Marine Radio Protocol


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Marine Radio Protocol


Below are some guidelines to operating a marine radio on a houseboat at Lake Powell, Mead or Mohave.  If you don't know these procedures and protocols, print this page and let your crew members read it so everyone knows how to call for help, properly. 

1.                  When your radio is turned on and not being used on another channel, you should always monitor channel 16, the hailing, distress, and safety frequency.

2.                  Use Channel 16 only to call another station or boat, or to report a marine distress situation, or to report other emergency safety-related information.  Never use channel 16 for routine conversations.

3.                  To call another station it is not necessary to use call signs (WXN0123) anymore.  You can call by boat name.  Example “Dixie Dreamer…… Dixie Dreamer,  this is Homeless”.  To get help, call for “National Park Service” or “Exec Services”.  You can even call “Wahweap Marina” or “Dangling Rope Marina” if needed.

4.                  When contact has been made on channel 16 (the hailing channel), ask your contact to switch to another channel and acknowledge your suggested channel.  For conversation use ch.9, 68, 69, 71, 72, or 78.   Ex. “Dixie Dreamer, go to channel 68, please acknowledge”.

5.                  If the other station does not answer your call, their radio may be off or out of range.  In this case, say your boat name and “out”, then hang up.  Ex: “Homeless, out

6.                  When you are called and directed to switch to another channel, always acknowledge that you will do so.  Ex: “Homeless, switching to channel 68”.  This confirms with your caller of your radio whereabouts, and it clears channel 16 for other calls.

7.                  At the end of a conversation, both parties should give their boat name and state returning to ch16  Ex: “ Homeless out, returning to 16”.

8.                  A VHF radio is not a CB.  The CB lingo and 10 codes are not to be used.

9.                  It is illegal for any person to transmit by radio a message containing obscene, indecent or profane words, language or meaning.

10.              You may make telephone calls from your boat via your VHF radio.  Switch to channel 26 and call for the “Marine Operator”.  The charges can be billed to your home number, telephone credit card, or you may call “collect”.  A nominal cost for this service in addition to the long-distance call from Window Rock, AZ will be reflected on your telephone bill.

11.              “Homeless” may be reached by telephone from anywhere in the world.  Your caller needs to dial an AT&T operator (102-880), ask for “Special Routes”, then ask for the “Window Rock, AZ Inward Operator: 520-058-121”.  When connected, the caller must give the boat name “Homeless” to the operator to hail.  The marine operator will then call “Homeless” on channel 16 and direct you to follow her to channel 26 for the incoming phone call.

12.              Remember, the marine operator answers you on channel 26 only and calls you on channel 16 only.

13.              “MAYDAY” calls are distress calls.  They have absolute priority over all other radio traffic and are transmitted ONLY when “grave and imminent danger” exists.

14.              When an emergency is being reported or in progress on Channel 16, stop transmitting on channel 16 unless you are directly involved with the emergency situation.

15.              A VHF radio’s primary function is to help ensure safety of life and property.  It is very valuable in terms of convenience and usefulness.  Use it, but please use it correctly.  Don’t be long winded, and don’t let children play with it.

16.              NOAA weather radio broadcasts the latest weather information 24hrs a day.  You can hear it at 162.55Mhz, or VHF Marina channel 1 or WX1.  Broadcasts include the latest weather forecast, current conditions, watches, warnings, and lake wind advisories.  You should listen to this every morning and evening so you won’t be surprised by Lake Powell’s instant weather change…..which will happen.