Marine Rescue Radio operators often have to use the phonetic alphabet to ensure they have accurately heard and recorded a boat’s name, registration, or location.
The phonetic alphabet is used to stop confusion with letters that can sound like each other during radio communications. Many letters sound alike e.g. a B may sound like the letter V or vice-versa, the letter M may sound like N and the letter D may also sound like B.
A boat rego number BVD123N, if not read back phonetically may sound like BBB123M. ‘Bravo Victor Delta 123 November’ is clear and accurate.
The phonetic alphabet is generally a world standard, but is not compulsory in its application. The following is accepted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and is generally accepted as the standard for marine use.
A Alpha spoken as Al Fah N November spoken as No Vem Ber
B Bravo “ Brah Voh O Oscar “ Oss Cah
C Charlie “ Char Lee P Papa “ Pah Pah
D Delta “ Dell Tah Q Quebec “ Keh Beck
E Echo “ Eck Oh R Romeo “ Row Me Oh
F Foxtrot “ Foks Trot S Sierra “ See Air Rah
G Golf “ Golf T Tango “ Tang Go
H Hotel “ Hoh Tell U Uniform “ You Nee Form
I India “ In Dee Ah V Victor “ Vik Tah
J Juliett “ Jew Lee Ett W Whisky “ Wiss Key
K Kilo “ Key Loh X Xray “ Ecks Ray
L Lima “ Lee Mah Y Yankee “ Yang Key
M Mike “ Mike Z Zulu “ Zoo Loo