last summer, in the Ionian
sea in Greece
, I lost
my handheld VHF DSC radio
. It fell off in the water
but unfortunately I did not realized it immediately and then, a few hours later, I berthed in a marina and went home.
The day after, I got a phone
call at home from the Hellenic coast guard telling me that a distress
call was received from my boat. They could not really tell me the location of the distress
neither what type of distress (EPIRB? DSC
?). Initially I thought it was the EPIRB
maybe getting somehow wet and activated. In fact, I have a friend whose EPIRB
activated inside the boat due to leaking rain water
. So I contacted the SAR/SAT center to verify if they received a distress from my EPIRB and they said no.
I then checked immediately the boat and realized the missing handheld VHF
. I reported that to the authorities, but I had no way to stop it.
The GMDSS procedure would require to send a cancel distress call on VHF, but I was not the one sending out the distress neither could receive it.
The next day, the coast guard received again a DSC distress call and this time they were able to pinpoint the location. They seized the handheld VHF to a kid who, apparently, was able to activate the distress button.
Even though I was not strictly responsible for the distress, they still asked me to pay a penalty before returning me the VHF radio
for not having it reported immediately (How could I have done so if I was not aware of??).
Anyway, I think I will never program again my MMSI number in any handheld DSC VHF. The chance of loosing it or getting it stolen are too high, while traditional distress on channel 16 is still quite effective. Contrary to an EPIRB distress, which is received always by the country of registration
SAR/SAT center, the DSC distress could be received by anyone, and there is no way to notify all the possible receivers of a lost
or stolen VHF.