If you own or use a marine VHF radio, make sure you know the procedures for radio use
National and international systems exist to provide search and rescue assistance to ships in distress. Using the correct radio protocols and procedures ensures these systems work effectively.
Use of VHF marine radio in Australia is authorised under the class licence.
Calling a coast station or ship station on channel 16
Keep it clear—call and switch. Call on channel 16, then switch to an appropriate working channel to keep channel 16 clear for others to use.
Or you can arrange an appropriate working channel before leaving the wharf.
When calling and working with other vessels:
- use channels 72, 73 or 77.
When calling and working with a coast station:
Fact sheet on VHF marine radio
The ACMA's fact sheet has key messages and tips for using your marine radio on the water.
Marine radio certificates of proficiency
All operators of marine radios (except 27MHz) are required to hold the appropriate qualification to operate the device.
Marine VHF radio operator's handbook
The Australian Maritime College produces a handbook that provides all the information needed to operate your VHF radio correctly:
Copies of the handbooks are available for viewing online or for purchase from the college. Please see the link below to access this information.
The ACMA has produced a range of educational videos for the boating community about how, and why it is important, to operate your VHF marine radio correctly.
Sticker and postcard
The ACMA has produced a sticker showing the VHF channels available to VHF marine radio as well as a postcard providing advice on the right use of VHF marine radio. If you would like a supply of these, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115.
Review of VHF marine radio certificates of proficiency
The review of VHF marine radio certificates of proficiency for recreational boaters has now concluded. For further information about the review outcomes please see:
Subscribe to the marine radio e-bulletin
Subscribe to our e-bulletin for regular updates on marine radio matters for MF/HF, VHF and 27 MHz radio operators. The e-bulletin focuses on VHF marine radio and the implementation of the Australian Waters Qualification (AWQ) for recreational boaters operating their radios within Australian Territorial Waters