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Radio Communication and Emergency Information

Our two boats, Capricorn (affectionately, "The Goat") and Tigger, are registered with the Kioloa Coastal Patrol and have the following call signs that are valid all along the NSW coast. Alternatively, the coastal patrol might ask you to give them the boat registration number (in big letters on the side of the console).

Capricorn: 58460
Tigger: KRS-72

Log in to the coastal patrol before you go on a boat dive

When launching a boat in range of a coastal patrol it is good practice to call in (log in) to let them know who you are, how many people are on board, where you are planning to go and when you expect to be back from a dive.

A pdf of VMR stations, phone numbers, call signs and coverage the NSW coast can be downloaded, printed and laminated for use on the boats (correct as of 2012).

  1. Select channel 88, and press the microphone button to talk.
  2. Call the name of the local coastal patrol three times (see the list below for NSW coastal patrols).
  3. Say This is followed by the call sign of your boat repeated three times.
  4. Say Over, release the microphone button and wait for a response. If the coastal patrol doesn't contact you, try again after a couple of seconds.
  5. Once contact with the coastal patrol has been established, they will advice you to switch to another channel leaving channel 88 clear for emergencies.
  6. Switch to the advised channel.
  7. Again tell them the call sign of your boat, then how many people are on board, where you are going and when is you expect to be back from the dive (called ETR or ETA, the estimated time of return or arrival). Plan between 3 and 3 1/2 hours for a boat dive.
  8. Finalise the communication with a Over and out.

Here is an example communication:

Kioloa Coastal Patrol, Kioloa Coastal Patrol, Kioloa Coastal Patrol.
This is KRS-72, KRS-72, KRS-72.
Come in.
Over.
KRS-72, this is Kioloa Coastal Patrol, please go to channel 92.
Over.

[Switch to channel 92]
Kioloa Coastal Patrol, this is KRS-72.
We are a yellow 5 meter rigid-hull with four scuba divers on board.
We are going for a dive around 1 kilometer South-East of Brush Island.
Expected time of arrival at the boat ramp is 15:00.
Over.
KRS-72, this is Kioloa Coastal Patrol, we have logged you in.
Expected time of return is 15:00. Have a nice dive.
Kioloa Coastal Patrol standing by.

KRS-72 over and out.

If your dive trip takes longer than expected and you not be able to radio back in (log off) in time, you should call the Club's shore party, and coastal patrol and extend the estimated time of arrival appropriately.

Log off with the coastal patrol when you return from the dive

If you have logged in with the coastal patrol you must log off with them, otherwise a search and rescue mission will be started!

Similar to logging in with the coastal patrol call them on channel 88 to report your return. They will advise you to switch the channel and then you can let them know you are back safely.

Here is an example communication:

Kioloa Coastal Patrol, Kioloa Coastal Patrol, Kioloa Coastal Patrol.
This is KRS-72, KRS-72, KRS-72.
Come in.
Over.
KRS-72, this is Kioloa Coastal Patrol, please go to channel 90.
Over.

[Switch to channel 90]
Kioloa Coastal Patrol, this is KRS-72.
We are back from our dive with all four divers on board.
Thank you for your services.
Over.
KRS-72, this is Kioloa Coastal Patrol.
Thank you for logging off. Have a nice day.
Over.

KRS-72 over and out.

Name and phone numbers of NSW Coastal Patrol stations

If you do forget to log off, you can contact the local coastal patrol on the telephone number listed on this pdf:

VMR stations, phone numbers, call signs and coverage the NSW coast (correct as of 2012)

Emergency / Distress Signal: "MAYDAY"

All emergency or distress calls have to be made on channel 88.

A Mayday should only be made when you are in grave and imminent danger and require immediate assistance. You should call Mayday three times, then state the name and call sign of your boat, then one Mayday, followed your position the nature of your emergency and how many people you have on board.

You should not use the distress call in situations where an individual person on board your vessel in threatened with immediate danger e.g. a medical emergency. You should make an urgency call (Pan Pan, see below) in these cases.

Here is an example communication:

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.
This is KRS-72, KRS-72, KRS-72.
Mayday.
We are a yellow, 5 meter rigid-hull.
We are one kilometer south of Brush Island.
We have been swamped by a wave and we are sinking.
There are four people on board.
Over.

If you don't hear a reply, repeat the call at short intervals because someone may be able to hear you but you might not be able to receive their reply.

If you hear the Mayday call of another vessel, do not answer but continue to monitor the radio. If the local coastal patrol or coastguard fails to respond to the call you should attempt to relay the message and render any assistance.

Urgency Signal: "PAN PAN"

All urgency calls should be made on channel 88.

Use this signal when an emergency situation exists but there is no immediate danger. The signal consists of the words Pan Pan spoken three times, followed by Hello All Stations spoken three times, then the name and call sign of your boat (again three repetitions), your position, then the nature of your emergency, the number of people on board and their condition.

Here is an example communication:

Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan.
Hello all stations, hello all stations, hello all stations.
This is KRS-72, KRS-72, KRS-72.
We are a 5 meter rigid-hull yellow NAIAD.
We are one kilometer south of Brush Island.
We have one injured diver on board with suspected decompression sickness.
Over.

Safety signal: "SECURITE"

(pronounced: say-cure-e-tay)

All safety calls should be made on channel 88.

This call is used to warn other ships of dangers or hazards, e.g. a navigational or weather warning. While the safety signal and call to all stations should normally be made on a distress channel, the safety message itself however should be made on another channel.

Additional safety equipment on board (in the console)

Emergency contact numbers

000 Police, Ambulance and Fire
1-800 088 200 Divers Alert Network Emergency Services  
(08) 8222 5116 Marine Stinger Advice
13 11 26 Poisoning Information
1-800 641 792 Maritime Search and Rescue

Info from Peter Christen

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