How To: Use marine VHF radio

Use marine VHF radio

Radio communication is one of the oldest and most effective means of communication via technology, so it's no wonder it's still a popular way to send and receiver signals, especially on the water. Having a Marine radio can be critical when operating a boat on any type of water. There are many uses for a Marine radio, but the most important is to send a distress signal — here's how to do it.

Step 1: Call distress signal
Tune your marine radio to channel 16 and call out the word "mayday" three times in a row. This is the international hailing and distress frequency.

Collect as much information as you can about your vessel, your condition, and your location before making a distress call.

Step 2: Name your vessel
Call out the name of your vessel by saying "This is" and then repeating the name of your vessel three times in a row.

Step 3: Repeat mayday and name
Repeat "mayday" and the name of the vessel once more.

Step 4: Give position
Give the position of your vessel finding your latitude and longitude on a nautical chart, and approximate distance to a known landmark or island.

Step 5: Describe your condition
Describe the nature of your distress by saying something like, "struck a submerged object," "taking on water," or "fire on board."

Step 6: Describe what you need
Describe any specific assistance you might need, like medical attention for someone on board, or pumps needed to remove water.

Step 7: Describe number of people on board
Describe how many people are on board, their age if pertinent, and their condition.

Step 8: Give other information
Give any other pieces of information that may further assist the rescuer. Then end the call with the word "over."

Step 9: Switch channels
Switch to a mutually decided on, free channel once you have established contact with a rescuer. Simply call out a switch to a numbered channel and then tune to that channel to continue communicating with the rescuer.

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