Monthly Archives: January 2013

Joint Agencies Kickoff Maritime Safety, Security Operations for Super Bowl XLVII

America's Heartland Coast Guard NewsNEW ORLEANS — In support of Super Bowl XLVII, a team of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies begin maritime safety and security operations on the lower Mississippi River.

Response boats, patrol vehicles and enforcement personnel from more than 16 law enforcement agencies will conduct maritime security operations in the downtown New Orleans area and at the Port of New Orleans.

All agencies will work together within a unified command, lead by the Port of New Orleans Harbor Police Department and the U.S. Coast Guard, to provide a coordinated safe and secure environment for Super Bowl participants and the general public. This level of interagency coordination for the Super Bowl is the culmination of several months of planning involving all law enforcement agencies.

“The cooperation and commitment to this operation by all agencies has been outstanding,” said Cmdr. Russ Bowen, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “Everyone has brought their best to the table. We will have the best possible safety and security measures in place to facilitate normal use of the waterways alongside a safe and secure Super Bowl experience for all.”

The Super Bowl marks the first multi-agency operation to be conducted in the Port of New Orleans Maritime Security Operations Center, one of the five new maritime security interagency operations centers located on the lower Mississippi River.

Participating agencies include the following:

  • New Orleans Harbor Police Department;
  • U.S. Coast Guard;
  • Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries;
  • Louisiana National Guard;
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
  • Joint Task Force Seven;
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office;
  • Transportation Security Administration;
  • Homeland Security Investigations;
  • Louisiana Department of Wildlife ;and Fisheries;
  • Gretna Police Department;
  • East Jefferson Levee District Police;
  • Orleans Levee District Police;
  • East Baton Rouge Police Department;
  • St. Bernard’s Parish Sheriff’s Office;
  • New Orleans Fire Department;
  • Department of Energy.

The Coast Guard will establish a maritime safety zone in the vicinity of Woldenburg Park at 6 a.m. yesterday and ending at 6 a.m. Feb. 4. The safety zone extends 300 feet from the East Bank of the Mississippi River, from mile marker 94 to mile marker 96. Additionally, the Coast Guard will establish a safety zone in the vicinity of Canal Street from mile marker 94.5 to mile marker 96.5, extending the entire width of the river to protect persons and vessels from potential safety hazards associated with the fireworks shows, which will be enforced on:

Thursday, Jan. 31 from 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.;

Friday, Feb. 1 from 7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Friday, Feb. 1 from 9:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.;

Saturday, Feb 2 from 7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Sunday, Feb. 3, beginning after the conclusion after the Super Bowl and lasting for approximately 45 minutes.

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Coast Guard Stresses the Importance of Life Jackets and Proper Sleep

_D13-logo3The Coast Guard emphasizes the importance of well-rested crews and vessel operators and continues to stress the value of wearing a lifejacket while working on deck in light of one death and two close calls this crab season here in the Pacific Northwest.

Failure to wear a lifejacket, despite doing everything else right, caused a man to lose his life while crabbing off the Washington Coast early last week.

The crabbing vessel Senja departed the Westport, Wash., marina at approximately 6 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2013, with four people aboard, for a week-long crabbing excursion. On Jan. 15, at approximately 6 p.m., the crew began hauling and resetting crab pots, working for several hours. The captain of the vessel commented that the weather was very mild. Though it was dark, there were 2-3 foot swells, no wind, and excellent visibility.

A crewmember fell overboard, suddenly and unexpectedly, entering the water headfirst off the port stern. An experienced deckhand, who had attended a cold water survival course the previous October, took immediate action by shouting, “Man Overboard!” He then grabbed the life buoy and gave it to another crewmember to throw to the person in the water. Immediately donning his immersion suit, he stood by the starboard side of the vessel and kept his eyes on the man in the water.

The captain, upon hearing the loud directions from the crew, immediately turned to starboard so that he could locate the person in the water and maneuver to a position where he could bring him back onboard. Within two minutes, the vessel had made a complete turnaround and was drifting down to the man on his windward side. The life buoy was thrown to the man in the water.

Unfortunately, the frigid water had already taken its toll and he was unable to reach or grab the life ring. The Senja’s crewmembers saw their fellow crabber had gone rigid vertically in the water, with his arms moving slowly out to his sides, his head back, and no ability to shout for help.

