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TOPIC: Best Practices in Communications at Sea

Best Practices in Communications at Sea 1 year 8 months ago #2265

  • DariaBlackwell
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Several recent rescues and catastrophes at sea have raised the question of what is the best means of communicating when crossing oceans. Some sailors are moving away from SSB/HF and toward Sat phone and texting services like IridiumGo and Yellow Brick Tracker. With the changes in technology and the advent of DSC and GMDSS, it raises the question of what are the best practices in communications at sea. If you have experience with the various pluses and minuses of the different technologies available, please weigh in with your observations here. We will at some time attempt to formulate a point of view based on the collective experience of our members.

There is an excellent thread on the value of SSB and the shortcomings of Sat Phone on the Forum here:

There is also a good thread on the IridiumGo here:

An excellent review of SSB/DSC here on Frank Singleton's page based on an exhaustive review by Allan Riches of Brunei Bay Radio:

And the main page for GMDSS is here also compiled by Allan Riches:

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Daria Blackwell
Rear Commodore
PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms &
Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
Last Edit: by DariaBlackwell.

Best Practices in Communications at Sea 10 months 2 weeks ago #3134

  • Dick
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Hi everyone,
This may more correctly be placed elsewhere in the Forum so this data may be posted elsewhere.
Recently I received the following from an OCC sailboat recently returned to the US to update our crib sheets with changed phone numbers (the SSB data remains the same as it was 10+ years ago). I am a firm believer in crib sheets, especially those that may be useful in emergencies. Most of us get dumber and more tunnel-visioned as anxiety rises, so the following posted near your communications/navigation area might be wise.
I would, in an emergency, use these freqs and/or phone numbers anywhere (and including) the north coast of South America to the Northwest Passage and well out to sea on the North Atlantic. Anywhere close to Bermuda, I would want them to know My first thought in an emergency is to let someone competent know I am in trouble.
Please note that I believe the following to be accurate, but intend the following to be thought of as a template and for skippers to confirm the details for themselves.
SSB- USCG Monitors
Ch 7 Internaltional Distress Hailing freq 4125 2300-1100z
Ch 8 International Distress Hailing freq 6215 24/7
Ch 9 International Distress Hailing freq 8291 24/7
Ch 10 International Distress Hailing freq 12,290 1100-2300z

USCG 24 hour telephone #s: (country code for the United States is 001 and I do not know whether an 800 number -free call- can be accessed from a foreign phone. The others certainly can)
Emergency: 800-323-7233
Atlantic Coordinator: 757-398-6700
RCC Boston: 617-223-8555
RCC Norfolk: 757-398-6231
RCC Miami: 305-415-6800
Please also note: These HAM nets can be very useful in an emergency. Even unlicensed operators can and should use these frequencies in an emergency.
o HAM NETS: North America Maritime Net, 14,300 from apprx. 1600-0400 hrs with likelihood of someone listening at all hours. Intercontinental Maritime Net (international), 14,313 at other hours. UK M/M Net. Covers UK waters, Med & Atlantic. 14.303+/- QRMhz @ 0800hrs zulu & 1800hrs zulu.

Lastly, in the last decade in Europe I always have close at hand:
• Falmouth Coast Guard +44 132 631 7575 (inside England 0 132 631 7575)

I very much request that any errors discovered as one checks out this information be distributed and that the above be considered a template.

Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
The following user(s) said Thank You: simoncurrin

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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