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

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News & Media

  • New radio safety net on NSW-Victoria border
  • December 23, 2016

A new marine radio safety net will help protect the Sydney to Hobart yacht race fleet as it passes Eden on the far south coast of New South Wales.

Marine Rescue NSW has upgraded a mountain top communications site to overcome large radio blackspots along the southern NSW coastline.

MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey said many people on the water would benefit.

“It’s a significant improvement in boating safety for the NSW south coast and the northern coast of Victoria,” he said.

The upgrade would also assist emergency services such as the NSW Police Marine Area Command.

The communications site is on Mount Imlay in Mount Imlay National Park about 20 kilometres south west of Eden.

Optimal VHF radio coverage largely depends on aerials in high places.

Mount Imlay at 886 metres provides an ideal communications platform.

Marine Rescue NSW upgraded existing equipment and installed new solar panels and batteries.

With no vehicle access it was a challenge.

MRNSW Emergency Systems Manager Andrew Cribb said equipment was flown to the Mount Imlay site by helicopter.

“We had to arrange for lifting helicopters to get everything up there, Mr Cribb said. “

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service was consulted throughout the project as Mount Imlay National Park contains threatened plant species and is an important wildlife refuge.

The project works did not involve any vegetation clearing.

Local Aboriginal people were also consulted as Mount Imlay has cultural and spiritual significance.

They say it was a place where a form of telepathic communication took place with groups to the north.

The mountain plays a different communications role now.

Andrew Cribb said recreational boaters, kayakers, local fishing fleets, commercial shipping and Sydney to Hobart yacht race crews would all have better radio coverage.

“Coverage from the site out to sea is huge,” he said.

Mr Cribb is a Sydney to Hobart regular, crewing last year on Balance which claimed handicap honours.

If a boater needs to talk to Marine Rescue, whether it be it be for emergency communications, a weather update or to update a trip log they should call on VHF Channel 16.

Making the initial call on VHF 16 ensures that not only Marine Rescue can hear you, but others in the area can as well.

Marine Rescue may then advise the boater to switch to another channel.

A large supporter of improved marine radio coverage is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts.

Chairman David Kellett welcomed the Mount Imlay initiative.

“It is an important step to further the safety of the fleets,” he said.


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