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Old 05-12-2022, 05:01   #1
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Why You Need VHF Radio

A sinking 22 foot powerboat was rescued near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Here is a quote from the U.S.C.G.:

We heard the original callout from the vessel asking for help and immediately began preparations to launch, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Cassidy. This case was successful because the mariners were prepared with a VHF radio, and both the station and multiple good Samaritans quickly responded.

https://chesapeakebaymagazine.com/4-...dYiT89GqXZnHaQ

Apparently, a nearby boat with VHF helped the U.S.C.G. locate the boat after they lost contact with the distressed vessel. Another nearby boat pulled the distressed boat away from rocks toward which it was drifting.

Lesson for boaters: do not listen to the idiots telling you a cell phone is sufficient for safety, communication and navigation on your boat. Install and/or carry a VHF radio, and monitor Channel 16 at all times. Your life, or the lives of others, may depend upon it.
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:11   #2
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pirate Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

A+1.. don't be a cheapskate..
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:18   #3
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

What kind of idiot would ever say a cell phone was sufficient?
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:23   #4
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailer_Med View Post
What kind of idiot would ever say a cell phone was sufficient?
Here is just a recent example of such posts on a thread: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...-270366-5.html
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:25   #5
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by Sailor Sailor View Post
Lesson for boaters: do not listen to the idiots telling you a cell phone is sufficient for safety, communication and navigation on your boat.

A corollary is: Do not listen to sailors whose congested home waters have seen cell phones start to supplant VHF, who are tempted to believe that the rest of the world is the same way.
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:26   #6
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

I believe this one may contain the same idea:

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ly-270355.html

Apparently, smartphones have replaced the need for navigation, VHF radio, paying attention to what you are doing, etc...
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:31   #7
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
A+1.. don't be a cheapskate..
Back in the early 70's, I lost the prop on my outboard trying to replace a fragmented shear pin in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.

The boat was a 14' aluminum V bottom.

There were three of us 17 years old onboard. It was my latest boat. (with 25 hp Evinrude outboard)

It was just getting dark when I lost the prop.

No VHF and cell phones were not invented yet. (no money for a VHF)

I think we had one or two PFD's onboard.

No lights.

Luckily it was a calm night or we may have all died.

At 3am were were awakened by noises far off. It was the search party.

We had no way to signal them so I wrapped and oily rag on the end of an oar then poured gasoline on it. The 50:1 mix for the outboard.

Excess went into the bottom of the boat.

Then we lit it.

WOOSH! What a light!

The boat didn't catch fire and we were saved

I lost the prop when I slowed and stopped to see if it was still attached. I got the shear pin replaced and put the prop back on ..... this in 2' swells. I was getting a little seasick with my head down like that.

So as it was now dark I couldn't find the cotter pin for the cone so I went on without. The shear pin I had to make out of fishing hooks.......just like I did at the dock earlier in the day

We may have made it in if I didn't stop to check the prop.........but it would have been about 10 miles....
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:47   #8
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Why You Need VHF Radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailer_Med View Post
What kind of idiot would ever say a cell phone was sufficient?


Its certainly better then Nothing it has the advantage that the shore can contact you. Whereas vhf can be hit and miss. ( better now since DSC )
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Old 05-12-2022, 08:47   #9
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

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Its certainly better then Nothing it has the advantage that the shore can contact you. Whereas vhf can be hit and miss. ( better now since DSC )
As one of a number of ways to make contact: great. As the only: total non-starter.

They work sometimes but are fragile, slippery, and only allow one to one comms.
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Old 05-12-2022, 09:03   #10
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

Cell is no substitute for VHF, but certainly a useful adjunct. Nothing wrong with having both.

