Take two ways to call for help
‘‘If you can’t tell someone you are in trouble, then no one can rescue you,’’ says Maritime NZ director Keith Manch.
A variety of communications equipment can be used on the water – make sure you carry at least two that will work when wet.
The most common used by boaties are distress beacons, cellphones, VHF radio and flares.
Distress beacons are one of the most reliable ways of signalling that you need help.
EPIRBs (emergency positionindicating radio beacon) are best for boats and other activities on water.
PLBs (personal locator beacon) are used in the bush and mountains. PLBs are now often also used on the water but make sure they are a type that can float and operate when wet.
‘‘We know that smartphones are now the most common communications equipment used by recreational boaties,’’ Manch says.
‘‘They will only work if they are dry – so keep them in a waterproof cellphone bag – and near the coast within range of cellphone towers.’’
Benefits of smartphones include access to useful apps like MetService Marine for weather forecasts and Marine Mate for lots of information about tides, boat ramps, fishing rules etc.
VHF radio lets you talk to other boaties and authorities on land.
A waterproof handheld radio, attached to your lifejacket or belt, will be usable even if you end up in the water.
A larger VHF radio fixed to your boat has a greater range and
‘‘Smartphones are now the most common communications equipment used by recreational boaties’’
is better for regular communication, but you will not be able to access it or use it in an emergency where it is damaged by water, such as a capsize.
Flares create an intense bright red flame or an orange plume of smoke; these are highly visible from the air and on sea, making it easier for rescuers to spot.
However, flares are only useful when seen by someone who can give help or alert others.
Because each flare burns only for a short time, you should try to maximise the chances of your flare being seen.
maritimenz.govt.nz , enter ‘‘communications’’ in the search field.
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