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Old 11-18-2011
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How many monitor VHF 16 while sailing?

It's seems to me that few of the other sailors I have sailed with or talk to, monitor channel 16 on a regular basis while sailing. This concerns me, because in my relatively short sailing career, I have come to the aid of two other Skippers, one who was sinking, the other was disabled. Though they were in my general area, I would have never known about either of them had I not been monitoring 16.
Last week, I heard a Mayday from a 52 foot boat which was sinking off the Coast of San Francisco. The Skipper climbed into a dingy, and the boat went down in about ten minutes or less. I know this because I heard a tug boat Skipper on 16, who was watching the event and talking with the Coast Guard, while towing a barge. A fishing boat came on the scene, as did a Coast Guard helicopter. It soon became apparent to me that I was more aware of what was going on than the Coast Guard station that initially responded to the Mayday. Though they must have dispatched the Helicopter, they were not even aware it, or the fishing boat were at the scene! In fact, they seemed confused in general as to what was happening, as if they hadn't heard everything I had. Ironically, they should have heard more than me, as I was a long way from the incident. My point being - often, other skippers are in the best position to be the first responders. They can't respond if they are not aware of the situation. Do most of the skippers you know monitor 16?

Last edited by L124C; 11-18-2011 at 05:32 PM.
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