VHF (Very High Frequency)
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT MCTS WILL CONTINUE TO GUARD 16 AND 2182 AS LONG AS WE SEE THE NEED TO DO SO.
We are planning to commence the phased installation of VHF DSC equipment in the spring of 1998. It is expected that this program will be completed late in the year 2002. However, in spite of the fact that we will have DSC capability at our shore station, the Canadian Coast Guard is of the opinion that watchkeeping on VHF channel 16 by GMDSS ships must be maintained until such time as an adequate supply of low cost VHF DSC equipment is available to be fitted on vessels not subject to the provisions of SOLAS. At this time, it is not possible to forecast a date when the availability of such a supply might become a reality.
There are more than 40,000 fishing vessels of more than 15 g.r.t. registered in Canada, half of which are less than eight metres in length. There is also a large number of pleasure craft. The majority of these smaller vessels are fitted with VHF radio equipment. In recognition of this, MCTS will continue watchkeeping on VHF channel 16 after we have completed our VHF DSC installations.
Parallel watchkeeping on VHF channels 70 (the DSC alerting channel) and 16 will enable us to maintain contact with both GMDSS-fitted vessels and those not so equipped. In this way MCTS will provide the vital radiocommunications safety link between the two classes of vessels by being able to alert GMDSS-equipped ships that a non-SOLAS vessel is in distress, and vice-versa.
At the next meeting of the IMO Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue, Canada will be proposing that, watchkeeping on VHF channel 16 by GMDSS ships should cease no earlier than January 1, 2003 instead of February 1, 1999. By 2003 the MCTS system will be able to provide the vital safety link between SOLAS and non-SOLAS ships on our coasts and, it is anticipated, an adequate supply of low cost VHF DSC equipment will be available to fit smaller vessels.
Thanks to Thunder Bay MCTS for sending the following information that indicates Canada's plan to continue monitoring the emergency frequencies commonly used by pleasure boaters. The United States Coast Guard is planning to cease guarding Channel 16 once newer emergency communications is in place. (Marine distress communications)
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