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Registering a 406 MHz Beacon

It is crucial that 406 MHz distress beacons be registered in recognized beacon registration databases which will be accessible to search and rescue authorities at all times. The information contained in these databases concerning the beacon, its owner, and the vehicle/vessel on which the beacon is mounted is vital for the effective use of Search and Rescue resources. The proper registration of a beacon could make the difference between success and failure of a search and rescue mission [examples of how the registration information may be used to enable the proper SAR response].

Process for Registering a Beacon - If the Administration has Identified a Registration Point of Contact

Contact the representative in your country responsible for 406 MHz distress beacons to:

  • obtain guidance regarding national regulations concerning beacon coding and registration (it should be noted that there are many beacon message protocols which are compatible with the Cospas-Sarsat System; it is the responsibility of National Administrations to select the protocols for use within their jurisdiction); and

  • obtain the necessary forms to register the beacon.

Click here for a beacon registration contact information in various countries.

Process for Registering a Beacon in the Cospas-Sarsat International 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database (IBRD).  A usage guide may be downloaded here.

Your country may have elected to allow you to directly register your beacon in the International 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database (IBRD), available online and free of charge at

The IBRD became operational on the 16 January 2006. It provides capability to register 406 MHz distress beacons and has extensive online help capabilities.

Individual beacon owners may register their beacons and select their own passwords during the registration process if this use of the IBRD has been allowed by their national Administration.

You will need the following information to register a beacon:

  • Beacon Hexadecimal Identification (15 Hexadecimal characters)

  • Owner name and phone number

  • Emergency contact name and phone number

  • Vehicle type (selectable from a menu)

  • Vehicle name, MMSI, call sign or identification number (except for PLBs).

Cospas-Sarsat will only accept beacon registrations submitted via the online facilities of the IBRD. Beacon registrations submitted in paper format or via other communication facilities will not be accepted.

The Cospas-Sarsat Secretariat is available to answer questions from National Administrations concerning beacon coding and registration matters.

Administration User Accounts

The IBRD is freely available to users with no access to national registration facilities and to Administrations who wish to avail themselves of the facility to make their national beacon registration data more available to SAR services.

SAR Services and others wishing to query the IBRD will require passwords issued by the Cospas-Sarsat Secretariat. In order to acquire appropriate passwords to access the IBRD, National Administrations should:

  • designate a National IBRD Point of Contact, and

  • request that the Cospas-Sarsat Secretariat allocate user identifications and passwords to their National IBRD Point of Contact.

The password and user identification request must be provided in writing to the Database Administrator (i.e. the Cospas-Sarsat Secretariat) and must carry the signature of the Cospas-Sarsat/IMO/ICAO Representative of the Administration.  An IBRD User Account Request Form is available under the "Document Templates" section of our website by selecting IBRD Templates.