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Well, at least as far as the Sea Tow automatic radio check goes, it seems to be a thing of the past: "The Sea Tow Automated Radio Check System is no longer available." Radio Checks | Sea Tow
That's awful news. I wonder if this is recent. It worked fine on Narragansett Bay through September.

The automated response started with something like "Thank you for hailing SeaTow's automated radio check (then inserted the recorded hail you made) and went on with an advertisement or sometimes a PSA on lifejackets or similar. I always just hit the ch16 button, the moment I heard my transmission. No doubt hard to sell ad space. Thought it was good name recognition for SeaTow in what is a competitive commercial towing industry.
 

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As others have mentioned, you monitor ch16 and use only for hailing and emergencies. If you are trying to reach another boat or shore facility on ch16, you must give them a channel to switch to, immediately upon them acknowledging your hail. This is commonly abused. Especially, for a newb, it would help to put a sticker on the mic or nearby, with the appropriate ship to ship or ship to shore frequencies. You can not just pick any one that your radio will tune to.

I don't often need to do this, but I will sometimes first monitor that other channel, just to know it's not clogged with traffic, then hail the party I'm trying to reach.

 

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Barquito
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Learn all the proper radio rules/etiquette, but, don't make it complicated. You don't need to be perfect in what you say. There are so many morons broadcasting on Ch. 16 that you will sound like Noam Chomsky if you even get close.
 

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There are so many morons broadcasting on Ch. 16
Amen. The fact that the OP will make any effort, puts them in the upper quartile already.

"Hey deya fiya-boat, how bout lighten up the hoses, so we can get some pitchers........" Heard on ch16, while watching the RI airshow in the Bay. Numbnuts. [trying to convey the accent with spelling is hard to do] USCG was making announcement literally every 5 minutes telling people to cut it out.
 

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Mostly common sense, common courtesy and a few guidelines.

1. Channel 16 is for calling and emergencies ONLY! Monitor 16, listen for a few minutes to make sure the channel is clear, no emergencies, wait for a quiet break and call who you're trying to reach.

2. Call using the boat name, repeating 2-3 times then say your boat name.

3. When you receive a reply from the other boat immediately name a working channel to switch to. 68 is common. Check FCC regulations and local preferences for which channel. You will be looking for a ship to ship channel unless you are calling a marina or other shoreside facility.

4. Bridge tenders, commercial traffice, etc use their own channels. Again check local usage to confirm but channel 13 is common.
Perfect advice!
I have found the worst offenders for staying on 16 to be cruisers that seem to be traveling together. They seem to think that a short conversation is ok. And as Mark said, speak slowly.
 

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Lastly (given your other thread), knowing how to use your radio is important, but understanding how to read channel markers and getting the hang of basic electronic navigation is even more important, especially in the skinny water of the Chesapeake. You can avoid drawbridges and marina stays until you feel ready, and otherwise your radio is an emergency device.
 

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I believe the USCG requested that 16 be reserved for emergency communications in USA and designated 9 as the calling channel.
It is my understanding that channel 16 and all other "special" channels such as 12 for pilots, the vessel to vessel communications, etc. are part of an international treaty and not individual to any country.
Things like a cruiser's net are set up on vessel to vessel communications channels and are not regulated, but permitted by individual countries.
 

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I believe the USCG requested that 16 be reserved for emergency communications in USA and designated 9 as the calling channel.
I think what you may have confused is the USCG asked to have Channel 9 added as a supplemental recreational hailing channel, but it's use is not mandatory, nor changed the usage of Channel 16. As a practical result, unless you know the party you're trying to reach is already monitoring ch9, hailing is still done on ch16. As soon as the counter party acknowledges the hail, the hailing party simply says, "please switch and answer chXX", ie of the recreational channels.
 
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I think what you may have confused is the USCG asked to have Channel 9 added as a supplemental recreational hailing channel, but it's use is not mandatory, nor changed the usage of Channel 16. As a practical result, unless you know the party you're trying to reach is already monitoring ch9, hailing is still done on ch16. As soon as the counter party acknowledges the hail, the hailing party simply says, "please switch and answer chXX", ie of the recreational channels.
It's been my experience that channel 9 has become the default hailing channel. All of the marinas, yards, restaurants, pump out boat, etc. around here (mid CT shoreline) advertise that they monitor channel 9. The official use of channel 9 may not have changed, but as a practical matter, I think it has.
 

