Domonic Venz, Maritime NZ’s Assistant Compliance Manager for Southern Region, who has an experience on commercial fishing, says float-free EPIRBs really do increase your chances of survival because they call for help when you can’t. It’s easy to get one on your boat, he says.

Undoubtedly, float-free EPIRBs will save lives. We all know the sea can be an unforgiving mistress: you’re a minuscule speck, a needle in the proverbial haystack. You’ll be glad that you installed that float-free beacon, which calls for help when you can’t.

Domonic Venz, stated in the Maritime NZ’s reminder.

Seafarers can still manually activate a float-free EPIRB if they find themselves in an emergency situation and have the time to do so.


A float-free auto-activating EPIRB can send a call for help within minutes of being submerged in water, without any action by the crew. Float-free EPIRBs offer significant safety advantages for crew and passengers on vessels in distress. From January 2021, float-free auto-activating EPIRBs will be mandatory in Australia, too.

Compulsory float-free EPIRBs are supported by the industry. The requirement was introduced following the deaths of 24 people over the last 11 years on inshore fishing boats that sank with manual EPIRBs on board that were unable to be deployed. The rule change was announced in February this year.

‘Outside enclosed waters’ refers to areas outside harbours, estuaries and other inland or sheltered waters.