A crewmember jumped into the frigid waters in a brave attempt to rescue the struggling man overboard. His immersion suit made quick swimming virtually impossible but he was able to reach the victim just as he slipped under the water. He was unable to get a firm grip on the victim because he was wearing a bulky immersion suit.

Despite the heroic efforts of the crew aboard Senja, the victim succumbed to the effects of the frigid water within three minutes of falling overboard. His body has not yet been recovered. Had he been wearing a life jacket, there is no doubt in the mind of Senja’s fast-acting crew that he would still be alive today.

Two additional near catastrophes within the Pacific Northwest Dungeness crab fleet in recent weeks have demonstrated the importance of well rested vessel operators and crew members and the dangers of neglecting proper sleep at sea.

“Twice in just over three weeks Coast Guard helicopter and motor lifeboat crews in Oregon and Washington have risked their lives undertaking rescue operations at night and in poor weather responding to easily preventable commercial fishing vessel groundings. Indications are that acute fatigue played a leading role in the incidents, both of which threatened sensitive environmental areas in Oregon and Washington. The crews of the Robert Henry and Genesis A are fortunate to have been rescued by Coast Guard crews. Because of how acutely it affects the judgment of even experienced mariners, fatigue is one of the leading causes of commercial fishing vessel casualties. The consequences of even small errors can be devastating, particularly while engaging in a dangerous, winter fishery along the rugged Pacific Northwest coast. The Coast Guard urges all operators to take reasonable precautions to ensure adequate rest for their crews. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River will continue its aggressive outreach program providing safety training to commercial fishing crews,” said Capt. Bruce Jones, Sector Columbia River Commander and Captain of the Port.

Proposed fishing vessel safety training schedules can be found by visiting

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NOAA Satellites Help Rescue 100s

Satellites vital to search and rescue operations aid in 263 rescues in 2012, including 182 on the water…

Sarsat SatelliteThe same NOAA weather and climate satellites that accurately tracked Hurricane Sandy’s path in October also played a key role in rescuing 263 people in 111 emergencies in the United States and surrounding waters in 2012.
Since NOAA’s seven operational satellites circle the globe or sit above the United States, they also carry instruments to detect distress signals from emergency beacons carried by shipwrecked boaters, as well as downed pilots and stranded hikers.

In addition to their role in weather prediction, these polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites are part of the international Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System, called Cospas-Sarsat. This system uses a network of satellites to quickly pinpoint the location of the distress signals.

More than weather

“NOAA satellites are not just for weather forecasting,” said Chris O’Connors, program manager for NOAA SARSAT. “Our ability to pick up a distress signal, isolate the location within 100 yards, and initiate the appropriate rescue response definitely saves lives.”

Of the 263 people who were rescued last year, 182 were rescued from the water, 22 from aviation incidents and 59 situations on land, where they used Personal Locator Beacons (PLB). Other rescue highlights in 2012 include:

●     Alaska had the most rescues with 45, followed by 38 in North Carolina and 25 in Florida.

●     14 people were rescued from the tall ship HMS Bounty which was caught in a torrent of waves more than 200 miles off the North Carolina coast.

●     Three people were rescued after their sailboat rolled in heavy waves off the San Francisco coast.

●     In the Gulf of Mexico, five people were pulled to safety when their fishing boat began taking on water.

●     Seven were rescued 400 miles west of Honolulu after their fishing boat caught fire.

When a NOAA satellite finds the location of a distress signal, the information is relayed to the SARSAT Mission Control Center based at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. From there, the information is quickly sent to a Rescue Coordination Center, operated either by the U.S. Air Force, for land rescues, or the U.S. Coast Guard, for rescues at sea.

Since 1982 when the program was started, Cospas-SARSAT has been credited with supporting more than 30,000 rescues worldwide, including 6,999 in the United States and its surrounding waters.

Owning a SARSAT device is only the first step to ensure one’s safety. It is imperative that the owner register their beacon with NOAA. This gives critical information to responders including the owner’s name, personal and family member contact information, and the type of vessel or aircraft.

