VMR Gladstone Base: 07 4972 3333 Duty Controller: 0417 681 921

Last time we spoke about different types of marine radios and how to contact Marine Rescue to ask for a radio check to make sure that your radio is working. Now that you know your radio is working, how do you use your radio to talk with someone else?

The first step is to make sure you are using the correct channel. It’s important to remember that there are two types of channels in use, calling channels and working channels. Calling channels are used to establish communication between yourself and the other boat or land based marine radio you would like to talk with. Once you have established communication, you then move to a working channel to have your conversation. Channel 16 is used as a calling and Emergency channel and most other channels can be used as a working channel. In the Gladstone region also keep in mind that Marine Rescue Gladstone operate a repeater channel on channel 82. So, if you need to contact Marine Rescue Gladstone use channel 82 as this channel can transmit and receive over much longer distances than other channels.

Once you have selected your channel, it is straightforward to contact another boat. Below is an example of a how you might contact another boat:

  • Select the Working Channel if you know it, otherwise use the calling channel 16.
  • Listen to make sure no one else is transmitting.
  • Press the transmit button and say “(other boat name, other boat name, other boat name, this is (say your boat name).”
  • If they hear you, they will answer and confirm that they have received your transmission.
  • Once they’ve acknowledged your call, you want to move onto a working channel, for example channel 72, to continue your conversation. So, you will simply say, “(their boat name) this is, (your boat name) please move to channel 72.”
  • The other boat should confirm that they have received your transmission and are changing channel.
  • You will both then change to the nominated working channel where you will follow the above process to re-establish communication and then continue your conversation.

We can also look at another simple example. Before going anywhere in your boat, you should always log on with Marine Rescue so that someone will know if you don’t come back and will also know where to look for you! Of course, when you get back you should also log off.

Logging on with Marine Rescue is easy, all you have to do is:

  • Select the repeater channel, channel 82.
  • Listen to make sure no one else is transmitting.
  • Press the transmit button and say “VMR Gladstone, VMR Gladstone, VMR Gladstone, this is (say your VMR Membership number if you have one or Boat Name if you don’t).”
  • Someone will answer and confirm that they have received your transmission.
  • Once they’ve stopped talking, simply tell them that you wish to log on and proceed to tell them how many people on board, where you are going, what time and where you are returning to.
  • If you are using a VMR Gladstone Membership number that is all the information they need. If you are using a Boat Name they will ask you for more details.
  • Once the VMR radio operator has all the information they need, they will say something like, “Member Number or Boat Name, this is VMR Gladstone you are on the Log enjoy your day” and you are good to go.

It’s straightforward, takes less than a minute and is one of the best things you can do to look after your safety and the safety of everyone with you.

In the next edition we’ll talk a bit about using your radio for emergencies. In the meantime though, as always if you have any questions about using your radio or anything else related to your boat, you can always contact Volunteer Marine Rescue Gladstone