||Safety - Radio
Equipment is required by all vessels proceeding to seaward of:
Western (Hogfish) Small Boat Channel
The Outer Reef between Pompano Beacon and Spit Buoy.
The VHF radio operates on a 'line of sight'
principle, offering group protection by allowing many boats in the area to listen to
In distress situations or
when a boat breaks down, VHF radio is the most efficient means of communication. The only
significant limitation of VHF radio is that it will be useless if swamped by a wave or if
the boat's battery is underwater. Consider taking a hand-held VHF that is waterproof or
kept in a sealable plastic bag. It can be used while still inside the bag.
If you are planning to use
a cell phone as your only means
of communication, consider the advantages VHF has over your cell phone;
- better coverage and fewer shadow areas
- collective safety with both shore stations
and other boats listening. If you are in distress you want everyone possible to know
- batteries in a VHF are longer lasting
- there is no need to remember phone numbers
- you are not relying on just one person to
pass on the message.
These advantages work for
everyone if all vessels keep a constant listening watch on VHF Channel 16, the
international distress channel. However, a cell phone that is in a sealed plastic bag and
kept in your pocket may be a lifesaver if you capsize suddenly, provided you are in an
area where there is coverage.
If your boat capsizes or
swamps, water will make the VHF inoperable. Back up the VHF by carrying a cell phone in a
sealed plastic bag.
Rules for Radio Use
- listen before transmitting
- don't make unnecessary calls and keep all
calls as brief as possible
- don't allow children to play with the radio
- always use the name of the boat you are
calling first, then identify yourself using your boat name
- always ensure your microphone is correctly
stowed to avoid accidental transmissions which will lock up the channel
- use Channel 16 for making your initial call,
then move to an agreed working channel
- for emergencies, stay on Channel 16 unless you are directed to another
channel by Bermuda Radio
- return to Channel 16 when you have completed
VHF DSC Tutorial (Boat U.S)
Courtesy of Boat U.S.
Bermuda Radio keeps a 24-hour listening watch on Channel 16.
The following are the allocations of marine
VHF channels in Bermuda which you should make yourself familiar before attempting to use
Repeater Station (Ch 07
Operations (Tugs & Tenders)
Operations (Bermuda Pilot Station)
Bridge and Long Bird Bridge Operations
Marine Police Section
Radio / ZBR Primary Working Channel
Radio / ZBR Secondary Working Channel
Selective Calling (voice communication prohibited - to be used exclusively for digital
selective calling for distress, safety calling and calling WX CH 02 Continuous Marine