Originally Posted by Faster
We listen to 16 as well, usually via cockpit handheld on the rationale that we wouldn't likely to be close enough to help if we can't hear it on the handheld. Occasionally we'll turn on the base if necessary, or if we hear something interesting developing.
We used to 'pick a channel' with our cruising friends to avoid the clutter of 16, but came to realize that listening on, say, 68 or another comm channel we got just as tired of listening to sometimes endless irrelevant conversations between others.
Now we play "you gotta hear this boat name" everyday. Also on 16 the EQ can be quite high when we hear of boaters on the sandbanks (out of danger, of course), out of fuel, simply lost, or simply clueless (eg: Coast Guard: "Vessel calling 'hello', this is......)
One of my major beefs locally with Ch 16 is the power of the USCG stations in Pt Angeles, say, blasting over everything even 60 miles away... do I really need to know about a local issue in Pt Angeles harbour when I'm in central Georgia Strait?? Every 15 minutes?
I have to agree, I get USCG station in Woods Hole MA when I'm in LI Sound. Overkill IMHO, but when your in trouble I guess you want the entire world looking for you.
When I had to hail the USCG while taking on lots of water, I used my cell phone. Why? Because I was controlling the situation, did want the USCG aware of the problem, but DID NOT want Seatow, Towboat US, and every other company calling me on the VHF and coming up alongside trying to sell me a tow or a pump.
The USCG put out a Pan Pan and I had the tow companies bothering me anyway.
Imagine trying to control a leak, keep a clear head, sail your vessel whilst having to reply to Seatow on the VHF and talk to Towboat US when they came up alongside to sell me a membership that would not mean squat since I would be considered a salvage operation.
I know they have their place, but....
Anyway, back on track, I monitor 16 on a hand held for the same reason as Faster.