Best EPIRBs in the Marine Industry 2023

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There are many different factors to consider when deciding which brand and model of EPIRB to buy. With the marine safety equipment market growing extensively, customers are now spoiled for choice! To keep things simple, we have boiled it down to a list of 6 key characteristics which we believe are the most important.

Top EPIRB Characteristics (in our view!)

1. User-replaceable battery

Having a user-replaceable battery means that customers would not need to pay extra $$$ to get their EPIRB battery changed once the battery life has expired! Simply swap the batteries yourself and you're good to go. Sadly, any commercial vessels regulated by IMO / SOLAS will need to undergo Shore Based Maintenance (SBM) via a service centre to change the batteries. 

2. Battery life

Given that batteries cost nearly 40-50% of the EPIRB itself (+ plus SBM if you are an IMO-regulated vessel), choosing an EPIRB with a longer battery expiration date can actually save you quite a lot of $$$ and reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO)

3. Dangerous goods

Based on customer feedback, this can be a real pain point! If you are blessed to be in a location where EPIRBs are readily available, perfect! However, if you have decided to dock at a relatively remote / under served location, be careful! You might not be able to order a replacement EPIRB to that country due to tightening IATA regulations regarding lithium metal batteries (which are the types of batteries inside EPIRBs)

4. Auto-release mechanism

Category I automatic release 'Float-free' EPIRBs will automatically activate via a hydrostatic release unit (HRU) and send a distress signal if a boat / vessel sinks. We recommend purchasing this safer option (instead of manual release EPIRBs) if you can afford it.

5. GPS

GPS EPIRBs enable rescue services to locate your position much more quickly than via EPIRBs without GPS. From our experience, most customers are migrating to GPS EPIRBs.

6. Price

Last but not least, the price of the product!

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the marine market's 3 leading brands & models of EPIRBs. The EPIRBs that we have analysed are:

Top EPIRB Brands & Models

1. Jotron Tron 60AIS EPIRB

2. McMurdo SmartFind E8 EPIRB

3. Ocean Signal E100 EPIRB 

Product User-replaceable
Battery Life Dangerous
Auto-Release GPS Capability Price (for
Jotron Tron 60AIS EPIRB No 10 years Non-DG Auto GPS SGD 1,200
McMurdo SmartFind E8 EPIRB No 10 years DG Auto Non-GPS SGD 963
Ocean Signal E100 EPIRB YES 5 years Non-DG Auto Non-GPS SGD 840


There is no clear winner in this analysis. It is worth bearing in mind that some people may place more importance on certain characteristics than others. Now that you have all this information in hand, you can make up your own mind! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us.

Background: Why have we written this post?

With the range of EPIRBs (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) in our online store, we accumulated lots of important details and knowledge about what makes an EPIRB attractive. From our research, we found lots of very useful articles out there on 'What is an EPIRB?' and 'Should I buy an EPIRB?'.

However, we did not find an article or review which presented a true side-by-side comparison of the different brands and models of EPIRBs available out there. So we decided to do it ourselves! We hope that the knowledge we share will empower our customers to consider all crucial factors before making any purchasing decisions. 

About BuyNav

BuyNav is the new online store for Marine Navigation and Communication Equipment. The store is managed by Allied eParts, a market-leading marine electronics distributor, with over 20 years of experience in the industry.

We stock a wide range of products including Marine Antennas, Marine Radios, Monitors, Acoustic Beacons, Marine Safety Equipment, Battery Chargers, Batteries, Magnetrons, Recording Charts and Pens & Accessories. Brands we carry include AC Antennas, Actisense, Entel, Crystal, e2v, Hattleland, JRC, McMurdo, Motorola, Novega, RM Young, Samyung, Sartech, Savox, Victron Energy and Yuasa.

Kindly note that the above analysis is our own opinion and based on our own research and analysis. Manufacturers have not verified our analysis of their product. 

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