‘ROMEO, STANDING BY’
Before getting into this week’s article topic, big thank you to those who turned up and to the organisers of the Save Canal Rocks Boat Ramp Rally last Sunday. There was a big turn out of concerned boaties and well known local Dunsborough fisho ‘Hammy” did a great job as MC on the day. There are now petitions at Down South Camping, Prevelly Store and Gracies Store, so please get in and sign before November 17, so they can be tabled in parliament to keep the pressure on to retain this much needed boating infrastructure in the Capes region.
Are you one of those boaties who has a marine radio but never turns it on? Maybe you are not familiar with how it works or you only have it in case of an emergency. Whatever the reason, you can’t expect any appliance to work if you don’t use it regularly. Last weekend I conducted two radio courses in Augusta and Margaret River, where the students not only sat the theory exam to become qualified VHF radio operators, but more importantly became familiar with the controls on radios and practised transmitting log ons and distress transmissions. The Augusta course was conducted for nine members of the Augusta Volunteer Marine Rescue Group ( see attached photo ) and it was great to see a batch of mainly new and some ‘old’ members volunteering their time to gain new skills for the ultimate benefit of their community. The Sunday course in Margaret River was conducted for three recreational boaties keen to use their recently purchased VHF radio equipment and another guy who owns a 38ft vessel with both VHF and HF/MF radio equipment.
So to cut to the chase, here is what you should really be doing if you have a radio on board and are keen to keep yourself, friends and family safer on the water. Log on and off for every trip and then you know your radio works and someone has your trip details. Augusta and Margaret River as yet do not have their own dedicated Log on/off radio bases, but ACRM Base accept log ons on VHF channel 80 seven days a week with signal range from Mandurah down to Augusta. For anyone in Augusta, you will need to be outside the boat harbour to have a chance of receiving this signal. And how about this for service? If you have difficulty with reaching the CH 80 repeater, Rae from ACRM Base will accept a text message log on-0466724233, even if you are not a member. Just text boat rego, departure location and time, purpose, destination, people on board, litres of fuel and return time. You can even text the log on details the day before if you are planning to head out early in the morning. However, if you are logging on by texting, it is recommended that you still try to contact ACRM Base on ch 80 or request a radio check from any surrounding boaties on VHF Ch 16 ( distress and calling channel ) to ensure your radio is operating efficiently. Ideally, those with VHF radios would set their radio on dual watch so that the radio will pick up any signal received on the working channel as well as channel 16. This would mean all boaties are looking after each other on a coastline that should be highly respected. Sorry, but for those of you still using a 27MHZ radio, best advice is take it to the tip and upgrade to VHF as soon as possible and finally, ‘Romeo’ is the marine word for message received and understood!