Summertime means taking a more casual approach to life - offices have Summer Fridays, classes take place outside and people start riding their bicycles everywhere. Its fun to have a laid-back attitude about everything. Except one. A working VHF radio on your boat.
While we hate to be a “Negative Nancy,” the importance of a functioning VHF radio should not be taken lightly. With that in mind, Sea Tow Services International is proud to announce that it’s partnering with Shakespeare Marine Electronics, who you may know as the makers of the long white antennas on more than 80% of the boats on the water today.
Thanks to partners like Shakespeare, Sea Tow is able to provide the Automated Radio Check program as a FREE public service to boating communities nationwide. The program helps reduce the volume of non-urgent communications traffic on VHF channel 16 -- the international hailing and distress channel -- while still allowing boaters to ensure their radios are functioning properly.
Already established as world leaders in marine antenna design, engineering and manufacturing, Shakespeare will help sponsor, fund and support the program.
“A working VHF radio is one of the most important things to have on a boat,” said Bill Eastwood, business manager at Shakespeare Marine Electronics. “With our role in the marine communications industry, it just made perfect sense that we support Sea Tow’s program and we’re proud to be involved and support this important effort.”
Not to belabor the issue, but please remember that VHF marine radio’s primary use is to communicate with other ships or marine installations. They were designed specifically with safety in mind. This means that if you are in distress, calls can be received not only by the Coast Guard, but also by other boats located in the area who may be in a position to provide immediate assistance. This is critical - you need to find the fastest route to get help.
A working VHF marine radio also helps assure your peace of mind knowing the latest storm warnings and other urgent marine information. The Coast Guard regularly and repeatedly announces and updates these broadcasts on VHF channel 16 – 24/7, 365 days per year. Timely receipt of this information will allow you to make real-time decisions that ultimately may save your boat and your life.
Finally, your VHF marine radio may be used anywhere in the United States or around the world.
Sea Tow and Shakespeare urge boaters to regularly check the functionality of their radios every time they leave the dock. Learn how to use the Automated Radio Check Service by following these instructions:
- Tune the boat’s radio to the proper channel for the community -- Automated Radio Check Service uses one of VHF Channels 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 or 84
- Conduct a standard radio check.
- Upon releasing the mic, the system will replay the transmission, letting the captain hear how they sound.
Boaters may visit https://www.seatow.com/ARC to find the designated Automated Radio Check channel in their area.
Please check out this useful article that Technology and Safety Expert Matt Stockwell from Shakespeare Marine Electronics wrote about Spring VHF and Antenna System Commissioning: https://www.seatow.com/BlogList/international/2018/6/SPRING%20VHF