Registration is required by law and may be completed online at

In 2012, there were more than 37,000 new registrations, a record number for one year.  NOAA’s registration database has more than 360,000 registered beacon owners.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at: and


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Relieve Cabin Fever with a Good Read This Winter

Now that the holidays are over and it’s too cold to enjoy boating to its full extent, why not keep your boating skills sharp through reading and re-education.

For some heavy reading, the consummate compendium on boating and seamanship is “Chapman Piloting,” the 66th edition published by Hearst Marine Books. This comprehensive resource is recommended by both the U.S. Power Squadron and the USCG Auxiliary as a reference.

“Chapman Piloting” covers all the basic topics of boating and seamanship (weather, handling, docking, anchoring, knots, etc.), a broad review of related information, and the etiquette of proper boating, including flag display and dockside behavior.

I would recommend this publication to any boater, new or experienced, who is interested in pursuing the details of boating and seamanship. It makes a complete library almost by itself.

Chapman Piloting : Seamanship & Small Boat Handling (66th Edition)
by Elbert S. Maloney, Charles Frederic Chapman, Published by Hearst Books, Reviewed by: Dr. Steve Batson
You can order Chapman Piloting from right now

If you have been following the BoatSafe Blog, you know that I have published a couple of articles warning of the dangers of relying solely on GPS as your primary navigation source. Why not use the winter to learn or relearn additional navigation skills, to get you from one place to another without depending on GPS?

The Nautical Know How navigation course is a combination of a printed text/workbook for home study, sample and real time chart work, online animated demonstrations and testing, and email instructor assistance.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Introduction to Navigation
  • Understanding Latitude & Longitude
  • Reading the Nautical Chart
  • Finding Latitude, Longitude & Distance
  • Finding Direction
  • Distance, Speed & Time Calculations
  • Getting to Know Your Magnetic Compass
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Two & Three Bearing Fixes
  • Running Fixes
  • Finding Set & Drift
  • Estimated Position
  • Finding Course to Steer
  • Finding Relative Bearings
  • Tide and Current Calculations
  • Publications: Coast Pilot, Light List, Local Notice to Mariners
  • Publication Excerpts
  • Putting It All Together
  • Final Exam

For additional information and to order the course go to:

If you’re more in a philosophical mood you might want to check out the following:

First You Have to Row a Little Boat : Reflections on Life & Living
by Richard Bode
cover Jon Ayers sends the following review:

It’s really a book about life, in which the author relates what he learned through his experiences with small boats while growing up on the south shore of Long Island, and how those experiences guided him later in life.

In a questionnaire sent three years ago to all owners of Nonsuch yachts, which generated some 300 responses, this book was mentioned as a favorite more than any other.
It’s what I would call a ‘dear’ book, in that there is no single overpowering message, but when you finish it, you realize that you have thought a great deal about your own life. You can order this book from

If your boat sports an outboard motor you might want to read: The Outboard Boater’s Handbook : Advanced Seamanship and Practical Skills by David R. Getchell , Sr. (Editor)
The Outboard Boater's Handbook: Advanced Seamanship and Practical SkillsOwners of larger boats have their bibles, but, until now, outboard boaters have been neglected. This comprehensive manual shows you how to go places and do things you never thought possible in a small outboard motorboat. Covers all the popular types – and some alternative craft – as well as methods that might change your entire boating outlook.
Topics include

  • judging a boat’s potential based on design and construction
  • how to upgrade an older boat
  • how to handle a little boat in big seas, surf or shallow water
  • how to navigate
  • how to read the weather
  • how to head upriver or offshore
  • how to trailer your boat
  • how to manage and equip it for camp cruising
  • how to care for boat and motor

You can order The Outboard Boater’s Handbook from

When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday SpeechWhen a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There’s the Devil to Pay : Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech

by Olivia A. Isil, Paperback, Published by Intl Marine Pub

Ever wondered about the origin of big-wig, flogging a dead horse, mind your P’s and Q’s, or three sheets to the wind? These commonly used colloquialisms all have nautical backgrounds and entertaining histories. This collection of more than 250 of these fascinating words and phrases also includes yarns, legends, superstitions, weather lore, poetry, rhymes, songs, and more.

You can order When a Loose Canon Flogs a Dead Horse from

For other books recommended by visit:

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Coast Guard Warns Boat Owners of Danger From Excess Snow and Ice

The Coast Guard is advising boat owners about the danger posed to their vessels by the recent and continuing snow storms and severe icing.

