A Marine Radio – Basic Safety Equipment For Boaters
When your car breaks down in the middle of the road, it is a nuisance. But when your boat breaks down in the middle of a water body, it is simply scary, especially if there is no mobile network coverage in the area.
This makes it essential to buy a marine radio. And enrol in the marine radio course to learn how to use it, as well as how it works. It is one of the first electronic devices you need to get for your boat.
What is a marine radio? It is the best mode of communication between the boat and the coastal authorities. When you face an emergency, this may be your only way to get help. And that’s not all; you may get a lot of information from this handy piece of equipment.
For starters, you can get weather warnings on the radio at regular intervals. You can also request for weather forecasts and other information from the authorities with this radio. You sure understand what an important item it is for your boat trips.
Which types of radios are available? Three types of marine radios are available:
A 27MHz radio: This is the basic marine radio for entry level boaters. This inexpensive option has an effective range of 10-15 nautical miles. This means its range is usually limited to the line of sight. It’s better to invest a little more money and buy a VHF radio instead.
A VHF set: Effective up to 20 nautical miles, this choice offers better quality communication, and so is a better one. Moreover, good conditions and use of land-based repeaters can enhance the range of these marine radios.
For a little extra, opt for sets with functionalities such as GPS connectivity and Digital Selective Calling (DSC). It will boost the safety and convenience you get from the basic VHF marine radio set.
A MF/HF radio: If you plan to go on serious coastal or overseas voyages, you need to install these sets on your vessel. The range of these radios is approximately 200 nautical miles, but it can be more if the conditions, antennas and frequencies are right.
How do you buy one? You need to consider a few things before you make a purchase:
Mount: If you have only one radio on your boat, a fixed one is more dependable. But if you want something compact and portable, you can opt for a handheld one. Do keep in mind that it is best to have either a fixed one or both on your boat.
You can get remote operated radios; so, you need not move every time you operate it.
Weatherproofing: It’s quite obvious – if the equipment cannot resist moisture and sun’s harsh UV rays, it won’t be of any use for your boat. Look for a model that is sturdy enough to stand up to the weather conditions it will encounter.
Selectivity: It’s important that the radio catches the signals you want to receive, and this will only be possible if the piece of equipment you buy has high selectivity. Check this before you make a decision.
Do you need a licence? If yours is a 27MHz radio, you don’t need any specific qualifications/licence to own, fit or use it. Just learn the basic protocols of the use of it, especially in times of emergencies, from a Marine Rescue unit.
Again, you don’t need to have qualifications/licence to own or fit the VHF radio. But you need to have a Marine Radio Operator’s VHF Certificate of Proficiency (MROVCP) or a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP) to use it.
The marine radio licence course will help you learn how to use these devices. But that isn’t all! You will also learn how they work and how you can fix its minor malfunctions, many of which of easy to repair on your own.
You also need to have MROCP to own, fit and use a MF/HF radio for your boat.
Who do you communicate with? Marine Rescue NSW provides radio coverage throughout the NSW coastline from its 45 bases. You can get a great deal of information and communicate with them anytime you need to.
Apart from the assistance in times of breakdowns and emergencies, they also provide radio checks to ascertain the clarity and strength of the radio signal, weather forecasts and storm warnings, and such other services.
The radio safety watch is also available – for which you need to Log On when you go out and Log Off when you return. With this, the authorities will know whether you are back on the scheduled time; otherwise, they will initiate a search.
Photo via Getty Images [Photographer: Noel Hendrickson]
Tags: Marine Radio
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