Marine Radio Communication & GPS for pleasure craft

Regulated marine radio communication equipment includes:

  • Marine VHF radios (with the new Digital Selective Calling (DSC) option on channel 70);
  • Marine MF/HF – DSC radios;
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs);
  • NAVTEX; and
  • Inmarsat

VHF Radio

They work together to form the international system known as the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). Pleasure craft do not have to carry GMDSS- compatible equipment, but it is a good idea. If you have it, connect it to a Global Positioning System receiver to make sure that your exact location is automatically sent in a digital distress alert in case of an emergency. This way, rescuers will immediately know exactly where you are and will arrive sooner.

Currently, all VHF marine radio operators must have a Restricted Operator Certificate(Maritime) – ROC(M). Industry Canada has delegated the ROC(M) to the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS).

**Ensure all marine radio equipment is check and functioning properly prior to departing

VHF Radio compares to cell phone

  • VHF transitions are received by all VHFs in range
  • 16 on the VHF is reserved for calling and emergency only
  • Cell phone only alert people on the other end of the call
  • Cell phone coverage is weak in certain areas
  • *16 on your cell phone can be used to communicate distress/need for It puts you through to the nearest Marine Communication & Traffic Center (CCG).

Types of emergency broadcast on a VHF radio:

Mayday – prefixes a distress message (means grave danger)

Pan Pan – prefixes an urgency message ( means you requires assistance but are not in immediate danger)

Securité – prefixes a safety message (weather warning, diving ops., buoy extinguished, etc.)

  • GPS systems are great for providing your position/location but you need to have a back up system ( marine charts)