Edgewater Yacht Club, Inc.
6700 Memorial Shoreway NW
Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Yard / Service / Gas Dock:                                 216-281-1518 x 29
Office: 216-281-6470
Bar: 216-281-2441 x 27
Guard: 216-281-5013 x 28
Pool: 216-281-1091 x 30

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 VHF Radio Channel Usage / Do's and Dont’s
 
The Federal Communications Commission has eliminated radio licenses for most recreational boats in the United States, with some exceptions, ie: transmitting from or to foreign waters – and yes Canada is foreign water. There's no reason why the VHF marine band has to become another Citizen's Band free-for-all.
 
Everyone who depends upon a two-way radio for his or her safety out on the water has a stake in the future of the VHF frequency. Boat/U.S. is equally concerned and is urging members to promote proper use of the airwaves and actively discourage abuse. The best way to do that is to educate skippers, guests, family members and fellow boaters on how to correctly use the marine radio.
 
Although the license has by in large eliminated, FCC regulations still remain in effect. VHF radio operating rules continue to apply and violators can still be subject to fines by the FCC up to $8,000. Both the FCC and the U.S. Coast Guard monitor the marine band and both agencies have sensitive radio direction finders that can track a violator, for instance a false "Mayday" caller.
But an even better reason to safeguard the marine VHF band is its lifesaving importance to everyone out on the water. Skippers in will traveled boating areas who monitor Channel 16 are often distressed to hear repeated violations of proper radio usage rules.
 
"Many radio users simply do not know what the rules are," said Jim Ellis Director of the Boat/U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety. "They don't realize that they could be putting lives in jeopardy."
 
Among the most egregious offenses on the VHF marine band are issuing a false Mayday call, using profanities, monopolizing Channel 16 and using an improper channel. Some people even broadcast .
"Mayday radio checks" according to Joe Hersey, Chief of Telecommunications for the Coast Guard. These are false Mayday calls just to see if one's radio is working.
 
The rules for radio operation are mainly common sense and are described in detail in at least two easy-to-read reference books, Chapman's Communications Afloat by Elbert S. Maloney, and the maritime Radio Users Handbook by the Radio Technical Commission for Marine Services. Both are available through Boat/US Also, the U.S. Coast Guard's home page on the Web has information at: http://navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtBoater .
 
While many boaters who want to have long conversations are better off using cell phones while boating many forget that the real value of the VHF transmission in an emergency is that everyone can hear a call for help.
 
When inconsiderate broadcasters use foul language over the airwaves, which cause boaters, especially those with children, to shut the radio off, a potential source of rescue has been eliminated.
Keep in mind that Channel 9 has been designated as a calling channel nationwide, as it helped relieve congestion on Channel 16. The Coast Guard, however, does not always monitor Channel 9. Channel 16 is always the first choice for emergencies or to hear official alerts.

Requesting a radio check from the Coast Guard on Channel 16 is prohibited. It is also not proper procedure to issue a call to "any vessel, any vessel" and request a radio check. What operators may do is hail another boater or "TowBOAT/US” on Channel 16 or 9, and when you receive a reply, switch to a working channel. The Tow BOAT/US skipper will be glad to respond.
 
The Dos:
● Whenever the radio is on, monitor Channel 16, unless you are in communication on another channel;
●  Before transmitting, listen for 30 seconds to hear if the channel is in use;
●  At the beginning and end of your transmission, identify your vessel by its name or your radio call sign;
● Use Channel 16 or 9 for calling and when contact is made, switch immediately to an unused working channel (agree on the channel before switching)
●  Set the radio to the low power setting whenever possible; you don’t need the high power setting to talk to someone across most harbors;
● Speak slowly and clearly with the microphone about an inch from your mouth; there's no need to shout- it distorts your transmission;
● Keep all communications as brief as possible;
 
The Don'ts:
●  Don't call the Coast Guard requesting a radio check;
●  Don't use the VHF radio for transmitting on land (it is OK when on shore in a marina);
●  Don't monopolize any channel with long conversations or idle chatter;
●  Don't let children use the radio or think it's a toy. Don’t allow children to play on the boat with no adult present, even in the driveway;
●  Don't broadcast a Mayday unless there is immediate danger to life or property;
●  Don't broadcast profanities or insults. It is a criminal offense to transmit obscene, profane or indecent language or meanings;
●  Don't speak on channel 70; it's reserved for Digital Selective Calling (DSC) only;
 
Channels Available for Recreational Boats
 
Distress, Safety, Calling.................................16
 
Calling................................................................9
 
Recreational Use................................................68-69, 71-72, 78
 
Marine Operator.................................................24-28, 84-87
 
Locks, Canals, Bridges, Pilots............................13
 
Digital, Selective Calling (DSC)..........................70
 
Channel Frequencies and Usages are from the Coast Pilot; Pacific Coast (25th Edition)

Information based on 47 CFR 80 – Stations in the Maritime Service and USCG Guidelines
 
CHANNEL            TRANSMIT/RECEIVE (MHz)          USAGE
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------
1A                           156.050          156.050                    Port operations and commercial
 
5A                           156.250           156.250                   Port operations
 
6                              156.300           156.300                   Intership safety
 
7A                           156.350            156.350                   Commercial
 
9                              156.450            156.450                   Commercial and non-commercial calling
 
10                           156.500             156.500                   Commercial
 
11                           156.550             156.550                   Commercial
 
12                           156.600              156.600                  Port operations (traffic advisories, including VTS in some ports)
 
13                           156.650              156.650                  Navigational (ship-to-ship), also used at locks and bridges
 
14                           156.700              156.700                  Port operations (traffic advisories, including VS in some ports)
 
16                            156.800              156.800                 Distress, safety and calling
 
17                           156.850               156.850                 State or local government control
 
18A                        156.900                156.900                 Commercial
 
19                           156.950               156.950                 Commercial
 
 20                          157.000               161.600                 Port operations (traffic advisories)
 
22A                        157.100                157.100                 Coast Guard Liaison
 
24                           157.200                161.800                 Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
25                           157.250                 161.850                 Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
26                           157.300                 161.900                 Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
27                           157.350                 161.950                 Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
28                           157.400                 162.000                 Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
63A                        156.175                  156.175                 VTS New Orleans

CHANNEL            TRANSMIT/RECEIVE (MHz)          USAGE
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
65A                        156.275                   156.275                 Port operations (traffic advisories)
 
66A                        156.325                   156.325                 Port operations (traffic advisories)
 
69                           156.475                   156.475                 Non-commercial
 
71                           156.575                   156.575                 Non-commercial
 
72                           156.625                   156.625                 Non-commercial (ship-to-ship only)
 
73                           156.675                   156.675                 Port operations (traffic advisories)
 
74                           156.725                    156.725                Port operations (traffic advisories)
 
78A                        156.925                     156.925                Non-commercial
 
80A                        157.025                      157.025               Commercial
 
 84                          157.225                      161.825               Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
85                           157.275                      161.875               Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
86                           157.325                      161.925               Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
87                           157.375                      161.975               Public correspondence (ship-to-coast)
 
88                           157.425                      162.025               Public correspondence in Puget Sound
 
88A                        157.425                       157.425               Commercial, fishing (ship-to-ship)