VHF Marine Radio Channels
- 6 Intership Safety
- 7, 8 Commercial
- 9 Boater Calling. Commercial and Non-Commercial.
- 10 Commercial
- 11 Pilot Boats
- 12 Port Operations
- 13 Intership Navigation Safety (Bridge-to-bridge). Ships >20m length maintain a listening watch on this channel in US waters.
- 14 Port Operations
- 15 Environmental (Receive only) Used by class C EPIRBs.
- 16 International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.
- 17 State & local government maritime control
- 18, 19 Commercial
- 21 U.S. Coast Guard only
- 22 CG Liason and Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts. Broadcasts announced on channel 16.
- 23 U.S. Coast Guard only
- 24-28 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
- 65, 66 Port Operations
- 68,69,71 Non-Commercial
- 72 Non-Commercial, Intership only.
- 73, 74, 77 Port Operations
- 78 Non-Commercial
- 81 U.S. Government only - Environmental protection operations.
- 82 U.S. Government only
- 83 U.S. Coast Guard only
- 84, 85, 86, 87 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator).
- 88 Commercial, Intership only.
Procedure for VHF Channel 16 MAYDAY
Source: U.S. Coast Guard
If you have a VHF marine radio, tune it to channel 16. Unless you know you are outside VHF range of shore and ships, call on channel 16 first.
- Distress signal "MAYDAY", spoken three times.
- The words "THIS IS", spoken once.
- Name of vessel in distress (spoken three times) and call sign or boat registration number, spoken once.
- Repeat "MAYDAY" and name of vessel, spoken once.
- Give position of vessel by latitude or longitude or by bearing (true or magnetic, state which) and distance to a well-known landmark such as a navigational aid or small island, or in any terms which will assist a responding station in locating the vessel in distress. Include any information on vessel movement such as course, speed and destination.
- Nature of distress (sinking, fire etc.).
- Kind of assistance desired.
- Number of persons onboard.
- Any other information which might facilitate rescue, such as length or tonnage of vessel, number of persons needing medical attention, color hull, cabin, masks, etc.
- The word "OVER".
Stay by the radio if possible. Even after the message has been received, the Coast Guard can find you more quickly if you can transmit a signal on which a rescue boat or aircraft can home.