Ask SAIL: VHF Portables on Land

Author:
Updated:
Original:

VHF PORTABLES ON LAND

Q: Our dockmaster tells me that portable marine VHF radios are now permitted for use on land. Does this mean I can use my hand-held on the ski slopes, or talk from the office with boats for weather reports?

Don Hull, New York, NY

GORDON WEST REPLIES

Yes, and no. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its August 2016 Report and Order amended the rule 80.115 (a)(1)-(4) to allow portable VHF radios to be used on shore “adjacent to a waterway” to talk with your own ship about ship’s business. With this in mind, for pleasure craft, you would use non-commercial channels and keep transmissions to a minimum practical time. However, this rule change does NOT allow ski slope operation. Nor does it allow you to gab with any and all ship stations—just shore to your own ship station, like calling from the dock for the kids to pick you up, or calling your ship from a shore-side marine hardware store to see if there are any other parts you need to bring back aboard.

The FCC also makes it clear that this should not be interpreted as a free-for-all on using marine hand-helds ashore between each other. Again, the only permitted shore-to-ship calls will be to your “associated ship station,” and not anyone or everyone to just “yak, yak, yak.” DSC calling on channel 70 is also permitted to minimize Channel 16 traffic.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

April 2017

Related

2.4mR's racing at the 2018 Clagett Regatta-US Para Sailing Championships credit Clagett Regatta-Andes Visual

Host for 2021 U.S. Para Sailing Championships Announced

The 2021 U.S. Para Sailing Championships will be hosted by The Clagett Regatta at Sail Newport, in Newport, R.I. on August, 24-29, 2021, according to a joint announcement from the host and US Sailing. "We have had a very long working relationship with US Sailing and look forward ...read more

Reflections-photo-CMerwarth

Cruising: Reflections of an Old Salt

I am 90 years old, dwindling in mind and body and fear living too long. Twenty years have passed since I last weighed anchor. Still, when a Carolina blue sky is polka-dotted with billowing cumulus clouds and the wind blows fair, I sorely miss raising sail and setting forth. I ...read more

DSC_0145

Waterlines: Solo Sailing

In spite of the fact I came to the sport of sailing alone and untutored, in a boat I acquired on my own, I never really aspired to become a solo sailor. It just sort of happened. All these years later, I still never explicitly plan to sail anywhere alone. I’m always happy to ...read more

01a-DJI_0398

Racing The M32 Class

This year the M32 celebrates its 10th birthday. Swedish Olympic bronze medalist Göran Marström and Kåre Ljung designed the M32 in 2011 as the latest addition to an already impressive portfolio that includes the Tornado, M5 A-Class, M20 catamaran and the Extreme 40. Two years ...read more

01-LEAD-23274-Coastal-Oilskins-GSP

Know how: Cleats, Clutches and Jammers

Since the invention of rope, there has also been a need to belay or secure it. Every sailboat has rope on board so, unless you own a superyacht with captive reels or winches, you’re going to have to find a way to make it fast. (As a side note—and before you reach for your ...read more

9e4d8714-2a8e-4e79-b8f6-c9786aaec4d0

Antigua Sailing Week Announces Women’s Mentorship Program

In partnership with the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association, Antigua Sailing Week is launching a mentorship program to encourage women and girls to join the sport of sailing. President of Antigua Sailing Week, Alison Sly-Adams says, “When we devised the program, we looked at ...read more

01-LEAD-Carmody-Distant-Drummer

Experience: A Badly Snagged Prop in Haiti

When a winter norther blows through the Bahamas, the northeast trades can reach gale force as they funnel through the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti. After waiting for a lull, though, we had a fabulous beam reach aboard our Liberty 458, Distant Drummer, from Santiago de ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_9186

Charter Cruise to La Paz Mexico

Just 24 hours before our scheduled charter in the Bahamas, the government clamped down again on visitors from the United States. Having endured two Covid-19 brain swabs in preparation, I looked at my packed bag on the floor and reached for the rum. I could, at least, pretend I ...read more