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VHF Afloat

VHF Afloat

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VHF Afloat

138 pagine
1 ora
Nov 14, 2008


VHF Afloat explains how to use your VHF DSC radio. It covers licensing the equipment and gaining the operator certificate, and then takes you through each type of call. Each procedure is clearly illustrated using the yacht Sierra, to show how the radio is used on a passage to communicate with marinas, other vessels and the Coastguard, including how a MAYDAY is managed by the rescue services. Use VHF Afloat to help pass the assessment, and then keep it on board when you need to make a call - the facts will be right at your fingertips.
Nov 14, 2008

Informazioni sull'autore

Sara Hopkinson is an experienced sailor, and a Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner. She runs an RYA Training Centre in Suffolk which specialises in navigation, radio, radar and first aid courses. She has also been a Coastguard Rescue Officer for many years and Deputy Station Officer of HM Coastguard, Holbrook. Sara has written books for the RYA and Fernhurst Books’ Skipper’s Pocketbook, VHF Afloat and VHF Companion.

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VHF Afloat - Sara Hopkinson

Published by Fernhurst Books Limited

62 Brandon Parade, Holly Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 4JE, UK

+44 (0) 1926 337488 |

Copyright © 2008 Sara Hopkinson

First published by John WIley & Sons Ltd

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a license issued by The Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS, UK, without the permission in writing of the Publisher.

Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The Publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the Publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The Publisher accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions, or for any accidents or mishaps which may arise from the use of this publication.

We are also grateful to Northshore Yachts for use of their 3D model of the Southerly 38 swing keel cruising yacht in the illustrations.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-470-75858-8 (paperback)

ISBN 978-1-912177-41-7 (eBook) ISBN 978-1-912177-42-4 (Mobi)

Typeset and design by PPL, illustrations by Greg Filip/PPL


The author would like to thank Gwen Caddock, Robin Cole of Precision Navigation Ltd, and Jonathon Dyke of Suffolk Yacht Harbour. The International VHF Frequencies are reproduced courtesy of the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) as is the map of the GMDSS Sea Areas.

Photos supplied by Icom UK Ltd.


Foreword VHF is Wonderful ...VHF-DSC is better!

1 Licences and certificates

2 Types of VHF set

3 What is the range of the set?

4 How to begin using a VHF radiotelephone

5 The DSC Controller

6 Which channel do I use?

7 What do I say? ...Prowords

8 Ship-to-Ship routine communications

9 Routine communications with HM Coastguard

10 Routine communications with marinas, ports and harbours

11 On passage with yacht Sierra

12 Distress procedures and Coastguard acknowledgement

13 What do I do if I hear a Mayday?

14 The Mayday Relay...‘Urgency Alert’

15 Pan Pan... ‘Urgency Alert’

16 Securite …‘Safety Alert’

17 SIERRA ...the return! An eventful homeward passage


19 SARTs


21 Radio channels

22 Glossary



Useful Addresses

Mayday Procedure Card


VHF is Wonderful

...VHF-DSC is better!

The VHF radiotelephone has been in common use on small boats for many years. Its use is essentially simple and straightforward but the new user must learn a few rules and procedures, pass a practical assessment and a simple test, use common sense and avoid chatting.

All very easy!

VHF is invaluable in the unlikely event of a major life-threatening disaster when a Mayday can be sent to gain the assistance of the rescue services and vessels in the vicinity. It is also useful for routine communications with marinas, Coastguards, harbour authorities and other boats.

It is an ‘open’ system of communication so can receive information such as weather forecasts, shipping movements, gale warnings and small craft safety information broadcasts. All skippers in a particular area can be kept informed by these broadcasts. In this way it is of value every day.

This very ‘openness’ of communication should be remembered by the user. All conversations on a channel can be heard by all those tuned to that channel who are within range. So never say anything that you are not prepared for everyone to hear!

The system is operated on approximately 60 channels, with the radio frequencies pre-tuned into the set. Channels are allocated under international agreement for different uses. It is essential to know these allocations and the rules and procedures for both routine and emergency radio traffic. Failure to follow these rules will result in interference with routine communications and possibly dangerous confusion in an emergency situation.

Each of these channels can handle only one conversation at a time – so while you are occupying a channel no-one else can use it. Hence the rule not to chat. Pass the essential information and then leave the channel free for someone else.

Over the years there have been many minor changes and developments in both procedures and equipment. These have been designed to ease the overloading of the airwaves and to keep pace with changes in technology.

These developments include satellite communications, e-mail and the ever-present mobile phone. I have sailed on yachts with as many mobile phones as crew! Love them or hate them, they can be invaluable for keeping in contact with those at home, but a mobile phone is a very poor substitute for a VHF in a distress situation. Some people say ‘they are better than nothing’ which is obviously true but they still offer very poor communications in emergency situations. Coastguard stations can be contacted, while the battery holds out,

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