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It's been my experience that channel 9 has become the default hailing channel. All of the marinas, yards, restaurants, pump out boat, etc. around here (mid CT shoreline) advertise that they monitor channel 9. The official use of channel 9 may not have changed, but as a practical matter, I think it has.
Shore facilities and harbormasters usually publish the channel they monitor and I agree that ch9 is very common for them. 11 and 14 are not unheard of either, for harbors. For generally hailing, ship to ship, or no published freq, I still think it's ch16. However, both are legit options, it's just a question of who you're trying to reach and what they are monitoring. Some radios scan multiple freqs. We just listen to ch16, maybe for the entertainment. :)
 

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My personal favorite is after listening to the hot mic static for a few minutes, someone else coming on and saying "hot mic, hot mic, hot mic..." Dude. The guy with the hot mic is the ONLY person that cannot hear you.
I've always wondered about this as I have heard both the USCG and the Canadian Coast Guard attempt to find the culprit. In the back of my mind I guess I assumed that their overpowered transmitters could blast through but on reflection, that's silly, isn't it...
 

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We just listen to ch16, maybe for the entertainment. :)
After so many years of having one or more VHFs blasting in my ears, ours never goes on in the anchorage, unless the wife gets up early enough for the morning net.
There was one evening when we witnessed a ferry engine room explosion and fire, and we turned on the VHF to organize the yachts in getting the passengers off the boat. No official help ever did arrive.
 

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While not the entertainment I was referring to, I've never been on the water in New England without hearing a boat taking on water somewhere. It makes an impression to respect maintenance and the ocean. Most, however, did something stupid.

One entertaining situation was a fishing boat that came to rescue a small skiff off the south side of Block Island. No place for that little skiff to be, especially with a bunch of young kids, no life jackets, no registration numbers, no radio, nothing. Listened to the disdain in the Fisherman's voice, as he was responding to questions and informing the USCG how stupid these kids were. The USCG asks him if we would be willing to take them to shore. He replied, "I'm not a taxi service". I think he did it anyway.
 

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While not the entertainment I was referring to, I've never been on the water in New England without hearing a boat taking on water somewhere. It makes an impression to respect maintenance and the ocean. Most, however, did something stupid.

One entertaining situation was a fishing boat that came to rescue a small skiff off the south side of Block Island. No place for that little skiff to be, especially with a bunch of young kids, no life jackets, no registration numbers, no radio, nothing. Listened to the disdain in the Fisherman's voice, as he was responding to questions and informing the USCG how stupid these kids were. The USCG asks him if we would be willing to take them to shore. He replied, "I'm not a taxi service". I think he did it anyway.
One of the very first incidents I (my captain on a commercial fishing boat) responded to was a guy in a Sears aluminum boat that had capsized in the east Bay. We pulled 3 of the 5 of his dead children out of the water while he hung onto the boat. No life jackets. I couldn't imagine how he could live with himself after that.
 

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This seems to be a Chesapeake focused discussion about VHF channels, but FWIW in Florida bridges are hailed on 9 and locks on 13.

And as an aside, it’s good etiquette when hailing locks or bridges to switch your radio to low power so you’re not stepping on folks calling the next one that could be only a few miles away.
 

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It's been my experience that channel 9 has become the default hailing channel. All of the marinas, yards, restaurants, pump out boat, etc. around here (mid CT shoreline) advertise that they monitor channel 9. The official use of channel 9 may not have changed, but as a practical matter, I think it has.
It apparently all depends on where you are... In Charleston, the only people listening to Ch 9 are the bridge tenders...
 

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Make sure your radio is set to the correct UIC channel mode (US, International, or Canadian). This tripped me up a few years back when my boat, new to me, had its radio set to International unbeknownst to me. Channels 16 and 9 worked fine for me here in the US. But when I had to communicate with a commercial dredging operation so I could safely get out of my harbor they told me to switch to channel 69 (or some channel like that). My radio, being in International mode, would then not communicate with them. Long story short, I dragged my hull over some hard PVC tubes they had laid out and it broke my knot meter transducer paddlewheel. $200 fix. 100% my fault. Read your radio manual(s) to assure you have your radio(s) UIC modes set properly.

-Doug
 
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