SMART4SEA Conference & Awards
2018
Learn More
SMART4SEA Conference & Awards
2018
Learn More

USCG: Know your high seas communications equipment

communications
Example of Single Side Band High Frequency Radio / Credit: USCG

Recent inquiries by US Coast Guard Marine Inspectors indicated that a large number of vessel operators and ship masters continue to rely on outdated high seas communications frequencies when communicating with the US Coast Guard.

In view of this, USCG issued a Safety Alert, to remind all mariners of the appropriate use of Single Side Band High Frequency (SSB-HF) radios when attempting to contact the Coast Guard outside the normal range of Very High Frequency-Frequency Modulation (VHF-FM) marine radios.

First of all, USCG underlines that it has discontinued monitoring the SSB-HF frequency of 2182 KHz over four years ago; nevertheless, many mariners continue to attempt to contact the Coast Guard using this frequency.

In addition, many mariners attempt to contact the Coast Guard using their EPIRBs, cell phones, SAT phones, and even NOAA weather electronics, despite each of these communications devices has its own limitations and specific functional capabilities.

It is noted that SSB-HF radios equipped with digital selective calling (DSC) are capable of triggering an alert at Coast Guard Communications Command and are an especially reliable means for initiating communications with the Coast Guard during distress situations.

The Coast Guard keeps watch on the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) SSB-HF frequencies 4125, 6215, 8291 and 12,290 kHz in place of the old international radiotelephone distress frequency 2182 kHz. 

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