Your boatís radio is not a CB good buddy
OK hereís the scenario. It is a beautiful day on the lake, the
day is hot, the water is flat, and the beer is cold. This guy is
out there fishing with a fabulous companion. They both have enough
sunscreen on that if they accidentally fell overboard they would
leave a ring around the lake. I canít tell if they are wearing PFDs.
He just caught the largest mackinaw that could possibly fit between
Washoe and Placer counties. He is almost jumping out of his skin
with excitement. He grabs the boatís radio microphone and notices
the radio is set on channel 16, but that doesnít mean anything to
him. He starts telling the world of his good fortune. He wants to
rub his friendís nose in his fish. Mean while on the other side
of the lake thereís a couple in a day-sailboat theyíre having a
different kind of time of their lives. The gentleman at the tiller
is feeling uncomfortable. He has an ache in his left shoulder that
is radiating down his left arm his pulse is irregular. His wife
realizes that he may be enjoying all the symptoms of a heart attack.
Because she took the US Coast Guard Auxiliaryís boating safety class
she knows the Coast Guard monitors channel 16 the Hailing and emergency
channel and they will bust a gut to save her husband. But she canít
get through because this guy is singing Ode to Joy on channel 16.
In the real world once the Coast Guard picked up this guyís banter
they would immediately tell him to switch to another channel, but
the majority of boaters treat their boatís radio as a CB. Another
problem the Coast Guard experiences is false distress or emergency
messages. The Coast Guard answers every distress call regardless
of the weather or other conditions. These calls often are sent by
children who do not realize the seriousness of their hoaxes. The
Coast Guard works closely with the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) in identifying offenders. Both the Coast Guard and the FCC
have direction finding equipment available. It is very likely the
broadcasterís location will be pinpointed. The misuse of channel
16 is serious and it is treated, as a felony. Offenders are liable
for very stiff fines, possible jail time, plus all costs the Coast
Guard incurs as a result of a hoax.
Now back to the scenario. Letís say you are the guy with the fabulous
companion, and you want to use your boatís radio to rub your friendís
nose in a dead fish. This is how I would do it.
- First turn your radio on. Make sure it is on low power. If your
radio is set on high your signal could go over and past your friendís
- Tune to channel 16 and listen to see if someone else is using
it. If there is radio traffic wait for a break in radio transmissions
- Call your buddy by his boatís name at least 3 times. Donít add
unnecessary words like "Come in, Bob" or "Do you
read me?" This only adds to the radio traffic.
- After you have called your buddy release the microphone button.
If you continue to press the button you canít hear any reply.
When you send, press the button. When you want to listen, release
- When you do get a reply immediately tell your buddy that you
are switching to another working channel
- If you hear a distress call get off your radio immediately and
please donít say Over and Out. It has no meaning
If you were the unfortunate couple in the day-sailboat this is
how to send a distress signal.
- Say MAYDAY at least three times
- Give the name of your boat
- Give your location as best you can either by latitude and longitude
An approximate distance from a well known landmark
- Give the nature of your distress , for example taking on water,
fire, medical emergency
- Kind of help needed
- Any other vessel information that might be helpful such as number
of people on board, a description of your boat,
- End your message by saying OVER
- When you are through be certain to stay on channel 16 to await