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Cockburn Sea Rescue monitors both 27Mhz and VHF radios 24 hours a day.

27 Mhz listening watch on Channels 27.88 (Emergency)  and 27.90​
VHF listening watch on Channels 16 (Emergency) and 73.


Why radios?

Communication at sea is vital and a marine radio is mandatory if travelling more than 5 nautical miles from the mainland. Mobile telephones, although useful as a backup communications system, cannot replace a marine radio. Some reasons for this:

  • A radio call is broadcast to all nearby stations and listening vessels nearby can often provide a quicker response than vessels called from the shore. You can't broadcast an emergency call on a mobile telephone.

  • Marine radios can be tracked using direction finding equipment which rescue groups and Police generally have onboard.

  • Marine radio provides better coverage offshore as they are not reliant on mobile phone towers.

  • Many VHF radios now have the added advantage of Digital Selective Calling.

  • Battery life on mobile phones are limited


Channel Selection

When on the water you should always listen on the emergency channel for your radio type. Most radios have a dual-watch feature whereby both the emergency channel and working channel can be monitored at the same time. Remember that as boaties we have a responsibility to render assistance to others in trouble, which would be impossible if calls for help go unheard.

General Guidelines for Correct Radio Procedures​
  • Ensure the Volume and Squelch are adjusted correctly.

  • Only transmit if you have something important to say.

  • DO NOT allow children to play with radio

  • Always listen before you transmit.

  • Think of what you are going to say before you transmit.

  • Be brief and to the point.

  • Speak clearly.

  • Speak slowly.

  • Always use your CALLSIGN.

  • Always end transmissions with "CLEAR" or "OUT" if no reply is required.

  • Always end each transmission with "OVER" if a reply is required.

  • Use PHONETICS if possible.


Logging on and off

Notifying your local Sea Rescue group when heading out provides peace of mind that your radio equipment is functioning properly and should something go wrong we can initiate a search and rescue in a timely manner. Logging on for your trip out is fast, easy and responsible. Sea rescue radio operators do not go home unless ALL vessels in our care have been accounted for. You should provide the following information when loggong on:

  • vessel’s name or call sign

  • registration number (letters/numbers on either side of vessel)

  • point of departure

  • destination (as specific as possible)

  • number of people on board

  • estimated time of return.

Listen to a sample LOG ON to VH6CL
LOG ON with VH6CL - Unknown Artist
00:00 / 00:00
Listen to a sample LOG OFF to VH6CL
LOG OFF with VH6CL - Unknown Artist
00:00 / 00:00
Download a copy of our Quick Reference Radio Guide

For further information on the use of radios, please visit the Department of Transport website.

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