The Coast Guard has responded to several incidents recently where recreational or small fishing vessels sank at their pier or mooring due to excess weight from snow and ice. With the accumulation from this week’s significant winter storm, more vessels may be at risk.

“Harbormasters, marina owners and operators, and owners of recreational or small fishing boats still in the water should consider examining their boats for excess snow and ice,” said Capt. Verne Gifford, commander Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. “If safe to do so, they may want to remove some snow and ice to to prevent sinking from the extra weight. Owners may also want to consider removing their boats from the water altogether.”

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The fact is that some things just disappear and no one knows where they go. There must be a stash of single socks and gloves somewhere in the heavens.

The same thing happens over time on your boat. So the winter season is a good time to check your onboard tool kit and spare parts to make sure none of those have disappeared into sock and glove heaven. That will give you time to replace what’s missing before your spring boating debut.

Every vessel should have a basic mechanic’s tool kit onboard. This kit should include, at minimum, the following:


  • Socket set – 3/8 drive (3/8″ – 13/16″)
  • Open and box wrenches (3/16″ – 1″)
  • Screw driver set – slotted & Phillips
  • Crescent wrenches – 8″ and 12″
  • Pipe wrench – 1 3/4″ opening
  • Vise grips – 8″
  • Pliers – regular and needlenose
  • Channel locks
  • Assorted allen wrenches
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • DC test light
  • Volt/ohm meter
  • Utility knife
  • Hacksaw and blades
  • Tape measure
  • Spanner wrench(oil/fuel filter)
  • Drill and bits
  • Assorted punches
  • Spark plug wrench


  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Wire #10 and #14
  • Tie wraps
  • Electrical tape
  • Assorted screws, nuts & bolts
  • Two-part epoxy
  • Wooden bungs, assorted sizes
  • Silicon
  • Assorted electrical connectors
  • WD-40 or slick lube


  • Fuses, assorted ratings
  • Bulbs, every type used on board
  • Oil filters
  • Fuel filters
  • Air filters
  • Impellers
  • Belts
  • Hose clamps, assorted
  • Hoses
  • Flexible fuel line
  • Oil
  • Transmission fluid

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Safety on the Ice – Barely and Very Carefully

Provided by Vincent Pica Commodore USCG Auxiliary First District for the

Here’s how the story goes. In the dead of winter, two duck hunters and their trusty hunting dog drive their brand new Range Rover out on to the ice of Lake St. Clair, and, seeing that there were no open leads to entice migratory birds to land, take out a stick of dynamite, light it and throw it as far out on the ice as they can. The plan is simple. The dynamite blows a substantial hole in the ice; they get back in the car and run the heater until the migratory birds arrive. They step out with their shotguns full of bird shot and bag much of the flock. (continues after the photo)

Ice fishing Safety
Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

So, as the dynamite stick is flying through the air, the dog takes off after it, thinking that a game of fetch is exactly what will make his day. Grabbing the lit stick of dynamite in his mouth, he turns and starts running back to his master and fellow hunter. This of course alarms the hunters no end. Seeing that waving their arms wildly and shouting, “no! no! no!’ isn’t working, they fire their bird shot at the charging dog – striking fear into a bewildered Fido. Fido turns to his only source of cover – the car. Running under the car to hide, all is fine until he burns his rump on the still-hot exhaust pipe. As he yelps and takes off running again, the dynamite stick, which was left behind with the yelp, explodes. This sends the brand new Range Rover, in many pieces, to the bottom of Lake St. Clair.

Funny – but only apocryphal as every Coast Guard station north of the 40th degree of latitude was telling that story a couple of winters ago, swearing that one of the locals swore to them that they knew somebody that was related to somebody who knew the dog owner.

