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New VHF Safety Network launched


Image: Coverage of the new marine safety communications network will extend from Fowlers Bay on the far west coast to across the Victorian border

The new $1.5 million marine safety communications network has been officially switched on, providing coverage right across South Australian coastal waters.

The 24/7 VHF network, built by the State Government, is arguably one of the most significant improvements in Marine Safety ever to have been implemented in South Australia, Director, Transport Safety Regulation, Brian Hemming said.

“It will be the most robust and extensive marine safety system ever operated in South Australia,” he said.

“This new network operating as ‘Coast Radio Adelaide’ will provide comprehensive 24/7 VHF coverage of the State’s coastal waters from beyond Fowlers Bay on the far west coast and right across the Victorian border, reaching out between 30 and 50 nautical miles.”

“The 14 new remote base stations across the state will also provide coverage of all Gulf Waters and water surrounding Kangaroo Island.”

“This will provide boaties with a vital safety-net on VHF marine channels 16 and 67, which will be continuously monitored 24 hours a day every day as of Monday, 12 September.”

“Since December, volunteers at the SA Sea Rescue Squadron have been trialling the new network and the new operator consoles to finalise procedures for this official state-wide rollout in September.”

“The new network builds on the work of volunteers who tirelessly monitor the airwaves for boats in distress.”

To ensure 24-hour coverage, Flinders Ports will monitor the network from the hours of 7.00 pm to 7.00 am. Volunteers will continue their dedicated monitoring throughout the day.
 
All boats – both recreational and commercial vessels – are encouraged to use this network if requiring urgent assistance.

Boaties should continue to use channel 16 as the primary channel for distress and safety calls.

Users are reminded to keep 16 clear by calling and switching to a working channel.

The Australian Maritime College produces a Marine VHF Radio operator’s handbook available on its website.

Please refer to the Marine radio page on sa.gov.au for details on coverage in South Australia.
 

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