Marine Radios – Who must carry one? Licensing and certification.
Depending on your local state maritime laws, you may be required to carry a marine radio when travelling offshore (in Victorian waters, it is law beyond 2 nautical miles from land). There are 3 different types of marine radio:
- 27mHz : No license required to own or use. Short range communication only (line of sight)
- VHF : No license required to own, but proficiency certificate required to use outside emergency situations. Good short range communication and required by law to be carried on commercial boats.
- MF/HF : medium to long range communication, highly recommended for boats travelling more than 200 nautical miles offshore. An operators license is required to use an MF/HF radio and a license is required to own one. The boat is also issued with an official Australian marine radio callsign for use on the MH/HF radio.
When at sea, you must have your radio turned on and tuned to the distress frequency.
- 27mHz Transceivers: 27.88MHz (channel 88) with 27.86MHz as a supplementary
- VHF Transceivers: Channel 16 with channel 67 as a supplementary
- MF/HF transceivers:
- Distress and calling 4125, 6215, 8291KHz
- Navigational warning 8176KHz
Operators of VHF and MF/HF marine radios must hold a Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency . Courses for this qualification are coordinated by the Australian Maritime College, in Tasmania and volunteer invigilator (exam supervisor) around the country. Other boat occupants should be encouraged to have a working understanding of the radio for emergency use.
- Marine Radio Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (for VHF & MF/HF radio operations)- MROCP
- Marine Radio Operator's VHF Certificate of Proficiency (for VHF radio operations) - MROVCP
- Marine Satellite Communications Certificate of Endorsement - MSCCE (SATCOM)
A Mobile phone is no substitute!
Cruising Around the Coast?
• When you are planning an extended sailing trip, develop an Offshore Tracking Schedule with the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard who will track your journey from start to finish and hand over to the next Marine Rescue service if you leave Victorian waters. In Victoria contact Coast Guard Melbourne to set this up via Marine Radio or phone 03 9598 7003
• Use the marine radio Repeater Network to complete position reports at each stage of your trip (Schedules) as VHF only has ‘line of sight’ range.
• If you have not reported in at your scheduled time Search and Rescue authorities may begin searching for you.