One observation I have made during my
time as Commander, is there is a need among the boating community to understand who and how to call in the event of a marine
you have a marine emergency your first and best way to get assistance while on your vessel should be to call Prescott Coast
Guard Radio on Channel 16 on your Marine VHF Radio. The modest investment in a marine radio and getting a certificate to operate
it can pay off in a big way in improving the safety of your boating experience. You can also contact Prescott by dialing *16
on your cellular phone. Cellular service is not always good on the lake and not all cell phone companies offer the *16 service.
On Channel 16 other boaters will hear your distress and begin to respond. If you use *16 that will not happen, so using VHF
Marine Radio is strongly recommended.
Mark Dowinton, TOWARF Past Commander
A marine radio is a great investment in boating safety. We recommend fitting a modern marine VHF DSC radio
to your vessel. DSC means Digital Selective Calling. VHF-DSC radios function as a normal VHF radio, but are also capable of
sending and receiving digital messages on VHF channel 70. By lifting the cover and then pressing the red distress button for
at least 5 seconds, a digital distress call will be sent to the Coast Guard and vessels in the vicinity that are also
equipped with VHF-DSC. If you connect a GPS to your VHF-DSC, this digital distress call will contain an up-to-date position.
Do I need a licence to operate the radio?
By law, recreational boaters using a maritime radio
in Canada must hold a Restricted Radio Operator's Certificate (Maritime).
The Canadian Power and Sail Squadron is the designated agency by Industry
Canada for obtaining your Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime). We recommend the Marine Radio Course tought by the Oakville Branch along with all the other boating safety courses available from them.
The Maritime Radio course teaches
emergency radio procedures, marine radio operating techniques to the learner. As well, the course prepares you for the Restricted
Operator Certificate (Maritime) with DSC Endorsement examination.
Do I need a licence for my marine radio station?
Industry Canada has exempted
Canadian vessels that are not operated in the territorial waters of another country from the requirement for a station licence.
So, for example, if you plan to visit the United States you should apply to Industry Canada for Maritime Mobile Radio Station
Licence for a Voluntarily Fitted Ship.