Westpac Marine Services, Inc.

How much is that EPIRB worth?

Say you are looking for an EPIRB and you are on a budget. If you are like me your first thought is EBay or Craigslist. It seems like it is your lucky day, someone has listed an EPIRB and the price seems to be really good. The question is what it is really worth.

EPIRB's like many electronic devices have come down in price as manufacturers find ways to build them more efficiently. When I first started selling 406 EPIRB's a Category I unit was around $2500.00, now a comparable unit sells for under $600.00. Additionally today you can get a model that transmits its location by using internal GPS. This adds about $150.00 to the cost but provides a much more accurate fix on your location.

What has not gone down is the cost of replacement batteries for older models. Many are over $300.00 and some actually cost more than a new unit. If you find a Category II unit on EBay for $200.00 and it needs a new $300.00 battery you will be paying more than the cost of a new unit.

Finally you have to look at the age of the EPIRB. The majority of the manufacturers stop supporting their models somewhere between 12 and 15 years. At that point you can’t even get a replacement battery, antenna or any other part that might be necessary.

Experience tells me that you are better served with a new EPIRB due to cost, features and reliability.

revised 1/2021