In a boating emergency

Radio for help on

Channel 16 on VHF 
(distress and calling channel)

Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

Call MRNSW on

9450 2468

Or call

MarineRescue App

The new MarineRescue App is making it easier than ever for boaters to Log On, Log Off and stay safe on NSW waters. It's the only app that will connect you directly to Marine Rescue NSW.

Weather Warnings

Weather Warnings for New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory - marine areas. Issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
Current weather warnings for New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory, Australia including strong wind, gale, storm force and hurricane force wind warnings; tsunami; damaging waves; abnormally high tides; and tropical cyclones.
Weather Warnings for New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory - marine areas. Issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Marine Radios

Marine Rescue NSW provides continuous radio coverage along the NSW coastline from Point Danger in the North to Eden in the South. 
We have 45 radio bases, many of which operate 24/7.Our volunteer radio operators provide the recreational boating community with many services and a great deal of information, including:
  • A radio safety watch – make sure you always Log On when you head out and Log Off when you return. If you’re not back when expected, we’ll start looking
  • Assistance in case of emergencies and breakdowns
  • Weather forecasts and warnings at regular times or any time upon request
  • Radio checks to help you know the strength and clarity of your radio signal
  • Marine radio training courses. See Radio courses.

The vast majority of radio callers to Marine Rescue units are engaged in local and short coastal boating activities.  The radios they most frequently use are VHF and, to a decreasing extent, 27MHz. MF/HF radios are generally used on vessels making long offshore coastal or ocean voyages and commercial shipping.

Marine radios and range

VHF: A VHF set is recommended for better range and better quality communication.  Effective range: up to 20 nm, maybe further depending on conditions and if using land-based repeaters. VHF with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) and GPS connectivity functions provide extra safety and convenience.

27MHz: Inexpensive, basic entry level marine radios.  Effective range: 10-15 nautical miles, usually limited to “line of sight”.  Spending a few dollars more will get you a VHF set and better functionality.

MF/HF: With prices from around $4,000 installed, these are more costly but essential for serious coastal and overseas cruising. Effective range: up to 200 nm for “local” communications, considerably further depending on conditions, antennas and frequencies used.

Primary marine radio frequencies used and monitored by Marine Rescue NSW:

  • VHF Channel 16 (also repeater channels 21, 22, 80, 81, 82 depending on region)
  • 27 MHz Channel 88

MF/HF marine radio frequencies:

  • MF/HF 2182 kHz - Not all Marine Rescue NSW Units monitor 2182 kHz. Please contact your local Unit for more information

Do you need a Marine Radio Licence?

VHF: You do not need any qualifications to own and fit this type of radio to your vessel, but a VHF user must have a Short Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (SROCP) or the slightly more advanced Long Range Operator certificate of Proficiency (LROCP) which includes Medium and High Frequency Radios. See Radio courses.
The advantage of these training courses is that you are not only taught how to use these radios but also why they work and how to troubleshoot in the event of apparent malfunctions, many of which are simple to fix.

27MHz: You do not need any qualifications or licence to own, fit or use this type of radio. A short training session from a Marine Rescue unit will teach you the basic protocols of using a marine radio and how to get the most value from one – especially in an emergency.

MF/HF : If you own an MF/HF set, you must have a licence to own and fit it to your vessel and a Long Range Operator certificate of Proficiency (LROCP) to operate it.  For detailed information, visit the Australian Communication and Media Authority website at and enter ‘Marine Radio Choices and Changes’ in the Search window.



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