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Old 02-10-2015
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Channel 13: Absolute Must

Having a tugboat captain as an uncle has given me many insights into commercial Vessel traffic. Almost all commercial vessels use channel 13 for communication. They do not go to channel 16 and many times they're not monitoring channel 16 regularly. Many sailing people do not know this and do not communicate with them which makes it difficult for the sailor and the commercial vessel at times. In areas of high traffic like the St. Johns River where large cargo ships, container ships, tankers & tugs come and go frequently regular checking of channel 13 or staying on channel 13 continuously is the best course of action. This would also be the best course of action for any sailor on a highly commercialized route. Large commercial vessels regularly state their position and ask about other vessels presence.

I receive regular thanks from tugboats and other vessels for monitoring and responding on channel 13. They wish that others (sailing vessels) would do the same. There are other commercial channels besides 13. I recommend you know which channel is used in your area.
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Last edited by oceanbrew; 02-10-2015 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

I always monitor channel 16 and 13 for just those reasons. Also having an AIS transponder also helps since I know the actual name of the commercial vessel I may need to make contact with or they with me.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

Good tip! We monitor 16, 13 and 9.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

Except on the ICW I while in the US I monitor 16, 13 and 22A (don't want to miss those right whale warnings...) Except for the Florida bridges I don't find much use for channel 9. Just a reminder that channel 13 defaults to low power on most VHF radios. That is both part of its charm in a crowded port and a frustration when at sea if you don't remember to pump up the power when a ship is a few miles away.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbrew View Post
They do not go to channel 16 and many times they're not monitoring channel 16 regularly.
They are supposed to monitor channel 16 continuously. That doesn't mean they are paying attention to that radio - the human brain is a great DSP and can filter all kinds of things out (guys - just ask your wife *grin*).

I agree with your recommendation though. I call commercial traffic first on 13 unless I'm in a VTS, in which case I use the VTS channel.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

One does not need to be a tugboat captain to know the VHF channel assignments and recommended usage.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Channel 13: Absolute Must

I started this same thread on the cruisers forum...you should see the **** storm it stirred up!!! Hahahahaha...much less civilized than us sailors.
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Old 02-10-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

It may be applicable to USA sailors.

Every country or region of the world has its own local rules and its best to get to know them.
Whatever country, whatever language AIS works.


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Old 02-11-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

I hear commercial vessels hailing recreational boaters on ch16 all the time around here. And vice versa. In fact, the cargo ships that come up the Bay make regular announcements on ch16 and always end with "standing by channel 16,13".

Still, good advice to use 13 if you need to hail them and aren't getting an answer on ch16.
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Old 02-11-2015
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Re: Channel 13: Absolute Must

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbrew View Post
I started this same thread on the cruisers forum...you should see the **** storm it stirred up!!! Hahahahaha...much less civilized than us sailors.
I read the CF thread to see what could possibly be "stirred up" as a rule is a rule. Seemed like a civil discussion to me. Different experiences from different sailing areas were discussed.

And, as mentioned in CF, if your tugboat uncle (or anyone else with a radio installed) does not monitor 16, he is breaking the rule.
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