The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) has been allocated a national
licence by OFCOM for the use of VHF Channel 65, advises the RYA's Southern Region Committee.
This dedicated channel
has been granted to NCI with strong support from the Maritime and
Coastguard Agency (MCA). Channel 65 will facilitate communications
between NCI lookouts and seafarers on a variety of routine matters.
Stations will be able to respond to requests from passing, as well as
local sailing craft and fishing vessels for radio checks as well as
actual weather and sea state conditions. They will also be able to
provide on request information on a range of local facilities including,
for example, local moorings, charted anchorages, water taxi contact
details and local hazards.
This facility became
operational on 1 October 2014 when National Coastwatch stations went
live for the first time on Channel 65. The service will
replace the practice of some stations currently holding a licence to
operate on Marina Channel 37. This will no longer be available.
Richard Brown of the RYA's Southern Region Committee comments "This arrangement will facilitate radio communications between stations and
seafarers. Coastwatch will communicate effectively with all who
use our coastal waters and with the NCI's Search and Rescue partners at both
local and national level".