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First off what Doug said: read the manual!
Second Get a book, Chapman's Piloting and Seamanship. You can get new or used copies on Amazon, or if you have a local bookstore that isn't in lockdown, they probably have. Since you are on Chesapeake bay, Any marine store in Annapolis or many other ports will have it. Chapter 20 covers Communications.

Or as was suggested take a boating course from your local Power Squadron. Online boating safety course, boating license test, certification

As of now you do not need a station license: (there is a difference between a personal FCC license and a Station License) or an FFC 3rd class lic to operate a mrine VHF in the US. But if you decide to take a trip to Canada, or anywhere else you must have a station license.

some do nots: Do no use Citizens Band lingo on VHF. It immediately marks you as not knowing what you are doing.
Do not use it as a personal chat line. Use your cell phone.
Do not do radio checks on Channel 16;
Do's:
16 is for emergencies and initial contact. As has been said here, call on 16, when they respond switch to another channel such as 22. In other words keep 16 clear.
Channel 13 is a working channel for ship to ship contact and is used by most working vessels,
Your VHF should have an autoscan feature that automatically scans for traffic and switches to the active channel. This is good because you will not only hear the Coast Guard and others on 16 but (learn what these are) also pan pan, securite, and mayday mean. Also local forecasts.

Most VHF radios today have a feature called DSC. To use this you have to get a MMSI number. You can get a number free from BOATUS or the Power Squadron but it is administered by the FCC. You program the number into the radio and create a profile of your boat on line (read the radio manual) So if you press the May Day button it automatically sends the info on your boat to the Coast Guard. If the radio has built in GPS features or is connected to a GPS enabled device (such as a chart plotter) it will also automatically send your location. It's a lot easier if you just get a radio with the GPS built in. If you want to see how effective this is, download an app to your phone called vessel finder or look up vesselfinder.com on your computer. You can see where any vessel who has an MMSI or AIS(used by commercial vessels) is located anywhere in the world.

Do not let children play with the radio. Explain to them how to use it in an emergency (most now have a button to press for a May Day. (That's french, M'aidez, which means HELP ME) But make sure they understand it is not a toy or used for calling their friends. That's what cell phones are for. see Boating Safety - Education- Training - Equipment - Rules
and get one of these from your local Coast Guard Axiliary
138301
 

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Remember the days of the Marine Operator? You could hail them on a dedicated channel and place a phone call that everyone could listen to. Now that was entertainment! Mostly guys being beaten up by their wives for being late. Heard one say they were fogged in, it was horrible out there, they wanted to get back, but couldn't. It turned out to be the boat next to us in the mooring field and it was clear blue skies and unrestricted viz. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #43
First off what Doug said: read the manual!
Second Get a book, Chapman's Piloting and Seamanship. You can get new or used copies on Amazon, or if you have a local bookstore that isn't in lockdown, they probably have. Since you are on Chesapeake bay, Any marine store in Annapolis or many other ports will have it. Chapter 20 covers Communications.
Thanks, The guy I bought my boat from gifted me one of those, I have been avoiding it but i will look at that chapter (it is big book).

I think he gave it to me becasue I didn't actually haggle over the price, i had been looking form months and it was a reasonable deal compared to the other boats I had looked at. I am regretting not haggling now that i am stuck at home unemployed because of Covid, but at least I am not trying to figure out to FIX up the wrong boat with little money.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
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.
That was sort of the plan, but the MayDay parts and how to contact to avoid other boats or avoid being hit by other boats has a lot of appeal to me
 

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I think he gave it to me becasue I didn't actually haggle over the price, i had been looking form months and it was a reasonable deal compared to the other boats I had looked at. I am regretting not haggling now that i am stuck at home unemployed because of Covid, but at least I am not trying to figure out to FIX up the wrong boat with little money.
Then you probably also need the other essential boat book too: Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Handbook. :)
 

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When panic sets in training it seems goes out the window...
When a person is properly trained, panic doesn't set in unless they are one of the ones that no amount of training will prevent them from "doing the fish" in a crisis situation.
Best not to have this type of individual on board when flying sorties over hostile territory or when the ship is breaking apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Then you probably also need the other essential boat book too: Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Handbook. :)
I will put it on my list, but i have like 17 boat books righht now everything from how to buy, to all the knots, to what life is really like on a cruise ( i assume there are less girls in bikini's than the Youtube videos) to specificlly about thingas like electrical and sail shape... niot that i will NOT buy it, but i am working up to it
 

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Discussion Starter #49
When a person is properly trained, panic doesn't set in unless they are one of the ones that no amount of training will prevent them from "doing the fish" in a crisis situation.
Best not to have this type of individual on board when flying sorties over hostile territory or when the ship is breaking apart.
immediate danger is not my trigger... for example, I am actually water phobic, i drowned when I was 3 in a swimming pool and was revived, ( I aassume wiht nop brain damage) everytime I am water deeper than i can touch I feel a rush of pure heart punding panic, but as they say not being scared is not courage, courage is knowing fear and being able to do something anyhow, so I became life guard certificated in high school and now I am sailing, but yeah I swimming is not my thing and I like LIFE VESTS a lot.
 

