Stop using Ch16 for radio checks
Radio checks should be primarily carried out with local marinas and nearby vessels rather than the coastguard, says the Cruising Association (CA).
It is urging boaters and sailors to think before calling Ch16 after gathering anecdotal evidence of a proliferation of radio check requests, especially in the Solent and Falmouth.
Speaking on behalf of the CA’s Regulations and Technical Services Committee, Robin Baron said using Ch16 for a radio check was not the ‘best use of coastguard (HMCG) resources at a time when we know they are hard pressed with other more important issues including Search and Rescue.’
‘The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has confirmed that radio checks should primarily be conducted with local marinas and nearby vessels. Radio checks with HMCG should not be a first resort as it ties up the air and increases operator workload,’ stressed Baron.
The CA said its research has confirmed that radio checks with other vessels or shore stations at 1W power and at a distance of around 8 miles provide a much better test of antenna and radio set performance.
Its recommendation is that radio checks should be carried out primarily with marinas and other shore stations, such as the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) on Ch65 or with other vessels.
Radio checks can be carried out with NCI stations