Tuesday, May 28, 2013

VHF Radio Mayday Southeastern Alaska: Listen in at Juneau

Above: Rafted tow set-up. Note details on how towline is threaded under assistant's aft deckline. Pete Smith illustration.
If you've never used a VHF, best way to learn how to use one is to listen to how others use them. Licensed captains' calls are notable for their pithy brevity.


Here's an example of how a licensed fishing vessel captain reports that he's in danger of sinking.

Mostly his call is precise and brief. Listen in as he calls the Juneau, Alaska Coast Guard to report he's in danger of sinking.



The call escalates from a pan-pan call to a mayday as the captain and crew prepare to abandon ship.

Two Coast Guard watchstanders handle the call.

A helicopter is enroute. 

Key to remember: give the Coast Guard your location early on.

They need to know how many people are with you. And to better assess your situation, they need to know how much rescue gear you have with yoiu, and what kind.
They'll ask.

Don't be surprised if another boater breaks in on your  call to offer help. That's the beauty of VHF radio Everyone in the area tuned in can respond.

Or buy and read  David Burch's Emergency Navigation: Improvised and No-Instrument Methods for the Prudent Mariner.  
About $15.00 at Amazon.

Above: Bulldogging a rafted tow to prevent a tanden-towed kayak from getting blowing ashore in an onshore wind.
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