The U.S. Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert on some Digital Selective Calling (DSC)-equipped VHF marine radios that feature automatic channel switching. The feature may create an unintended hazard by automatically switching from a working channel that might be in use at the time to Channel 16 when the VHF marine radio receives a DSC distress alert, distress alert acknowledgement or other DSC call where a VHF channel number is designated.
Because this unsafe condition can happen at any time, The Coast Guard strongly encourages disabling the automatic channel switching feature when maintaining a listening watch, communicating on the designated bridge-to-bridge radiotelephone or while monitoring the vessel traffic services (VTS) channel.
The Federal Communications Commission requires all DSC-equipped radios certified after March 25, 2009, to allow the auto channel changing to be disabled. Radios lacking this feature should not be used for bridge-to-bridge or VTS communications.
Marine VHF makers affected by this alert include Raymarine, Standard Horizon and Uniden.
For additional information on the alert and list of affected manufacturers, please click here.