Marine (VHF) Radio.
Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) requires that your boat is fitted with a marine radio whenever you are operating beyond Sheltered Waters - generally more than 2 nautical miles from land. For Tasmanian boaters it makes sense that you fit a VHF marine radio.
Marine Radio as Safety Equipment
Your marine radio is as much a part of your safety equipment as your lifejackets and flares. Correct use of marine radio in an emergency might put you in contact with a vessel that is already on the water, able to assist, and maybe, just minutes away.
While the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) requires operators of VHF radio communications equipment to be licensed, the Radiocommunications Act makes provision for use of radio equipment by unlicenced operators - in certain emergency situations. (See Radiocommunications Act 1992, Chapter 3, Part 3.1 Devision 1, Section 49)
How much will it cost?
Expect to pay $300 - $400 for the equipment.
Tasmanian Marine Radio Network
With assistance from MAST, Tas Maritime Radio* has established a first class, volunteer, marine radio network that offers radio coverage from Sandy Cape down the west coast to Port Davey, around the south coast, up the East Coast through to Flinders Island and beyond. The network also covers the Tasmanian highland lakes.
For more information go to the Tas Maritime Radio website: www:tasmaritime.com.au
As a minimum you need to know which channels to use, what range you can expect, what to say and, most importantly, how to effectively call for help in an emergency.
Boaters should consider investing in a Marine Radio course. You'll learn how to get the most from your radio, and will have the opportunity to qualify for one of a number of radio operators 'licences', depending on your needs.
If you study privately, or do an online course, we have invigilators, authorised by the Australian Maritime College, Office of Maritime Communications who can organise and supervise your exam.
Tas Maritime Radio (TMR) Membership
If you're a regular boater, you might consider an annual subscription to Tas Maritime Radio. For the cost of around 20 litres of fuel you will be allocated a simple callsign (an "RG" number) that will identify you to the TMR operators. You can 'Log On' when going out and check that your radio is working OK at the same time. Don't forget to 'Log Off' when you return.
Your contact details, description of your boat and the safety equipment you carry will be kept on file for instant access in an emergency.