Coast Guard safety tips

Coast Guard, Doug King runs through the safety basics.
Steve Lague: Nobody wants to consider the possibility of something going wrong before we've gone out on the water. But as we know, it does happen. But by having the right safety equipment in good working order, and an emergency plan that you've practiced, you will be well-prepared for those times when things do go pear shaped. Doug, can you run us through a few things that the skipper can do to ensure that the passengers are prepared on those times that something does go wrong?

Doug King: Yeah. Look, the first thing they should do before they even leave the dock is to show people where the life jackets are and how to put them on correctly, because an ill-fitting life jacket is just as good as not having one at all. The second thing, they should make sure that all their passengers know where the safety equipment is. You know, where are the flares? Where's the EPIRB? Where's anything that they may need to grab in a hurry if they get themselves into any trouble?

And the other most important thing before they even leave home, is they need to let someone know where they're going, how long they're going to be away, so if they're not back within a reasonable amount of time, someone can come looking for them.

Steve Lague: One of the ways you can do this is by radioing into your local marine authority, too. Can you just let us know how that procedure works?

Doug King: Yes, you can. All of the local marine agencies monitor the emergency channels, channel 16 on VHF and channel 88 on medium frequency radio, and they can actually call in and log themselves in and out if they choose to do so.

Coastguard Melbourne CG 7 departing Patterson River this time with seven persons on board, and we'll be operating within one nautical mile of Patterson River. Over.

Steve Lague: So, you're out fishing. You've got the radio on. Should you leave it on a particular channel?

Doug King: Absolutely. With VHF, it should be on channel 16. This is the emergency call channel. You also use channel 16 to instigate a call, but because it's an emergency monitored channel, once you've gotten in contact with the other vessel or whoever you're trying to call, you should switch frequencies to get off the emergency channel. On MF frequency, that's channel 88, and you need to do the same. Once you've established contact, move onto another channel.

Steve Lague: And then at the end of the day, you've told everybody where you are. Do you need to log off again?

Doug King: Absolutely. You need to tell people that you're back, otherwise someone is going to come looking for you.

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