Displaying items by tag: VHF
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Boaters and mariners have been reminded of the limitations of using mobile phones for emergency communication at sea.
“Mobile phone coverage at sea is limited and unreliable. Mobile phones are also highly susceptible to failure due to water ingress,” the notice states.
The use of VHF, however, “makes it possible to broadcast to, and receive from, all vessels and coast stations within the vicinity in the event of an emergency”.
Where practicable, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) says recreational craft should maintain a continuous listening watch on VHF channel 16 and DSC watch on VHF channel 70.
Further details are included in Marine Notice No 40 of 2019, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.
#INSS - Anyone who wants to get certified in the use of short-range VHF marine radio should look to the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School (INSS) in Dun Laoghaire, which is running its next course from Monday.
The four-evening course taking place next Monday 22, Tuesday 23, Thursday 25 and Friday 26 October (from 6.30pm to 9.30pm each session) will put you hands-on with a real VHF radio rather than a computer-based simulator.
The INSS promises that no more than two people will share a radio at any one stage of the course which, along with the complimentary set of course notes, will equip you to pass the short exam and leave as “a hugely competent user of VHF radio”.
Over the four evenings you will learn the NATO phonetic alphabet, how to conduct day-to-day communications and make emergency or distress calls, and the workings of the GMDSS network and system.
This course is also a prerequisite for many other practical courses, and is a legal requirement for anyone who plans to use a VHF radio set.
Places are still available for next week’s course but dates are also open in the new year in late January, February and March, as well as four other courses scheduled for 2019.
#VHF - UK Coastguard is reminding all boat owners, shipping companies and anyone who puts out to sea to make sure they are ready for the pending changeover of some VHF channels used to contact emergency services.
As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, changes to Appendix 18 (Marine VHF) of the Radio Regulations it will mean that VHF channels 23, 84 and 86 will no longer be used for either Maritime Safety Information (MSI) or Radio Medical Advice.
The channels to use from next month (September 2017) will be VHF 62, 63 and 64. The use of VHF Channel 10 for MSI and pollution control (back up) is unchanged.
“This is an absolute changeover so people do need to be ready to start using the channels from 10am on 6 September,” said Mark Lawson from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
“Although the MCA will keep the existing channels for about a year, they will not be routinely monitored. Your existing VHF radios should already have the new channels, but owners should check.”
Why are the channels changing?
The changes are as a result of the World Radio Conference where it was decided that some channels should be removed and allocated for digital use. It’s a simple change to other VHF frequencies.
What difference will it make to boat owners and operators?
There will be no difference to the service provided. MSI broadcasts will still go out at the existing published times, just on the new channels. Those listening on Channel 16 will be directed to the appropriate channel, when the forthcoming broadcast is to be made.
What will happen if I use the old channels after 6 September?
The old channels will be retained by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency for about a year. However, they will not be routinely monitored as the MCA will redirect people to the appropriate channel that the MSI broadcast will be made on. Boat owners requiring Radio Medical Advice should initially call on Channel 16. They will then be directed to a working channel (62, 63 or 64).
What should boat owners and operators be doing?
Make a note of the replacement channels so that they are ready for the changeover day. Your existing VHF radios should already have the new channels, but owners should check.
Boat owners, shipping companies and anyone who puts out to sea are being informed about a change in some of the VHF channel numbers used to contact UK Coastguard.
As a result of changes to Appendix 18 (Marine VHF) of the Radio Regulations it will mean that VHF channels 23, 84 and 86 will no longer be used for either Maritime Safety Information (MSI) or Radio Medical Advice.
The channels to use from September 2017 will be VHF 62, 63 and 64. The use of VHF Channel 10 for MSI and pollution control (back up) is unchanged.
Mark Lawson from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: 'Although it’s not happening until September, when it happens the changeover will be absolute and we want to make people aware of this changeover in good time given our commitment to deliver maritime safety and wider support to the maritime community.
'The exact date of change will be announced as soon as possible. In the meantime, we suggest anyone who uses any type of vessel makes a careful note of these replacement channels so they are ready when it does happen.'
