NOAA 03-102
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2003
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NOAA Public Affairs


Emergency beacon owners across the country now have a faster way to register and update their 406-megahertz distress beacons – over the Internet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently unveiled the next generation National 406 Megahertz Beacon Registration Database as a convenient, secure way for beacon owners to provide their names, phone numbers and other critical information directly over the Internet, instead of having to mail or fax it. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“We expect the online registration to save beacon owners a great deal of time, and allow them to play a more active role in a system that’s set up to rescue them if the situation arises,” said Ajay Mehta, manager of the NOAA Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) Program. “The online capability enables beacon owners to update and manage their registration. As this information changes over time, the new database will remain up-to-date for alert signals sent by the U.S. Mission Control Center to SAR agencies here in the U.S. and around the world.”

The NOAA SARSAT Program operates the U.S. Mission Control Center from the NOAA Satellite and Information Center in Suitland, Md. SARSAT is part of the international COSPAS-SARSAT satellite search and rescue system, which uses NOAA and Russian satellites to detect and locate distress signals sent from emergency beacons carried aboard ships, aircraft and by individuals carrying Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs).

Mehta added the new, web-based registration system will meet the goals of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, by significantly cutting the volume of paper registrations NOAA handles on a daily basis. By law, all owners of PLBs and other types of 406-megahertz beacons, called Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), used in the maritime industry and Emergency Locating Transmitters (ELTs), used in the aviation industry, must register the potential life-saving devices with NOAA.

Emergency beacon owners, who have already registered with NOAA in the past, can access their previously provided information and view it online. NOAA encourages beacon owners to update any information that may be outdated, such as new phone numbers and new emergency points of contact. Some owners, particularly companies or organizations who have a large number of beacons, also have the flexibility to update and manage their registration information via the Beacon Block User capability.

NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service is the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. It operates the nation’s environmental satellites, which are used for weather and ocean observation and forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications, including sea-surface temperature, fire detection and ozone monitoring. NOAA’s commercial licensing program draws on NOAA’s heritage in satellite operations and remote sensing applications.

The Satellite and Information Service also operates three data centers, which house global databases in climatology, oceanography, solid Earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics and paleoclimatology.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of America’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


Emergency Beacon owners can now register their 406 MHz beacon at:

Additional information on the new National 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database, or on the SARSAT system in general, can be found at: or by calling: 1-888-212-SAVE (7283), or