Use of standard procedures avoids confusion and shortens transmitting time.
Unnecessary chatter can mask a weak call for help and one day that may be your call. Only the recommended phonetic alphabet should be used in bad conditions.
Radio operating procedure
Your two-way radio is your communication lifeline so it is important to remember that you:
- Do not transmit unnecessarily
- Listen before transmitting and avoid interfering with other stations
- Use one of the following calling distress
- 27MHz channel 88
- VHF channel 16
- HF frequencies 4125, 6215 and 8291KHz
- Maintain best contact channel or frequency and be guided by the coast or limited coast station when sending distress messages
- Arrange to switch to a working channel once you have made contact with the person you called for non-distress messages
- Always use your call sign or the name of the vessel for identification – use of given names or surnames is not permitted
- Keep messages brief and clear
- Be familiar with the type and syntax of emergency, urgency and safety messages
- State your position, the nature of the distress, the time afloat, the type of vessel and the number of people involved if making a distress call
- Stop transmitting when requested to do so by a coast station.
Certificate of Proficiency
A Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency is required to transmit using MF/HF or VHF radio. No certificate is required to operate 27MHz equipment.
Further information and a copy of the Marine Radio Operators Handbook can be obtained from the Australian Maritime College on (03) 6335 4869 or visit their website at amc.edu.au/omc.
In October 2015, ACMA approved the Australian Waters Qualification for VHF marine radio operators operating within Australian territorial waters (12NM).