The VHF Casemate is the brainchild of Dublin-based product designer Seán Toomey, who developed the idea as his degree thesis at the Dublin Institute of Technology.
As he explains, it's a solution to the problem of boaters taking mobile phones out on the water as their only means of communication, despite poor network coverage even a short distance from the shore.
His design, which offers all a standard waterproof case provides, comes with a built-in VHF radio operated by app that also signals distress to any other vessels in the vicinity.
And it could soon be on the market, once Toomey finds a partner to help put his final design into production.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WARNING - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on preliminary work on the East-West interconnector power cable in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Wales over the next few weeks.
Briggs Marine commenced pre-lay grapnel runs along the line of the cable route on Sunday 1 April, and this work will be carried out over three weeks from the vessel Kingdom of Fife (call sign 2BKR2).
This work will continue on a 24-hour basis, and the vessel will display appropriate day shapes and lights as required, with a continuous watch on VHF Channel 16 and DSC.
Complete details including co-ordinates of the work area are included in Marine Notice No 14 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read and download HERE.
#NEWS UPDATE - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on a pipeline survey in the Celtic Sea next month.
PSE Kinsale Energy Limited will be commencing the survey of the 24" Gas Export Pipeline on 6 March 2012 using the Marine Institute vessel RV Celtic Voyager (call sign EIQN). The survey is expected to last 1 to 2 days, depending on weather conditions.
The survey will take place along the existing pipeline route in the Celtic Sea, between the shoreline at Inch Beach in Co Cork and gas platform 'Alpha'.
The RV Celtic Voyager will display appropriate lights and signals, and will be towing side scan sonar with cables of up to 200m long. A Radio Navigation Warning will be issued via the Irish Coast Guard (schedule Bravo, four times a day) prior to the vessel's arrival at the survey area. The vessel will also keep a listening watch on VHF Channel 16.
All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the RV Celtic Voyager and her towed equipment a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.
Further details for seafarers, including relevant co-ordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 7 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read and download HERE.
#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has called for better safety awareness among leisure boat users in its report into the deaths of two men off Helvick Head in Co Waterford in May 2010.
John O'Brien and Pat Esmonde were lost overboard from their small RIB on 23 May 2010, and their remains were recovered two days later. Post-mortems confirmed that both died by drowning.
The report does not conclude exactly how the incident occurred. But accounts from eyewitnesses who sighted the men in the minutes before state that neither was wearing a lifejacket, despite the legal requirement to do so - and despite O'Brien having no seafaring experience and Esmonde being unable to swim, as confirmed by their families.
The MCIB also noted that while there were two lifejackets aboard the vessel, they were for emergencies and not suitable for constant wear as per the requirements for the vessel class.
Other safety issues highlighted include the kill-cord on the engine, which was not being used, and the fact that the initial distress call was made by mobile phone and not VHF radio.
Though neither had any bearing on this specific incident, the MCIB warned in particular that mobile phone calls are closed in nature, whereas VHF distress calls can be heard and answered by any vessel in the vicinity.
The board recommends that the Minister for Transport "undertakes a highly visible information poster campaign on piers and launching areas relating to lifejackets, VHF radio and emergency contact details" and also reminds boaters of their legal obligations.
The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.
#MARINE NOTICE - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on rock placement operations offshore at North Beach in Rush, Co Dublin and in the Irish Sea.
Works commenced on 19 January to continue for around 14 days, subject to weather delays, undertaken by DPFPV Tideway Rollingstone (call sign PHYR) which is operating on a 24-hour basis.
The vessel is transmitting an AIS signal and will be keeping a listening watch on VHF Channel 16 at all times. It is also displaying appropriate day shapes and lights.
The works - which involve the deployment of survey ROV and fall pipe - will restrict the vessel's ability to manoeuvre, so all vessels in the vicinity (particular fishing boats) have been given warning to give the vessel and her equipment a wide berth.
Complete details including co-ordinates of work areas are included in Marine Notice No 4 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read and download HERE.