IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL MARINERS
Particularly those travelling to different areas of Western Australia on holidays …
For many years now I have been spruiking the benefits of VHF marine radios as a vital piece of vessel safety equipment. Recently, the WA Volunteer Marine Rescue Association distributed a notice that is now being widely circulated and as it is so critical to the safety of you and your crew, I have been granted permission to quote this notice directly, with my own comments in italics.
“Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia (VMRWA) recognises from a compliance standpoint you need to carry on board your vessel a marine radio. ( legally required when beyond 5 nautical miles from the mainland, but strongly recommended to have one on board at all times ) In many cases it will be a 27MHz radio, although some recreational mariners will have already fitted a vastly superior VHF marine radio and we commend them for taking that step.
All mariners need to realise that while most VMR Groups monitor various 27MHz frequencies the plain fact is that many regional locations (standout examples being Exmouth, most of the Pilbara, most if not all of the Kimberleys and along the south coast from Windy Harbour to Esperance with Walpole in particular) have virtually zero useful communications on the 27MHz band. ( the Cape to Cape region also has zero communications on 27 MHz band )
Even in the metropolitan area the coverage is becoming marginal based on the distances now traversed by recreational mariners compared to just a few years ago and this is without even considering outside interference caused by some engines and atmospheric conditions that impact on reliability.
Already there is a very reliable network of VHF Marine Repeaters around the WA coastline from Wyndham in the north to Esperance in the south and while there will always be an area that has no coverage (and that applies to every radio system, mobiles included) the VHF marine radio communications network provides the most reliable safety net for recreational mariners. ( Use VHF channel 80 repeater to call ACRM Base for LOG ON LOG OFF in the Capes region )
Due to the various complexities and inconsistencies of providing a reliable 27MHz radio coverage many Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Groups are winding back their 27MHz capability and we encourage the recreational mariners to do the same and install a VHF Marine Radio in their vessel/s.
VMR Groups are placing their resources and the rescue vessel’s crew safety into the vastly superior VHF radio communications network as it provides the most reliable communications safety net possible. Our recommendation for all recreational mariners is for you to consider your own safety and that of your passengers as well as the VMR volunteers who operate the rescue vessels and install a VHF Marine Radio.
Put quite simply VHF currently is the most reliable form of marine radio communications and is one that will improve your personal safety on the water while complying with the various State and Commonwealth Maritime regulations. ( A VHF radio operator’s licence is easily obtained and assessment is a 25 multiple choice exam with some practical radio tasks-email or phone me if you are interested in obtaining this licence. )
Please help our members to help you – install and use a VHF Marine Radio and whenever you go to a new location please call up the local VMR volunteers for the latest local information it could just possibly save your life. And always remember to LOG ON & LOG OFF.”
Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia “your link with life on the water” …