and NASA) to elicit feedback from RCC customers with respect to improvements to the system and the SARSAT product provided to RCC’s. 

43 Students attended this year’s training, including representation from: LANTAREA, PACAREA, D-1, D-5, D-7, D-8, D-9, D-11, D-13, D-14, D-17, Sector Guam, Sector San Juan, AFRCC, AKRCC, NOAA SARSAT program, Trinidad and Tabago, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Curacao; represented by the Dutch Coast Guard; and Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; represented by COCESNA. NOAA SARSAT program, USCG Office of SAR, and the USAF provided training which covered the following area: An overview of the SARSAT system; EPIRB false alerts; Communications and data distribution within the United States and Internationally; US SARSAT data base use and entry; SARSAT best practices; Corrupt beacon information; SAROPS training lab/demo; The future of the SARSAT system including beacon modernization; and SARSAT case studies. Student had the opportunity to tour the USMC and interact with individuals from all levels of the SARSAT system gaining perceptive on the current state and future enhancement of the system.

racing stripe line

The Fifth annual SAR Controllers training conference was held at the Computer Science Corporation (CSC) Lahnam, MD Maritime Training Center (MTC). The training was organized to help ensure the success of field units that receive SARSAT alerts. The training was designed to make RCC watch officers more knowledgeable on the SARSAT system and more effective in prosecuting SARSAT alerts. Students also had a chance to interact with a number of foreign RCC watch personnel and exchange best practices and build relationships. This training was also used by the US SARSAT program (USCG, USAF, NOAA, and NASA) to elicit feedback from RCC customers with respect to improvements to the system and the SARSAT product provided to RCC’s. 

27 Students attended this year’s training, including representation from: LANTAREA, D-1, D-5, D-7, D-8, D-9, PAC/D-11, D-14, D-17, AKRCC, NOAA SARSAT program, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Curacao; represented by the Dutch Coast Guard, Panama; and Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; represented by COCESNA. 13 instructors from NOAA SARSAT program, USCG Office of SAR, and the USAF provided training which covered the following area: An overview of the SARSAT system; EPIRB false alerts; Communications and data distribution within the United States and Internationally; US SARSAT data base use and entry; SARSAT best practices; Corrupt beacon information; SAROPS training lab/demo; The future of the SARSAT system including beacon modernization; and SARSAT case studies. Student had the opportunity to tour the USMCC and ask questions of the controller on watch, and interact daily with the people that run the system and make the decisions which will impact the future of the SARSAT system.

racing stripe line

The fourth annual Controller's SARSAT Conference was hosted by the Office of Search and Rescue at NOAA’s U.S. Mission Control Center (USMCC) in Suitland, MD, from 14-16 Feb 2012. 

Approximately 35 people attended the conference from Coast Guard Command Centers at D1, D5, D7, D8, D9, D13, D14, D17, LantArea, PacArea, Sector San Juan, Sector Guam; D7 (dpi) Fishing Vessel Safety, Air Force RCC, Alaska RCC, Bermuda RCC,  NASA, NOAA SARSAT Program personnel, and several USMCC controllers.

The purpose of this conference was to focus on search and rescue satellite-aided tracking (SARSAT) system topics that affect Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) controllers.

racing stripe line

The fourth annual Controller's SARSAT Conference was hosted by the Office of Search and Rescue at NOAA’s U.S. Mission Control Center (USMCC) in Suitland, MD, from 15-17 Feb 2011. 

Approximately 35 people attended the conference from Coast Guard Command Centers at D1, D5, D7, D8, D9, D13, D14, D17, LantArea, PacArea, Sector San Juan, Sector Guam; D7 (dpi) Fishing Vessel Safety, Air Force RCC, Alaska RCC, Bermuda RCC,  NASA, NOAA SARSAT Program personnel, and several USMCC controllers.

The purpose of this conference was to focus on search and rescue satellite-aided tracking (SARSAT) system topics that affect Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) controllers.

racing stripe line

The third annual Controller's SARSAT Conference was hosted by the Office of Search and Rescue at NOAA’s U.S. Mission Control Center (USMCC) in Suitland, MD, from 23-25 Feb 2010. 

Approximately 40 people attended the conference from Coast Guard Command Centers at D1, D7, D8, D13, D14, D17, LantArea, PacArea, Sector San Juan, Sector Delaware Bay, Sector San Francisco, and Sector Charleston; D7 (dpi) Fishing Vessel Safety, SAR School, Air Force RCC, Alaska RCC, OSD/DPMO, Bermuda RCC, RCC Curacao, UKMCC, C2Cen, CG R&D Center, NASA, NOAA SARSAT Program personnel, and several USMCC controllers.

The purpose of this conference was to focus on search and rescue satellite-aided tracking (SARSAT) system topics that affect Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) controllers.

racing stripe line

Properly Dispose of Old Beacons To Prevent False Alerts
Discarded radio beacon triggers false alarm... [read more]

FCC Enforcement Advisory (DA 13-239, 20 Feb 2013)
The Proper Use of Registration of Emergency Locator Beacons...[read more]

A Survivor's Story
A testimonial from Rudy Snel on surviving the sinking of Sean Seamour II, thanks to an EPIRB [play audio]

racing stripe line

Beacon Types 
There are three types of beacons used to transmit distress signals:   

EPIRB: Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon for maritime use

ELT: Emergency Locator Transmitter for aviation use

PLB: Personal Locator Beacon for land-based applications

racing stripe line

Cospas-Sarsat type approval is conducted with manufacturer installed battery packs in a beacon. Therefore, the US SARSAT program recommends that beacon owners always use manufacturer approved battery packs which have been tested as a part of the original Cospas-Sarsat beacon approval and known to meet operational requirements. Beacon owners should consult their beacon manufacturer or one of their approved service centers to obtain proper battery replacements. Certain aftermarket replacement battery packs that are not approved by the beacon manufacturer have been shown to be of inferior quality and may pose a safety risk and/or the failure of the beacon to function properly in a distress situation.

racing stripe line

International Cospas-Sarsat Program Website

Cospas-Sarsat logo

  • International Cospas-Sarsat Program Agreement
    In fostering international cooperation for search and rescue, the purpose of this Agreement is to: (a) assure the long term operation of the System; (b) provide distress alert and location data from the System to the international community in support of SAR operations; (c) support, by providing these distress alert and location data, the objectives of the IMO and the ICAO, concerning search and rescue; and (d) define the means by which the Parties shall coordinate the management of the System and cooperate with other national authorities and relevant international organizations in the operation and coordination of the System. Signed July 1, 1988

  • Interagency Memorandum of Agreement for the U.S. Satellite-Aided Search and Rescue System
    This memorandum of agreement (sometimes referred to as the 'SARSAT MOA') went into effect on 25Feb2010, after being signed by the U.S. interagency SARSAT partners--NOAA, USAF, NASA, and USCG. This MOA provides a legal and policy framework and Party commitments to continue supporting the existing operational SARSAT and international Cospas-Sarsat programs, and to develop a Medium-altitude Earth Orbiting SAR (MEOSAR) system called the Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS).
    This MOA supersedes the following two agreements:
        MOU among the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration regarding U.S. Responsibilities for the Cospas-Sarsat System, 1998 as revised and amended; and the
        MOA Regarding the Development and Demonstration of the Global Positioning System-Based Distress Alerting Satellite System, 2003.

racing stripe line