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Man talking on VHF

It has been called the "Lifeline to Land" – the VHF radio that provides safety at sea by the ability to communicate with land. Information important to mariners is broadcast on VHF and it allows them to remain in contact with the outside world.

VHF is used by all categories of merchant vessels and recreational craft all over the world and has three main objectives; distress radio, communication radio and receiver for Maritime Safety Information (MSI).

Swedish coastal radio system (includes VHF) covers the Swedish coast and the three main lakes (Vänern, Vättern and Mälaren) and is owned and operated by Swedish Maritime Administration.

Distress radio
A distress communication system may prove invaluable if a vessel suffer damage or if someone onboard needs medical assistance. In an emergency, VHF is the best choice so that you can always call for assistance quickly.

Digital Selective Calling (DSC)
DSC is an internationally developed automatic distress alert system. With DSC, distress messages and other messages (routine, safety) can be broadcast on a special channel (70).

Distress calls (Mayday Mayday)
VHF radio makes it possible for you to contact the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) any time on the distress channel 16. A distress call on channel 16 is also heard by other boats and ships in the area that can assist if needed. Distress call is made according to valid procedures.

As long as the Mayday situation is ongoing, other vessels are required to stay off the radio on Channel 16. This remains in force until the JRCC cancels the Mayday silence by broadcasting ("Silence fini") Note: "Silence" in this context is pronounced as in French "Seelonce."

Pan calls (Pan pan)

Pan calls (prounouced "pahn") are used when the vessel or people are in trouble or ill but there is no immediate danger to life. The call is made on channel 16 according to valid procedure. If necessary, other channels may be used.

Securité messages (Securité, Securité, Securité)

Securité messages are broadcast on Channel 16.

Securité messages are used to report navigational warnings or weather warnings. They are broadcast by Sweden Traffic. They are broadcast on the traffic channels in the Swedish coastal radio system.

Medical assistance
If someone on board has an accident or becomes ill, you can always get medical advice and assistance from a doctor via VHF radio. The doctor can assess the need for medical care: is oral advice enough? Should you head for port, or should the person in distress be picked up by a search and rescue team? Communication via VHF makes rapid actions possible.

Communication radio

You can use a VHF radio to communicate to other recreational craft equipped with a VHF radio. You can also communicate with pilot boats, the coast guard, police boats, maritime search and rescue units and other vessels in commercial traffic. You can also communicate with operators on land, such as ports and bridge guards.

Phone calls via VHF
You can order ship-to-shore phone calls via coastal radio station Stockholmradio. This allows you to call home to family and let them know how you are – and please remember to do that. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) receives many calls during the summer from worried relatives who have not heard from their loved ones as agreed. You can easily avoid those situations by using a VHF radio.

Information and warnings

Sweden Traffic broadcasts navigational warnings every forth hour and weather reports twice a day. Additionally, Stockholmradio broadcast a detailed weather report, specially produced for mariners in coastal waters, twice a day during the summer period.

Certificate required to use VHF
In order to use VHF, Short range certificate (SRC) is needed. For more information, please contact NFB (The Swedish Council for the Education and Training of Yachtsmen).

Permit required to use VHF
In order to use VHF on a vessel, a permit is required. The permit is issued by the Swedish National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS). An application is needed to receive a permit.

VHF subscription

For more services, please contact Stockholmradio for more information about subscriptions.

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