VHF is way cheaper than cell, so cost can't be an issue.
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Old 05-12-2022, 09:39   #11
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

When you call the CG on the VHF, they almost always ask for a cell phone number to call. They'd much rather use the phone to get the details, easier to understand and things like your name don't get broadcast. If you had the correct CG phone number, you could easily call them but nobody in your area would know you need help. The CG will eventually put out a VHF "Marine Assistance Request Broadcast" asking if anyone in the area can help, but if you made the initial call on VHF you might already have a Good Samaritan on the way. In a life threatening situation like fire or sinking, this can be important, seconds count. If I hear someone close by say the sinking or something, I'm going to be on my way there at best speed.
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Old 05-12-2022, 09:43   #12
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
When you call the CG on the VHF, they almost always ask for a cell phone number to call. They'd much rather use the phone to get the details, easier to understand and things like your name don't get broadcast. If you had the correct CG phone number, you could easily call them but nobody in your area would know you need help. The CG will eventually put out a VHF "Marine Assistance Request Broadcast" asking if anyone in the area can help, but if you made the initial call on VHF you might already have a Good Samaritan on the way. In a life threatening situation like fire or sinking, this can be important, seconds count. If I hear someone close by say the sinking or something, I'm going to be on my way there at best speed.

Right but it is usually quite a while into the rescue before the CG will ask for your cell phone number simply to finish up getting all the needed details usually for documentation of the event etc.
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:38   #13
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

A lot depends on where you are.

The nearest CG station is in Monterey 22 miles away, whereas the Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol and lifeguards are part of the 911 system. We advise people to use 911 when they are within 3 miles of the harbor. Response time is usually less than 15 minutes for the Harbor Patrol, vs an hour for the CG.

The CG took 45 minutes to respond to a man overboard in Monterey, half a mile from their base. He died.
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:46   #14
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
When you call the CG on the VHF, they almost always ask for a cell phone number to call. They'd much rather use the phone to get the details, easier to understand and things like your name don't get broadcast. If you had the correct CG phone number, you could easily call them but nobody in your area would know you need help. The CG will eventually put out a VHF "Marine Assistance Request Broadcast" asking if anyone in the area can help, but if you made the initial call on VHF you might already have a Good Samaritan on the way. In a life threatening situation like fire or sinking, this can be important, seconds count. If I hear someone close by say the sinking or something, I'm going to be on my way there at best speed.
Not in any way being critical but just to comment on the above. A handful of countries including the USA, GB and Canada have fantastic professional and well resourced coastguard services. Many countries don't.
And so a call by cell phone to the local Coastguard may not even be answered.

Irrespective, if a boat is sinking or on fire then help is needed by which ever boats are closest to it. And the only way any of those might be contacted is by an open call on VHF. And of course we hope that all boats are monitoring the emergency channel.

Just to recount a little story. Many years ago I was out sailing with a very lovely guy who lived the simple life on his wooden yacht. His ideology was no electrics. He felt that he didn't need a VHF because he would be responsible for himself, and so would never make a call for help. I suggested that if the boat we had in view (at that time about 150 metres away) with a family aboard including 3 young children had an emergency he would not even hear their calls for help, and obliviously perhaps ignore a tragedy that might have been avoided if he, on the closest vessel, heard their VHF calls for urgent assistance.
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Old 05-12-2022, 12:50   #15
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Re: Why You Need VHF Radio

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Not in any way being critical but just to comment on the above. A handful of countries including the USA, GB and Canada have fantastic professional and well resourced coastguard services. Many countries don't.

And so a call by cell phone to the local Coastguard may not even be answered.



Irrespective, if a boat is sinking or on fire then help is needed by which ever boats are closest to it. And the only way any of those might be contacted is by an open call on VHF. And of course we hope that all boats are monitoring the emergency channel.



Just to recount a little story. Many years ago I was out sailing with a very lovely guy who lived the simple life on his wooden yacht. His ideology was no electrics. He felt that he didn't need a VHF because he would be responsible for himself, and so would never make a call for help. I suggested that if the boat we had in view (at that time about 150 metres away) with a family aboard including 3 young children had an emergency he would not even hear their calls for help, and obliviously perhaps ignore a tragedy that might have been avoided if he, on the closest vessel, heard their VHF calls for urgent assistance.


Actually the opposite can be true. Ms y nations are slow to respond to vhf orientated alerts. Howefcrr if you contact them by phone you can relay a lot more info then by vhf. You can also check back to see if they are responding

They key is to carry appropriate communications resources suitable for the intended sailing area. No one method is superior
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