Stop clogging the air waves on VHF channel 16 with requests for a radio check! Seriously. This is a big problem in popular boating areas, particularly on weekends during the boating season. Despite the fact that it is against Coast Guard regulations to request a radio check on VHF 16, many boaters continue to do so, and you will frequently hear authorities reprimanding boaters ignorant of the rules. VHF 16 is supposed to be for distress and hailing only.
In order to help with this situation, Sea Tow has announced that it has introduced an automated radio check system in many locations in the United States, utilizing VHF channels 24, 26, 27, and 28.
On its Web site Sea Tow described the system: “In areas across the country, Sea Tow is offering boaters a new way to conduct radio checks that doesn’t require help from other boaters or watch standers. To use Sea Tows free Automated Radio Check service, simply tune your VHF radio to the appropriate channel for your location and conduct a radio check as you typically would. Upon releasing your radio’s microphone, the system will play an automated message and relay your transmission back to you, thereby letting you know that boaters can hear you loud and clear.”
Refer to the Sea Tow Web site to find the best VHF channel to use in your area for an automated radio check.