The 50th Anniversary of the world’s first EPIRB

From the world’s first EPIRB to a world leader in safety communication

17 March, 2020
Established in 1967, Jotron from the beginning has been a major contributor in the development and production of equipment for safety at sea. By 1970, Jotron had developed and installed the world’s first Distress Radio Beacon on board a ship. This EPIRB named Tron 1, was developed as an assignment for the Norwegian authorities. It was built not only to be activated manually, but also to have the possibility to be trigger automatically upon contact with water. The Tron 1 was officially certified by the authorities on the 28th of May, 1970.

After seeing how Jotron’s EPIRBs improved safety, both national and international maritime authorities required EPIRB’s to be installed on all merchant ships and fishing vessels. Through the years Jotron continued to develop several generations of the EPIRB, making improvements such as the mechanism that automatically released the transmitter from its container allowing it to float to the surface, in the event a vessel was sinking. This first float-free beacon designed and manufactured by Jotron was released in 1980, another important milestone for Jotron.
See video: Jotron EPIRBs – Automatic release functionality

Reliable communication systems that perform in any situation, any environment and under any condition

In the 1980s the start of the COSPAS-SARSAT program for satellite-based search and rescue was a major advancement for safety at sea. Jotron led the way in ensuring vessels were equipped to take advantage of this system, and in 1983, the first 30 406Mhz beacons manufactured by Jotron were ready. For the next three years, they would undergo constant testing. In 1987, the Tron 30S was released into the market as the world’s first 406MHz EPIRB. In July 1989, it earned the distinction of being  the first EPIRB in the world to be COSPAS-SARSAT certified.

After this achievement, Jotron continued to focus on technology and product development to enhance the safety and efficiency of distress systems. Jotron has always worked closely with national and international authorities to ensure that new technology is available to improve maritime safety. The Tron60 GPS National, developed specifically to meet the latest Australian regulations, is a testament to this commitment. Other equipment pioneered by Jotron such as radar transponders, AIS-SART and Voyage Data Recorder (black box) functionality, have in turn become international requirements. By always being at the forefront of such development, Jotron has maintained its position as a leader in improving safety at sea.

Enhancing safety for more than 50 years

The large product portfolio of high quality EPIRBs Jotron offers today comply with all international regulations meeting the demands of the commercial fishing, leisure, marine and offshore industries. Daily, seafarers all over the world count on the reliability of Jotron for their safety.

Photo (left to right): Tron 1, the world’s first EPIRB from 1970 and today’s Tron 60GPS with float-free and manual bracket.