But some of us do fish and/or hunt on the frozen lakes, creeks and bays when we can’t boat. Please heed the following from the US Coast Guard:

Ice is unpredictable and dangerous. While the Coast Guard understands winter recreation on the ice is a tradition in many places of the country, it is important to take safety measures:

  • Always check the weather and ice conditions before any trip out onto the ice. Ice thickness is not consistent, even over the same body of water. 
  • Always tell family and friends where you are going and when you are expected to be back, and stick to the plan. 
  • Use the buddy system. NEVER go out onto the ice alone. 
  • Dress in bright colors. Wear an exposure suit, preferably one that is waterproof, and a personal floatation device. 
  • Carry a whistle or noise-making device to alert people that you are in distress; carry a cell phone and/or a VHF-FM radio in order to contact the nearest Coast Guard station in the event you see someone in distress. 
  • Carry two screwdrivers or a set of ice awls. If you fall through the ice you can use these items to help get yourself out. They are more effective than using your hands.

Remember, hypothermia is a killer and it sneaks up on you with woolen slippers. Cold water safety presentations by the Auxiliary are available to local organizations and can be arranged by contacting the Coast Guard Auxiliary District Public Affairs Officer via their Web site.

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On the water and in distress? Use your VHF, not your cell

New technology, better range and reliability can mean the difference between life and death.
Story by USCG Petty Officer 1st Class John D. Miller

_D05-logoGreg Arlotta’s voice turned grim as the boat beneath him slipped below the 37-degree waters of the Delaware Bay in the early morning darkness of Dec. 23, 2010.

“When this [cell] phone gets wet, I’m dead,” Arlotta told a 911 operator in the Sussex County, Del., Emergency Operations Center.

Arlotta’s foreboding was prophetic. He drowned some time that morning before rescuers could reach him. Unfortunately, Coast Guard boats and helicopters were delayed precious minutes because Arlotta and the mate aboard the doomed Sea Wolf called the wrong people with the wrong technology. Instead of hailing the Coast Guard on a VHF-FM radio at the first sign of distress, they waited until that was no longer an option and dialed 911 on their cellular phones.

“911 operators do a great job, but they don’t always know the questions to ask” for a maritime search and rescue case, says Geoffrey Pagels, a Fifth Coast Guard District Search and Rescue Specialist based in Portsmouth, Va. “A Coast Guard watchstander can get the necessary information right away . . . and if he has the information in his hands immediately, there can be a helicopter spinning in 5 to 10 minutes.”

“There is no time to lose. Every moment counts. I don’t care if it’s a half a minute.”

In this case, the nearest help was at least 31 minutes away by boat and 36 minutes away by air. Pagels estimates only 67 minutes separated Arlotta from unconsciousness and then death. As hypothermia started overwhelming Arlotta’s ability to stay alert, 13 precious minutes passed as operators attempted to get the Coast Guard on the phone and pass along the appropriate information.

“Is anyone injured?” asked the 911 operator.

“No, not yet,” said Arlotta portentously.

There’s no app for that

Cellular devices seem capable of doing almost anything thanks to the advent of smartphones and downloadable applications. This versatility and cell phones’ portability are leading many recreational boaters to have too much faith in them as the sole means of communication on the water, especially in emergency situations.

In fact, Arlotta’s death following the sinking of the Sea Wolf is part of an alarming trend of maritime cell usage that Pagels and other Coast Guard personnel say is complicating search and rescue cases.

“Cell phones may have gaps in coverage, especially in coastal waters,” leading to dropped calls and bad reception, explains Dennis Sens, the Fifth Coast Guard District’s Boating Safety Program Specialist. Though some phones are equipped with GPS transmitters, that capability may be misleading when it comes to locating a vessel in distress, says Sens.

“Even if cell phones have a GPS transmitter, tracking down a cell phone signal is a very involved process. We don’t have that capability in our command centers, and that information is not easily obtainable from the cell phone companies—if they do have it—because of privacy concerns. All this research takes time, and during this process, things are happening on the water.”

Even though VHF-FM radios are not required by law to be carried on board a boat, Sens and Pagels recommend all recreational boaters, even in the smallest vessels, not leave the dock without VHF-FM and use it at the first sign of distress. Calling 911 with a cell phone should not be ruled out in case of an emergency, but both experts agree that using a VHF-FM for distress calls is a surer way to get the help you need, faster.

“VHF is your direct link to the Coast Guard because the watchstanders at small boat stations and at the Sector monitor those radio channels,” says Sens. “You’ll be talking directly to the element of the Coast Guard that launches boats and planes,” and that watchstander can speak with you to get more information.

