Automated Radio Check, which is provided by Sea Tow in association with MariTEL, lets boaters quickly and easily check that their vessel’s VHF radio is working. They simply tune the radio to the local Automated Radio Check channel, key the mike, and ask for a radio check. They will hear an automated response and their request is played back to them, allowing them to confirm that the radio is operational and to assess transmission strength, a crucial safety check. Sea Tow Automated Radio Check also aids the U.S. Coast Guard by reducing non-emergency communications on VHF Channel 16.
The newest Sea Tow Automated Radio Check stations include: Oceanside, CA; New Orleans, LA; Baltimore, MD; Suttons Bay, MI; Traverse City, MI; Leeland, MI; Northport, MI; Rainy River, MN; Red Wing, MN; Stillwater, MN; Bayport, MN; Pamlico Sound, NC; Supply, NC; Southport, NC; Coles Point, VA; Lake Washington, WA; Friday Harbor, WA; Prescott, WI; Milwaukee, WI, and Pepin, WI.
Over the past year, several locations have been activated in Midwestern states thanks to the assistance of District 10 of the United States Power Squadron (USPS). In addition, the USPS has teamed up with Sea Tow to help promote this boating safety service by giving out Automated Radio Check decals to attendees of their educational and fun boating courses, seminars and events held across the country. Anyone who gets a USPS Vessel Safety Check will receive a decal as well. To find a USPS course or event near you, visit www.usps.org.
In order to fulfill that demand, Sea Tow actively is looking for volunteers to host new Automated Radio Check stations in areas that currently are not covered by the service. Any business can apply; all that’s needed is a place to mount an antenna. Automated Radio Check transmitting stations require only a controller box programmed with proprietary software developed by Sea Tow and MariTEL, a VHF radio, and a 30-foot antenna.
“An Automated Radio Check station could be a boat dealership, a boatyard, a bait and tackle shop or even a waterfront hotel or restaurant,” Jim Foley said, ARC Program Manager. “Our ‘wish list’ for additional Automated Radio Check locations includes the Great Lakes region, San Francisco Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest.” For more details, potential Sea Tow Automated Radio Check hosts are invited to e-mail ARC@seatow.com or call 631-876-5077.