top of page

Radio Operations

Why radios?
Communication at sea is vital and a marine radio is mandatory if travelling more than 4 nautical miles from shore. Mobile telephones, although useful as a backup communications system, cannot replace a marine radio.
Some reasons for this:
  • A radio call is broadcast to all nearby stations and listening vessels nearby can often provide a quicker response than vessels called from the shore. You can't broadcast an emergency call on a mobile telephone.

  • Marine radios can be tracked using direction finding equipment which rescue groups and Police generally have onboard.

  • Marine radio provides better coverage offshore as they are not reliant on mobile phone towers.

  • Many VHF radios now have the added advantage of Digital Selective Calling.

  • Battery life on mobile phones are limited


Channel Selection

When on the water you should always listen on the emergency channel for your radio type. Most radios have a dual-watch feature whereby both the emergency channel and working channel can be monitored at the same time. Remember that as boaties we have a responsibility to render assistance to others in trouble, which would be impossible if calls for help go unheard.

Did you know?

27 MHz marine radios do not perform as well as modern VHF marine radios and the monitored coverage by search and rescue organisations is significantly less than that of the VHF spectrum.

Given this, 27 MHz radios will be phased out 1 September 2028 and will no longer be compliant, leaving skippers to choose from a HF or VHF marine radio for their vessel.

Marine Rescue Cockburn offers training to equip boat owners with the skills and qualifications to operate marine VHF equipment. Read more here.
General Guidelines
  • Ensure the Volume and Squelch are adjusted correctly.

  • Only transmit if you have something important to say.

  • DO NOT allow children to play with radio

  • Always listen before you transmit.

  • Think of what you are going to say before you transmit.

  • Be brief and to the point.

  • Speak clearly.

  • Speak slowly.

  • Always use your CALLSIGN.

  • Always end transmissions with "CLEAR" or "OUT" if no reply is required.

  • Always end each transmission with "OVER" if a reply is required.

  • Use PHONETICS if possible.​


Logging on and off
Click the button below to find out more about logging on and off
find out more.png
bottom of page