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Successful trial of $1.5M safety network

26 May 2011

VHF at SA sea rescue

A new $1.5M marine safety communications network is closer to going live with Volunteer Marine Rescue currently trialling the service.

The 24/7 VHF network, built by the State Government, will be the most robust and extensive marine safety system ever operated in South Australia.
The successful trial is proving how effective the new technology is, Brian Hemming, Director Transport Safety Regulation, said.
“Since December, the volunteers have been trialling the new network and the new operator consoles and helping us finalise procedures for the state-wide rollout,” he said.
“When we go live boaties will be covered in coastal waters, out to about 30 nautical miles, from west of Fowlers Bay to across the Victorian border.
“The 14 new remote base stations across the state will also provide coverage of all Gulf Waters and water surrounding Kangaroo Island.”

The new network will build on the work of volunteers who tirelessly monitor the airwaves for boats in distress.
To ensure 24-coverage, a contractor will monitor the network from the hours of 7pm to 7am. Volunteers will continue their dedicated monitoring throughout the day.
All boats – both recreational and commercial vessels – are encouraged to use the network.
Boaties should continue to use channel 16 as the primary channel for distress 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.
Please refer to the marine radio page for details on coverage in South Australia.

VHF radio user