SBM, Shore Based Maintenance, is defined with IMO MSC/Circ.1039 which indicates the terms for replacing the battery or the EPIRB itself.
The EPIRB is subject to the SBM at intervals decided by the local authorities, but not exceeding 5 years. In Italy the time interval is set at 4 years.
In practice after 4 years that the EPIRB has been put into service, it is necessary to replace the EPIRB or its battery, even if the expiry date of the battery stamped on the EPIRB is later.
With the circular prot. N.0009605 of 02/02/2010, the Ministry of Economic Development Department of Communications, also listening to the opinion of the General Command of the body of the Harbour Offices, clarifies that the IMO circulars MSC 1039 and MSC 1040 refer to the apparatus and not to the unit on which it is to be installed. Therefore, IMO circulars MSC 1039 and MSC 1040 are considered to be applicable regardless of the use of the equipment.
What to do
Many advise with the SBM to replace the EPIRB itself, instead of replacing the battery only.
In fact today the cost of a new EPIRB, is not very different from the cost required for battery replacement. In addition, the replacement of the EPIRB has the following benefits:
By replacing the EPIRB, you have the opportunity to buy a more technologically advanced model.
By replacing the EPIRB, the procedures to be carried out are reduced to a minimum.
If the battery is replaced, the components and housing are not new and these components may be close to their end of life.
Battery replacement can only be carried out by authorized centers that ensure maximum reliability in operations. Nevertheless, it is presumable that the standards and machines adopted by the manufacturer during the production phase are more sophisticated and more specific than those of the centres authorised to replace the batteries.
Disposal procedure in case of replacement
In case of replacement, the old EPIRB must be handed over to the dealer who will take care of the disposal procedure.
The dealer must immediately disable the EPIRB functions. The procedure consists of deactivating the batteries for which reference must be made to the EPIRB operating manual. The next step is to dispose of it in accordance with the RAAE directives (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment).