Sin the Third: Misuse of VHF Channel 16
Channel 16 is reserved primarily for emergency and boating safety communications. Using Channel 16 as a “calling channel” or channel to hold conversations is strictly prohibited. every channel has a purpose. Just because your radio might have more than 50 channels, it doesn’t mean you are allowed to use them all.
Tip: Unless you’ve prearranged to call others on a specific ship-to-ship channel (such as 68, 69, 71, 72 or 78A), use Channel 9 as your calling channel to contact another station. Then, mutually arrange to switch to a shipto- ship channel that isn’t in use.
Sin the Fourth: Failure to keep communications brief
Unlike while on your cell phone, you’re sharing a few VHF channels with thousands of other boating radio users. Aimless, long-winded chitchatting ties up the frequency you are on and forces others who might need to get a message through to stand by and wait until you’re finished. Keep your on-air conversations short.
Tip: If you want to sound like a pro on the radio, learn to use certain words. Pro words (see “VHF Vocabulary”) are a sort of verbal shorthand developed to abbreviate communications and make what you’re saying crystal clear. Check out the sidebar for a list of the most common and useful.