About the need for a Marine Radio on your vessel

Marine Rescue is of the opinion that a marine radio is an essential item of safety equipment on all boats. A radio on board enables fast direct contact with marine rescue agencies and/or with other boats in your vicinity should assistance be required in the event of an accident or breakdown.

Marine Rescue NSW has a radio network along the entire NSW coastline providing 27MHz, VHF and MF/HF marine radio services the for recreational boating community. This volunteer network is manned by trained volunteers at licenced marine coast stations many of which conduct a listening watch 24/7.

Sue Lang on radio watch at the Point Clare Base

A marine radio is probably the single most important safety item on your boat; it is your first line of safety.

Marine radio provides three avenues of assistance – Weather and Hazard alerts, local safety Log-On and Log-Off, and offshore Voyage Tracking. This is in addition to maintaining a radio listening watch during the operational hours on every marine radio coast radio station along the NSW coast.


What about Mobile Phones?

Don’t bet your life or the safety of your boat and crew on a mobile phone as your first or only means of contact in an emergency. When you are at sea you cannot depend on mobile phone coverage. Remember, when you make a phone call you are talking to just one person. How often do mobile phone calls drop-out in the middle of a call. Most mobiles don’t work well when wet or damp. There are no mobile phone towers at sea.

When you call for help on your marine radio other marine radios will hear your call and there may be another vessel nearby that can help much faster. Do take your mobile with you, but use it as an extra method of communication, not the only method of communication.

The volunteers at a Marine Radio Shore Station are trained to assist. They know who to contact and can arrange help quickly. They will ‘need to know’ your Position (where are you), your Problem (what’s wrong) and how many People on board. They will also need a description of your boat and its registration number if available. If you have a GPS on board use that to provide your position.

Teach others on board (especially children) how to use the radio, so in an emergency you have some more help available. Keep track of your position. You may need to be able to describe where you are even in poor visibilty. If you don’t know where you are how can anyone find you?