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 prompt and effective search and rescue assistance to ships in distress. By complying with the correct radio protocols and procedures, ship station operators can ensure that these systems continue to work effectively for the benefit of all users.
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 that will keep channel 16 clear for someone else to use.
Alternatively, before you leave the wharf, arrange a sked on an appropriate working channel. When calling and working with other vessels—use channels 72, 73 or 77. When calling and working with a coast station—use channel 73.
Marine VHF radio operators 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.
- Sending a distress signal - Hook, Line and Sinker Tips
- Digital Selective Calling - Hook, Line and Sinker Tips
- The many uses of your VHF marine radio - Hook, Line and Sinker Tips
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 contact Genevieve Meadowes at email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: (03) 99636990.
The review of VHF marine radio certificates of proficiency for recreational boaters has now concluded. For further information about the review outcomes please see:
- Final outcomes paper - Word [.docx] or PDF formats
- Responses to 2nd round submissions - Word [.docx] or PDF formats
- Media release - MR 72/2012 - New mandatory qualification for recreational boaters using VHF marine radio channels.
- Australian Maritime College: Marine Radio Operators Handbook
- Bureau of Meteorology: Marine Weather Radio Channels
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority
- NSW Maritime
- Maritime Division, Qld Department of Transport
- Maritime Program, WA Department of Transport
- Marine Safety SA
- Marine and Safety Tasmania
- Marine Safety NT
- Transport Safety Victoria