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Sea Tow in Broward Initiates Free Automated Radio Check System

In an effort to promote safe boating, Sea Tow Ft. Lauderdale is now providing to the boating public, a first of its kind, free automated marine radio check system, on VHF marine channel 27, 24/7/365.

Many boaters continually request radio checks on VHF channel 16 which is the hailing and distress frequency, monitored by the Coast Guard and Sea Tow, 24/7.  Radio checks on channel 16 are a safety issue and a violation of the Communications Act.  Often, distress calls to the Coast Guard are interrupted by boaters requesting radio checks. Imagine a boater who is having a medical emergency or sinking, then tries to use his radio to call for help but can’t get through due to boaters doing radio checks on channel 16.

Captain Tim Morgan, Vice President of Sea Tow Ft. Lauderdale says “We’ve noticed over the years a dramatic increase in boaters using channel 16 for radio checks. We found it necessary, especially with the amount of boaters in southeast Florida, that we establish a system which will relieve channel 16 of people doing radio checks.” 

Sea Tow Ft. Lauderdale, through its ongoing partnership with MariTel, decided to institute this free service to the boating public in the Broward County area.  To conduct an automated radio check, turn a VHF marine radio to channel 27, key the microphone and ask for a radio check, just as you normally would do. The system will record your radio check and then replay your transmission back to you, allowing you to hear how well your radio is working.

This free service has been up and running, in Broward County since Friday, June 4th, 2010 and within the first three days, the service has been used 1765 times.  Our ultimate goal is to have all boaters requesting their radio checks on channel 27, leaving channel 16 open and available to be used as it should, for hailing and distress.

For more information, contact Donna Martinson with Sea Tow Ft. Lauderdale at (954) 525-0037 or via email at dmartinson@seatow.com.

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