Your best bet would be to book yourself on a VHF course. You may be in a grey area if you only use it in a true emergency (and its very unlikely anyone would complain). However there might be some scenarios where you would like to use it but feel reluctant because you are not licensed, those situations might not be life and death bit might be such that you want to tell the CG you have a problem/are delayed/are going to a different port from your shore contact expects because of wind/tide etc.
Originally Posted by lockieboi
I feel i may be a bit silly saying "hello coastgaurd i am a boat and i am stuck somewhere... Help!"
Until you do a course, then take your radio with you - and if need be then use it on Ch16 to transmit exactly that message - it is not te approved format and will raise a few eyebrows - but also get you rescued!
The process would be something like - turn radio on and press the 16 button, this should set it to CH16 and High power. Hold the Press-to-talk button, and speak loudly, camly, clearly and relatively slowly
MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY this is LOCKIEBOI LOCKIEBOI LOCKIEBOI MAYDAY LOCKIEBOI 54 DECIMAL 23 NORTH, 3 DECIMAL 14 WEST. MAN OVERBOARD. I REQUIRE URGENT ASSISTANCE. 2 PERSONS ON BOARD. OVER
release the ptt button, and cross your fingers that you get a response. If nothing heard after 2 minutes, repeat the process.
If you are just stuck / grounded / broken down and there is no immediate risk to life then replace "MAYDAY" with "PAN PAN" in the above message.
You'll notice that they need to know where you are so you might want to think about that in terms of how you can describe it to them - obviously if you have gps this will be easy (if its working) - but otherwise "approx 1 mile south, south, east of XXXXX" will do. In fact I've heard it suggested you should give both in case you or the recipient mishears/reads the info, and because lat/long is obviously very specific but may not be immediately obvious to the yacht 1/2 a mile way.
Now before you do anything else go and fill in a CG66 form at the mcga website so they know what they are looking for.