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.

Marine Radios

Marine Rescue NSW provides 24/7 continuous radio coverage along the NSW coastline from Point Danger in the North to Eden in the South.

Through our 44 Marine Rescue Units our volunteer radio operators provide the recreational boating community with many services and a great deal of information, including:

• 24/7 marine distress monitoring along the entire NSW coastline
• 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 coastal boating activities. The recommended and most frequently used radios is VHF. The MarineRescue App is also an increasingly popular method for boaters to Log On and Off with Marine Rescue NSW and maximise their safety. Local Marine Rescue units also monitor 27Mhz radios however VHF radios are recommended to maximise the safety of boaters.

Marine radios and range

A VHF set is highly recommended to all boaters due to better range and better quality communication. Effective range: up to 20 nm, often much further depending on elevation of land-based receiving stations. VHF with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) and GPS connectivity functions provide extra safety and convenience and are easy to integrate whilst installing. Information about DSC is available on the ACMA website ( or their Youtube channel

Basic entry level marine radios Effective range: 10-15 nautical miles, usually limited to “line of sight”. A VHF set is recommended over 27MHz, as 27Mhz is highly susceptible to static and has significantly reduced radio coverage compared to VHF.

More costly and for offshore coastal and overseas cruising. Effective range: up to 200 nm for “local” communications, considerably further depending on conditions, antennas and frequencies used. MF/HF distress frequencies are monitored by a commercial contractor, engaged by RMS. As part of this RMS contract, the commercial contractor also conducts HF broadcasts Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasts. Marine Rescue NSW does not monitor public MF/HF.

Primary marine radio frequencies used and monitored by Marine Rescue NSW:
• VHF Channel 16 (Marine Rescue radio bases will then move the caller to a ‘’working channel’)
• 27 MHz Channel 88

MF/HF marine radio frequencies:
• MF/HF distress frequencies are monitored by a commercial contractor, engaged by RMS. Marine Rescue NSW does not monitor public MF/HF. For more enquiries please contact Roads and Maritime Services.

How can I learn more about my marine radio?

You do not need a licence to own and install a VHF radio to your vessel. You can contact your local Marine Rescue unit, who’d be more than happy to give you some basic advice on using your radio and many units offer training for the 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. The advantage of these basic 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. The MRNSW Training calendar outlines planned courses, or you can contact your local unit directly to enquire about opportunities to learn more. There is a lot of information on marine radios outlined on the ACMA website including qualifications available to boaters such as the Australian Waters Qualification (AWQ).


Become a supporter Raymarine Suzuki Marine BCF NSW Maritime
CYCA Trust Navionics=\ HP Pivot Maritime ReelAction