The VHF radio is one of the most important pieces of safety gear aboard your boat. Do you know how to properly use it? Do not confuse your VHF radio with a CB radio. “Got yer ears on, good buddy” is not the proper language, nor is using it like a cell phone to visit with your mother, girlfriend or the cute boy you just met onshore. Whatever type of conversation you may be having, remember that no one else within a 20-mile range can talk on that channel while you’re talking. There are fines for misuse.
Do you know the difference between a Mayday! Mayday! call and Pan-pan or security-security? Mayday is used when you’re in a life-threatening situation. Pan-pan is the appropriate call to make when you’re in a bad situation that isn’t life threatening at the moment but could become life threatening. Security (pronounced say-cure-it-tay.) is to be used for navigational safety messages. Next, state your vessel’s name, latitude and longitude, a brief description of your boat, and the nature of your emergency. Speak slowly and clearly, and wait for a response from the Coast Guard.
Tip – Listen to make sure the channel is clear before transmitting.
The Marine VHF Radio Handbook is available at Amazon.com.
Get it, learn it and share it. Most importantly- keep it onboard.