Moreover, Pagels says, other nearby commercial and recreational vessels may be monitoring the airwaves and can lend a hand or communicate directly with the vessel in distress.

Can you hear me now?

VHF-FM radios come in handheld models, similar in appearance to walkie-talkies, and fixed-mount units that can be installed in or above a boat’s dashboard. Regardless of choice, VHF-FM technology makes these radios more suitable for a marine environment than a cell phone.

Like cell phones, VHF-FM radios use line-of-sight transceivers to transmit and to receive information, but VHF signals are much stronger than the signals of most cell phones. Handheld VHF radios can transmit using up to 6 watts of power, and fixed-mount units transmit using up to 25 watts of power. Connect the radio to an antenna mounted on the bridge or to the roof of a boat, and now the VHF has a range of up to 25 to 30 miles, says Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy Pendergrass, an electronics technician assigned to the Coast Guard’s Electronics Support Detachment in Portsmouth, Va.

“With cell phones, range depends on the manufacturer and where the tower is,” he explains. “But guys who take cell phones out in their boats don’t know that. There’s not a boundary line they draw in the water. They just go fishing and then realize they don’t have any service anymore.”

In addition to VHF-FM’s greater range and reliability in offshore environments, VHF radio batteries typically have longer lives. Built-in units will power on as long as a boat’s battery supply remains functional, and the batteries for handheld VHF-FMs will last from 7 to 20 hours depending upon the model and manufacturer. Pagels says in a pinch, a search and rescue controller could send text and receive text messages to a cell phone with a dwindling battery, but as the case of the Sea Wolf illustrates, every minute counts.  Do you really have time to be using a keypad while sinking in water that is 37 degrees?

Taking the search out of search and rescue

Pagels says boaters would be particularly remiss not to take advantage of the new technology associated with VHF-FM that could expedite their rescue. He points to Rescue 21, the Coast Guard’s new direction-finding radio communications system, as an example.

“In the time it takes a boater to say ‘Mayday, Mayday, Mayday,’ and identify himself three times, we have a line of bearing that we can start searching right away. All Rescue 21 needs is more than three seconds of a transmission, and we’ll get it and send out a Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert other vessels on the water.”

That’s because Rescue 21 identifies the location of callers in distress via towers that can triangulate the source of a VHF radio transmission and generate lines of bearing to that signal. Furthermore, the range of Rescue 21 extends to at least 20 nautical miles from shore.

In contrast to the National Distress and Response System it replaced, Rescue 21 is also digital, which means it is compatible with Digital Selective Calling, a safety feature standard on all built-in VHF-FM radios manufactured after 2011 and a feature on some handheld units. At the touch of a button, a DSC-equipped VFH radio will send an automated distress call with a unique Maritime Mobile Service Identity number that is available for free online through BoatUS, Sea Tow, and the United States Power Squadrons. Your vessel information will be sent automatically to other DSC-equipped vessels as well as the Coast Guard. Connect the DSC-equipped VFH radio to your GPS, and it will also send your exact position to the Coast Guard.

But like any safety equipment, a DSC-equipped VHF-FM radio will not work if you’re not using it. If you can’t connect the GPS to the radio, have a professional do it for you, advises Pagels. However, “an MMSI is better than nothing, I’ll have a name and telephone number, so if I know who it is and what boat it is, we have a place to start.”

VHF-FM radio owners also need to re-register the MMSI if they buy a used radio or boat, lest an emergency transmission “result in the misleading shuffle, where we’re calling the old owner or looking for him or her” and not the boater in distress, adds Pagels.

DSC-equipped radios cost less than one might imagine. Many, says Sens, are less than the cost of new smart phones. Given the comparable price but the incomparable advantages of VHF-FM, it seems that on the water, VHF is the smarter technology.

101209-G-0450H-105 - Locating devices

A digital selective calling VHF-FM marine-band radio, set to channel 16, is shown energized for operations at Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay. DSC radios allow for a digital transfer between radios versus voice transmission which allows mariners to instantly send an automatically formatted distress alert to the Coast Guard, provided the radio is registered with a Maritime Mobile Service Identity number and connected to a compatible GPS unit. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandyn Hill.


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Happy New Year!

Hate to start off the new year with a negative message but…This is just stupid on soooo many levels.

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