Macpac Personal Locator Beacon Hire

Personal Locator Beacon Hire at Macpac

Macpac and Oz Satellite Rentals have partnered to make Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) available for hire to Macpac customers across all Australian stores. Macpac will initiate the hire. OZ Satellite Rentals will take care of the monitoring and management of the hire.

Who is OZ Satellite Rentals

Founded in 2007 and based in Victoria, Oz Satellite Rentals provides an online rental service for Satellite Phones, GPS units, PLB’s, UHF Radios and Camper Trailers.

What is a PLB and how does it work?

A Personal Locator beacon (PLB) is a small electronic device that on activation broadcasts a signal to a satellite.

When your life is in danger and you can’t get hold of emergency services by phone or radio, activate your distress beacon. Your beacon can be activated from anywhere on the Earth’s surface, regardless of whether you were travelling by air, land or sea.

Where do you take it?

Due to Australia’s large landscape and changing weather a personal locator beacon (PLB) is an essential item for any person who is heading into the back-country bush walking, hiking, backpacking, 4wdriving and boating be it an afternoon trip or a multi-day trip. Beacons (also known as distress or emergency beacons) are the most effective way of letting people know that you need urgent help and where to find you.

Hire Charges

Period of hire is from day of pick up to day of return, and includes pick up and return date.

Hiring period


1 day $15
3 day $30
7 day $45
14 day $65
21 day $95
28 day $115
28+ days Combination of above rates

Macpac hire locations

Personal Locator Beacons can be hired from any of our Australian stores (subject to availability). Visit the Macpac store locator at to find your nearest store

Why are they a good idea?

Radios, GPS tracking systems, distress flares, whistles, lights and Mobile phones may be useful as a back-up, however, none of these devices are as effective as a PLB when you need help in distress or an emergency situation. There are many areas of Australia that still have no Mobile phone reception so the above options can’t be relied upon as a safe contact measure if things go wrong on any trip

When should you activate it?

It is important to remember that a PLB is a last resort, only to be turned on in life-threatening situations and when no other direct communication is available. Wherever possible, your emergency call should still be made by telephone, which allows two-way communications and results in a faster and more appropriate response. Some examples of life-threatening situations are if someone is:

  • Suspected of having a heart attack.
  • Unconscious.
  • Hurt badly from a fall.
  • Acting irrationally after a blow to the head and you suspect a brain injury.
  • Burned badly from a fuel stove explosion.
  • Bitten by a snake.
  • Lost and unable to recover.
  • Caught in a bushfire.
  • Serious injury where delay in self rescue may cause long term impairment. (e.g. stick in eye or broken leg)

whether it is life threatening in the context of the environment you are in. Someone who is potentially having a heart attack needs medical aid urgently. Even with good first aid, someone with a broken leg may go into shock or tear a blood vessel.
There is no need to try to be a hero if it puts other people’s lives at risk. If you have a genuine concern for someone’s welfare, and it is reasonable to think their life or serious injury is at stake then activate the PLB. If you feel that time is on your side then consider options such as splitting the party to send a message, but this also introduces risks, so take care.

When not to activate the PLB?

The emergency services provided in Australia are world class. When a PLB is activated the emergency services have very little information and assume the need is urgent and life threatening. Responding to a PLB may take resources away from other cases that are assumed to be less urgent.

In general, the following scenarios can be dealt with without activating a PLB:

  • If you are simply overdue from a walk.
  • Minor injuries or illness.
  • Running late for an aeroplane flight (yes it has happened, don’t do it yourself).

Frequently asked questions:

What if I accidently activate the PLB?

If the beacon is set off accidentally, Call Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) 1800 641 792 immediately. (These phone numbers are on the front of the yellow form) This will ensure a search and rescue operation is not launched needlessly. If you are unable to contact AMSA, call David Funston 0419 215 443 immediately. Switch off the beacon and make contact as soon as you can.

Can I travel by air with a PLB?

Yes you can. Personal Locator Beacons and other items containing lithium ion and lithium metal batteries, including power banks and mobile phone battery charging cases, must be carried in carryon baggage only. Please package and protect the PLB to prevent unintentional activation or damage and so that it won’t accidentally turn on during the flight.

Can I return my PLB to another Macpac store?

You’ll need to return your PLB to the store you hired it from, so the team can complete the paperwork

Can I pre-book the PLB hire?

Unfortunately no. However, we can place an available PLB on a 24 hour hold if you intend to pick it up the following day.

Safety Tips

  • Keep the PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) securely on your person, we suggest you place the PLB either in one of our custom made pouches attached to your belt or a zipped pocket. All our PLB’s for hire come with a heavy duty pouch, always carry the beacon where you can get to it in an emergency. The last thing you want is the beacon to be in something that you may be separated from.
  • Ensure everyone in the party knows where the beacon is and how to operate it.
  • Get familiar with the beacon before heading head out.
  • When possible, have more than one PLB in the group, especially if the group plans to split up during your travels.
  • Read the instruction information on the back of the yellow form and understand how to operate the PLB.

Other ways to help stay safe

  1. Plan your trip.
  2. Tell someone your plans.
  3. Be aware of the weather.
  4. Know your limits.
  5. Take sufficient supplies.

Need some inspiration on where to go? Visit our blog, the Log Book for adventure ideas.

Looking to buy a PLB? We also sell them.