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VHF radios

Synonyms: maritime communications, VHF transmitter

Published 20-08-2010 16:26 - Modified 20-03-2011 14:00

Good VHF use contributes to safety on the water. With a VHF radio can  communicate at sea and on inland waterways with other ships and shore stations (locks, traffic posts, etc.).

By listening watch on VHF, people familiar with what's happening in the environment, which ships there and what maneuvers they make. Using this information, you can choose a safe course. If you are not required yachtsman a VHF radio on board. Public Works recommends using it because it promotes safety. Once you have a VHF radio, you are obliged to listen (inland standard VHF channel 10).

Instead of a VHF radio can also use a (= disadvantage significantly limited radio reception range). In addition, the radio channels with full occupancy abroad are not allowed.

A mobile phone can not replace a VHF. Unlike VHF radios and a cell phone to reach only one body or person. A distress call via VHF radio is heard by everyone who listens in the area. The chance of help is considerably greater. Also has a GSM coverage is not everywhere on the water. The use of a cell in Distress and Safety System is not recommended unless no other means of communication available. Rescue Organizations can figure out where the ship is located.

Channels and block traffic

In areas with blind corners or crossings of waterways, from the RWS provides traffic posts for traffic. The traffic there is responsible for informing, advising and giving clues within the scope of the traffic post. So he creates a safe and smooth flow of shipping.

When you lock or by a traffic post is called, you are obliged to respond and the requested information. This includes a call to a ship-ship channel.
Communication with traffic posts is always through a channel called "block. This is a VHF channel in Europe by traffic heading inland and ships used to exchange messages about the safety of navigation and shipping. A block is indicated by a VHF channel board.
When you sail in a block area and you have a VHF radio, you are obliged to listen on the specified channel block. You can switch back to VHF channel 10 if you leave the block area.


The International Regulations (BPR) and the Rhine Police Regulations (RPR) addressing the rules on maritime radio communications. The main rules are described in the Handbook for the Inland Maritime radio.

Some of these rules are:

  • The use of normal VHF channels, a notification and registration requirements.
  • If you have a radar, a VHF radio is required.
  • The proof of registration and operating licenses are part of the ship's records and shall be provided if you have a VHF radio or have.
  • If the ship is equipped with a VHF, you are obligated to listen on the specified channel (channel or otherwise block the current VHF channel 10);
  • If you are a ship-ship channel or channel block is called, you are obliged, for the safety of navigation, provide necessary information.
  • In providing information, the language of the country where the radio is located are used. In case of communication difficulties is German spoken.

Notification and registration

The use of normal VHF channels, a notification and registration requirements. This is regulated by law. To register you have the operating certificate. After which it must be registered through:
If you or a VHF radio on board have no proof of registration, you are in violation. For additional seagoing pleasure Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment (eg DSC VHF, GMDSS radio, MF / HF, EPIRB, SATCOM, etc.) is also a registration requirement. To control them you have a wider operating certificate is required, namely Marcom B or A. For a combination VHF you should at least be in possession of a Marcom B certificate. More information about the mandatory user licenses can be found on the website of the Radiocommunications Agency.


VHF radioVHF radios and the brand ShipmateMarifoons on Inland Waterways, must be equipped with an ATIS code. ATIS stands for Automatic transmitter identification system. When you send the radio call sign, the ship sent encrypted. Traffic wardens on traffic posts, bridges, locks and harbor masters can thus "see" who they are called. In the case of incidents and accidents can be done by the ATIS identification and location of a vessel easily found. If you buy a new VHF or radio, let the ATIS code programming. These can be found on the registration certificate. When buying or selling a boat, including communications equipment and associated radio identifications is important false identifications of radio programming in the communication to occur. On acquisition of a VHF radio or from someone else, it is also possible to reprogram the ATIS code. Make sure you pass this through the website of the Radiocommunications Agency.

Common abnormalities

For checks and inspections on the proper use and installation of a VHF radio, often with technical defects found:

  • The ATIS code was programmed incorrectly or missing.
  • The automatic power reduction is missing from the radio. Many canals in the Netherlands may only be used 1 watt instead of 25 watts. Using a low power is important for communication in the Netherlands is not flat and busy to bother.
  • The antenna is not functioning correctly. The result is poor range and poor reception. The cause can be: moisture in the antenna cable, bad connector or a damaged antenna.
  • A stuck PTT switch (push to talk) in the VHF receiver. This sends the radio and this can inadvertently cause interference.
  • On large estuaries and the lake is for non-emergency, emergency and safety situations communicated via VHF DSC channel 70.

Three supervisors for maritime communications

By monitoring VHF radio use, the following parties:

Water Police Service
The Water Police Service of the National Police (National Police Agency) has a nautical and police responsible for security, detection and monitoring on the Dutch waters and the North Sea. One of the five key tasks is to maintain and improve marine safety. VHF radio use is a part of.
Contact: 0900-8844 Internet:

Radiocommunications Agency
One of the tasks of the Radiocommunications Agency to monitor electronic communications domain. Maritime communications is a part of. Radiocommunications Agency seeks an interference-free, safe and professional maritime communications. By providing information, listening and random inspections will be carried out at here.
Contact: 050-5877444 Internet:

Rijkswaterstaat is smooth and safe traffic on the network of main waterways, both inland and recreational vessels. Good use radio plays an important role.
Contact: 0800-8002 Internet: