creative commons
Good communications can make all the difference in an emergency at sea.

Keeping in touch on the water

Here are some good communication tips:

  • Carry two forms of communication aboard. (hand held or fixed VHF radio and cell phone in waterproof holder)

    If you own or use a VHF marine radio make sure you know the procedures for radio use. When calling on Channel 16, the emergency channel, Keep it clear-call and switch. Call on channel 16, then switch to an appropriate working channel to keep channel 16 clear for others to use. Or you can arrange an appropriate working channel before leaving the wharf.When calling and working with other vessels: use channels 72, 73 or 77. When calling and working with a coast station: use channel 73.
  • Flares are a good way of attracting attention. (check that your flares are current and not expired)
  • EPIRP'S (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon)  are easy to use and are relatively inexpensive. (Don't forget to register it with AMSA)
  • Leave a float plan - Let someone responsible know where you are going, when you will return, how many people are on board and a description of your boat.


More safe boating tips

  • Know the capabilities of your boat, making sure it is suitable for the conditions.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the area you are operating in. Seek out local knowledge.
  • Check the weather, tides and that the ramp you're  using is suitable for launching.
  • Ensure you have enough fuel for the trip (1/3 for the trip, 1/3 for the trip home, 1/3 for emergencies. Be aware if conditions worsen you will use more fuel returning.
  • Check you have the appropriate safety equipment for the size of your vessel and the area you're operating in.
  • Carry plenty of provisions including; water, food, warm clothing, sun block, boat hook, tool kit and a first aid kit.

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