Your radio station call sign is "VX 4139" and is aboard a boat called
"Tugboat Annie". (If you do not have a call sign, use your name or boat name.) Here's what you should do contact the boat "Queen
Mary", whose call sign is "VA 7112".
- Listen to Channel 16. Turn the squelch control down until you hear
radio noise for at least 10 seconds to make sure no one else is using the
- You say:
"Queen Mary, Queen Mary, Queen Mary, this is Tugboat Annie,
Tugboat Annie, Tugboat Annie, Victor X-Ray Four One Three Niner. Over."
- Wait at least ten minutes to allow Queen Mary's
crew to check for an open channel.
Queen Mary responds on Channel 16:
"Tugboat Annie, Tugboat Annie, this is Queen Mary, Queen Mary,
Victor Alpha Seven One One Two. Go to channel Seven One. I say again, Seven
- You reply:
"Queen Mary, Queen Mary, this is Tugboat Annie.
Roger, [switching to] seven one."
- Now, you both switch to your working channel, making sure it's still "clear".
"Queen Mary, this is Tugboat Annie. Over."
- If the channel is not clear, start over at #1; don't just
"transmit over" people already using the channel.
- When your radio is on, always listen to Channel 16. This is the safety and
- Use low power to call whenever practical. VHF radio range may be up to 80
miles in good conditions and everyone in that range can hear you! High power
does not get more distance; it allows a strong signal so you have a better
chance of being heard at a greater distance.
- Prearrange to call at a specific time on a working channel; you don't have
to use Channels 16.
- To transmit, depress the microphone button, speak directly into the microphone
without touching it, then release the button as soon as you have finished.
Do not shout!
- Keep communication brief. VHF is for marine safety. If you like to chat,
consider using a cellular telephone.
- Do not ask for a radio check on Channel 16. Call a specific radio station
and move to a working channel to ask for a check.
- A signal of full strength and with full readability is known as a "5 by
5" signal. "2 by 5" is weak but very clear signal. The second number measures
the readability of the signal.
- Bad (Unreadable)
- Poor (Readable now and then)
- Fair(Readable with great difficulty)
- Good (Readable with minor difficulty)
- Excellent (Perfectly readable)
- If you have children aboard, educate them not to use the marine radio except
in emergencies. People's lives often depend on a clear channel.
- Post an emergency MAYDAY form for guests or
children to call for help in an emergency.
- It is a criminal offence to call a false MAYDAY. If you are out of fuel
but in no danger, anchor and call a marina or towing service.
- It is an offense to broadcast profanity.
- To identify the name of your vessel or its call-sign, use Phonetic
Alphabet to say letters. For example, when you say a call-sign, instead
of saying "VX 1984", you would say, "Victor X-ray One Niner Aayt
||Danger to life
||Danger to property
||Danger to safety
|| Let me know that you have received and understood this message.
|| An error has been made in this transmission. The correct version is...
|| Proceed with your message.
|| My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.
|| This conversation is ended and no response is expected.
|| After I say OVER, repeat this message back to me exactly as received.
|| I have received all of your last transmission.
|| Receipt of your message number ... is acknowledged.
|| Wait until you hear further from me.
|| Check with the originator and send the correct version.
|| Send [or sending] each word twice.
- Calling every minute or less.
- Not turning your "squelch" control off to listen before using a channel.
- Using "high" power, when "Low" power would do. Your radio antenna hears a fraction of the transmissions that the Coast Guard tower hears!
- Transmitting when the channel is being used.