Saturday, 11 August 2012

VHF on Canals More Prevalent Than You Think ?

In a recent survey on two canal related Facebook groups, it was discovered that

22 boats carry VHF either permanently or occasionally
12 boats don't and have no interest
15 boats don't have VHF but would consider it if more boats and marinas fitted

To me, this suggests that VHF has potential on our canals.

I don't mean that boats cruise round with aerials up and loudspeakers blaring static to spoil everybody's peace. Quite the opposite.

However, if marinas and some service-supplying boatyards fitted channel M, this would allow VHF equipped boats to communicate about berth locations, pump out availability, etc.

In fact, virtually anything you might normally phone a marina or yard for, except the calls are free.

I'm not even suggesting boats fit VHF specially for this purpose - it just seems that if 44% of boats already have VHF, they could actually get better use out of it.

Channel M costs a marina £75 per year for the licence. A VHF base station can be bought for around £100.
No trained operator is required to operate a set working on channel M. The person who normally answers the phone can operate the channel M set.

Most VHF boat sets sold in the UK, come complete with channel M (or Ch37A as it is sometimes called).

I've spoken to a few marinas and there seems little interest. One even said in their defence, that they had not received anybody asking for it.
I wonder how many boaters know about the merits of Channel M ??

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