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Nothing particularly courageous about not being panicked. On the other hand I think it is virtually impossible for a panicked person to do anything courageous.
 

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I will put it on my list, but i have like 17 boat books righht now everything from how to buy, to all the knots, to what life is really like on a cruise ( i assume there are less girls in bikini's than the Youtube videos)
Sailing is meant to be about fun... not a Masters Degree.

Flick through the books to see if theres those dirty photos. If none just go sailing :)


:)
 

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( i assume there are less girls in bikini's than the Youtube videos)
Especially not in cooler climates. I have been all over this country on the water and the only place I saw anything like that was in Miami Beach.

As for Nigel Calder's book, If you're going to do any extensively sailing, the book is a must. I have known him since the 80's and he is not only a super qualified sailor but a real expert on electrical systems. But at this point your needs are a lot more basic. You need to learn the basics first. After that then get Nigel's book (actually just one of many he has written).
BTW I also had a near drowning experience when I was 5. But I took up being a sailor as a profession (Coast Guard) and the comments about training are right. If you drill and drill until you can do it in your sleep, under stressful situations the training kicks in and you just do it. Afterwards you get the shakes and wonder "what just happened".
 

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Some time back I ended up putting together a short VHF guide. Much of the protocols you'll see are derived from the ITU radio regulations and sort of filter out into verious websites and books like a game of telephone. There's also a link in there to some cards (link here too) that you can modify as needed and print out to have by the radio.

A final bit: there's some difference in how people view using the radio for collision avoidence. The UK, and others who follow their thinking take the line that people need to simply follow the ColRegs, and wasting time in the radio can lead to "vhf-assisted collisions". On the US side people are more open to using the radio. If you do, you need to be very sure that the ship you're speaking to is the one you think it is, and not some other ship nearby. Similarly, you need to be sure that they know who you are, and aren't thinking some other boat is you. As the saying goes, "assumption is the mother of all f---ups".
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Some time back I ended up putting together a short VHF guide. Much of the protocols you'll see are derived from the ITU radio regulations and sort of filter out into verious websites and books like a game of telephone. There's also a link in there to some cards (link here too) that you can modify as needed and print out to have by the radio.
Just saw this, This is great tahnk you!!! My only question was did you use Sundown as an example, for instance if I check my radio but hknow no one, would I just be " Radio Check, Radio Check, this is MD6994, anyone please respond." A version of that is how we checked our walkie talkies when I was a tech.
 

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You just need to be on a valid channel (ie 9), key the mic and say "Radio Check XXXXX". The Xs are your location. It's polite to include that, as it also tells everyone else how well they are receiving.

The proper response to a radio check is by giving a rating, on a scale of 1-5, of volume and clarity (ie Loud and Clear would be 5 by 5). Sometimes the transmission is loud enough, but hard to read.... 5 by 2. Most just use laymans terms and say either loud and clear, or broken, or barely readable, which are fine. Just never do this on Ch16.
 

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p.s. If responding to a radio check, it's also helpful to indicate you're location as well, so the "checker" will know just how good a check it was. Could the boat right to you. :)
 

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Just remember, all the advice given here is extremely local specific.

Most countries there is no automated radio checks; there is no hailing on #9; port frequencies / bridge freqs are different

In some countries the locals use the VHF like a phone as they never had phones to connect the islands and they still use VHF to discuss the washing, shopping etc.

Some countries / areas, cruisers have their own frequencies, and radio nets.

Most countries the VHF is not policed by authorities.

:)
First time we went to the Caribbean I was shocked to find taxi cabs using marine VHF for dispatch. Sure made them easy to call from the boat though.
 

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First time we went to the Caribbean I was shocked to find taxi cabs using marine VHF
One of my fav memories was sitting down at the bar at Saba Rock, for the first time, and seeing a VHF radio on the bar back! You could call in for moorings and dinner reservations. Word is they are reopening soon. That's a long rebuild from Irmaria. Can't imagine any place more vulnerable, as the entire place sits on an island rock, at sea level, fully exposed to the ocean. It was erased.
 

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I think it was Grenada where you had to call on the VHF if you wanted lobster that night. They would then VHF the fishing boat who would chuck some kid overboard and grab you one.
As for bars... they're not a sailors bar if they don't have the VHF on!
 

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don't worry about etiquette, let the tight ass yachties worry about that

instead work on talking slow and clear and not putting the mic in your mouth while doing it!!!!!!
 
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