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New Coastal Radio Infrastructure

Telkom SA Maritime is currently busy with the installation and commissioning of new coastal radio infrastructure equipment.
Refer to SAMSA Marine Notice No. 07 of 2018.

Radio Communication testing is to be conducted along the entire South African coast and will commence on 15th October 2018 on the Maritime VHF Radio Frequency Bands, especially channel 16 (RT) and channel 70 (DSC), to determine the coverage of the current and new systems that have been installed at the various coastal radio sites. The duration of the testing will be approximately 20 days.
Refer to SAMSA Marine Notice No. 29 of 2018.

The newly established VHF DSC service will be available for testing by Seafarers as a final test phase with effect from 1st MAY 2019. Seafarers are encouraged to test the system by making TEST or ROUTINE calls to Cape Town Radio / ZSC when sailing in an area within 30 Nautical Miles from shore. Under no circumstances should DISTRESS alerts be tested.
Refer to SAMSA Marine Notice No. 14 of 2019.


Marine Vessel VHF (DSC) Radio

As of 01/01/2017 all owners of small marine vessels are encouraged to switch over to a VHF radio with DSC capability and to obtain a Short Range Certificate (SRC) at their earliest convenience.

Although 29MHz radios may still be used for boat to boat communication as a voluntary fit, it is not monitored for emergencies. SAMSA Marine Notice No. 06 of 2015 outlines the cessation of 29Mhz SOLAS Distress Watch Keeping by Telkom SA Maritime Services and the implementation of the new digital marine radio safety requirements (VHF DSC).

Marine Notice No. 04 of 2016 (Provisions relating to the implementation of VHF DSC) has been cancelled and replaced with Marine Notice No. 32 of 2016.

According to this notice the use of voice only operated VHF radios with an RT licence is still legal as safety requirement with channel 16 being monitored by the authority. The requirement of a VHF radio with DSC will be phased in over a period. Please download, read and familiarise yourself with the content of this notice.

Importance of the new VHF (DSC) radio Short Range Certificate.
Here are two informative videos regarding the implications on safety and insurance claims. Please watch.

"Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is a standard for sending pre-defined digital messages via the medium frequency (MF), high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF) maritime radio systems. It is a core part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). The system utilises the latest digital radio technology and offers much more than the old aural distress call system." [1]

References:
1. Wikipedia

Contact our Safety Officer if you require more information.