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post #1 of Old 05-16-2013 Thread Starter
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VHF Protocol

I was sailing a couple of weeks ago and the Coast Guard and Vessel Assist were extremely busy on Channel 16. This was interesting because conditions were relatively mild. However, listening to them made me think of a couple of questions.
Why don't we use our registration numbers (for non documented vessels) instead of the boats name to communicate on VHF? Saying "Charlie Foxtrot 1034 Sierra Zulu" (could be abbreviated to 1034 once communications are established) would be so much more effective than "Gone Fishin" (for example). Especially for a Mayday. At least the CG could look up who the vessel belongs to and what type of boat it is, if the skipper was unable to transmit any other information. Sometimes, the boats name is so silly, the CG obviously feels silly saying it, so refers to the boat as "Vessel calling coast guard" through the entire conversation!

Also, when issuing Securites, the CG often gives the GPS coordinates of the navigational hazard or vessel in distress, without a landmark. If you are not near a chart this doesn't do you any good. Twice skippers responded to the CG on 16 asking what area the distressed vessel was in, only to discover that were much too far away to help. If the CG gave the Latitude and Longitude and simply added "Off Hunters Point" (for example), it would eliminate this.
Am I missing something?

Last edited by L124C; 05-16-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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