After a short period of reflection I figured this was a quick answer and decided not to wait until next month to answer the following questions
I think this is a fantastic idea. All boaters, new and experienced, should continue to “sharpen the saw” when it comes to boating knowledge and this is a great reminder to many. I tend to forget things I learned many years ago, and an information topic like this helps jog my memory and helps remind me of things I should know off-hand or need to brush-up on before going out on the water.
A topic I would like to see is VHF radio, covering areas like:
- How to properly identify yourself; boat number, nickname, etc?
- How to properly conduct a radio check?
- What is permissible on channel 16, and how channel 16 is used?
- What are the other channels for?
- Communication with commercial traffic on the Columbia; are there any norms to follow?
- What to do if you hear a distress call?
- Other important things?
I know this information is available in books, etc., but a Safety Topic discussion authored the USCG and links to additional information would be a handy resource.
I found a website that can answer every one of your questions and it is better than me rambling on. It is the Coast Guard Navigation Centers telecommunications Division site, great information and great reference for other navigation information. http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/boater.htm
is procedures and how to information http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/watch.htm
is the actual frequencies copy (below)
Best advice I can give you is when calling on channel 16, once communications have been established, move off to one of the non-commercial frequencies. On the Columbia the ships and Tugs monitor channel 13. The commercial traffic in Puget sound will also monitor channel 13. For more information on the VTS regulations in Puget Sound go to www.uscg.mil/d13/units/vts/psvts.html
If you want a radio check you can call the Coast Guard, or anyone else fro thst matter, on 16 and immediately switch to another agreed upon frequency to complete the check. The big thing is that we want to keep channel 16 as clear and open as possible in order to hear a distress call
U.S. VHF Marine Radio Channels and Frequencies
w/ WX Channels
Off shore Power Boat Races: 156.6250
Channel Number Ship TransmitMHz Ship ReceiveMHz Use
01A 156.050 156.050 Port Operations and Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
05A 156.250 156.250 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
06 156.300 156.300 Intership Safety
07A 156.350 156.350 Commercial
08 156.400 156.400 Commercial (Intership only)
09 156.450 156.450 Boater Calling. Commercial and Non-Commercial.
10 156.500 156.500 Commercial
11 156.550 156.550 Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
12 156.600 156.600 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
13 156.650 156.650 Intership Navigation Safety (Bridge-to-bridge). Ships >20m length maintain a listening watch on this channel in US waters.
14 156.700 156.700 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
15 -- 156.750 Environmental (Receive only). Used by Class C EPIRBs.
16 156.800 156.800 International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.
17 156.850 156.850 State Control
18A 156.900 156.900 Commercial
19A 156.950 156.950 Commercial
20 157.000 161.600 Port Operations (duplex)
20A 157.000 157.000 Port Operations
21A 157.050 157.050 U.S. Coast Guard only
22A 157.100 157.100 Coast Guard Liaison and Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts. Broadcasts announced on channel 16.
23A 157.150 157.150 U.S. Coast Guard only
24 157.200 161.800 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
25 157.250 161.850 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
26 157.300 161.900 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
27 157.350 161.950 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
28 157.400 162.000 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
63A 156.175 156.175 Port Operations and Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
65A 156.275 156.275 Port Operations
66A 156.325 156.325 Port Operations
67 156.375 156.375 Commercial. Used for Bridge-to-bridge communications in lower Mississippi River. Intership only.
68 156.425 156.425 Non-Commercial
69 156.475 156.475 Non-Commercial
70 156.525 156.525 Digital Selective Calling (voice communications not allowed)
71 156.575 156.575 Non-Commercial
72 156.625 156.625 Non-Commercial (Intership only)
73 156.675 156.675 Port Operations
74 156.725 156.725 Port Operations
77 156.875 156.875 Port Operations (Intership only)
78A 156.925 156.925 Non-Commercial
79A 156.975 156.975 Commercial. Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
80A 157.025 157.025 Commercial. Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
81A 157.075 157.075 U.S. Government only - Environmental protection operations.
82A 157.125 157.125 U.S. Government only
83A 157.175 157.175 U.S. Coast Guard only
84 157.225 161.825 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
85 157.275 161.875 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
86 157.325 161.925 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
87 157.375 161.975 Automatic Identification System duplex repeater
AIS 1 161.975 161.975 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
AIS 2 162.025 162.025 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
88 157.425 162.025 Public Correspondence only near Canadian border.
88A 157.425 157.425 Commercial, Intership only.