Any EPIRB, as per IMO MSC 1040 is subject to an annual test where its operation is verified.
What is it and who carries out the service
For one year from the date of purchase (or SBM) and thereafter on an annual basis, the EPIRB is subject to an inspection to verify its proper functioning.
On professional boats the Annual Test is performed by the officials of the Regional Inspectorates of the Ministry of Economic Development - Communications.
For other vessels, the IMOMSC 1040 does not specifically describe the persons who will be able to provide the service of the Annual Test, but it understands companies prepared and formed (including by the manufacturer) for this service, which must be equipped with a beacon tester.
Documentation to be provided before the Annual Test
In order to proceed with the Annual Test you must provide the following documents:
Copy of the report of the previous Annual Test (provided that the one requested is not the first one)
Copy of the report of the previous SBM (only if the SBM has already been performed)
Is this necessary in the pleasure craft?
Some people argue that the Annual Test is not necessary and point out that never has any verification been carried out in this regard by the Italian authorities. They also argue that IMO circulars are adopted in the context of GMDSS systems, to which vessels and recreational craft are not subject.
The Ministry of Economic Development - Communications, with the Circular Prot. N.0009605 of 02/02/2010, clarifies instead that the EPIRB, for its own sake, is subject to IMO Circular MSC 1040 (as well as MSC 1039) regardless of which vessel is installed, both optionally and mandatorily.